James Monroe Iglehart Will Lead A WONDERFUL WORLD on Broadway

A Wonderful World will open in Fall 2024 at Studio 54.

By: Feb. 28, 2024
James Monroe Iglehart Will Lead A WONDERFUL WORLD on Broadway
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Louis is coming to Broadway! After winning rave reviews in New Orleans and Chicago, Tony Award winner James Monroe Iglehart (Disney’s Aladdin, Hamilton, Spamalot) will star as jazz legend and American icon Louis Armstrong in A Wonderful World: The Louis Armstrong Musical on Broadway in Fall 2024.

Produced by Thomas E. Rodgers, Jr., Renee Rodgers, Martian Entertainment (Carl D. White and Gregory Rae) and Vanessa Williams and Elizabeth Curtis, A Wonderful World will open on Monday, November 11, 2024 at Studio 54 (254 West 54th Street). Previews will begin on October 16, 2024. Tickets will be available at CriterionTicketing.com, with the on-sale date to be announced in coming weeks.

With a book by Aurin Squire (“This Is Us,” “The Good Fight”) and featuring songs made famous by Louis Armstrong, A Wonderful World is co-conceived by Drama Desk Award winner and Tony Award nominee Christopher Renshaw (The King and I, Taboo) and Andrew Delaplaine, and directed by Renshaw.

Cast and full creative team for A Wonderful World: The Louis Armstrong Musical will be announced soon.

Last fall, Iglehart starred in the pre-Broadway production of A Wonderful World in New Orleans and Chicago, where he won raves for his performance. Check out what the critics had to say!

“I am so excited to bring this wonderful brand-new musical to Broadway,” James Monroe Iglehart commented. “American music wouldn’t be what it is today without Louis Armstrong and what is Broadway if not American music? ‘Pops’ doesn’t get enough credit for his contribution to our entertainment industry or our country. I know I have never studied, researched, or prepared for anything as much in my career as I have for this role. I feel such a strong connection and an obligation to bring his voice, his music, and his story to the one place where it can be presented in all its glory –Broadway! I can’t wait for you all to become a part of A Wonderful World.

Louis Armstrong’s innovative musicianship and incredible charisma as trumpeter and vocalist would lead him from the early days of jazz in his native New Orleans to five decades of international stardom. A Wonderful World tells the story of Armstrong’s blazing musical career from the perspective of his four wives, who each had a unique impact on his life.

A Wonderful World is being presented in association with Roundabout Theatre Company and will be included in Roundabout’s subscription packages.

Miami New Drama (Artistic Director Michel Hausmann; Managing Director Nicholas Richberg) produced the World Premiere production of A Wonderful World on December 11, 2021 at the Colony Theatre in Miami Beach, FL.

BIOGRAPHIES

James Monroe Iglehart (Louis Armstrong) is a multi-award-winning actor from stage and screen. You may have seen James on Broadway in such shows as Spamalot as King Arthur, in Hamilton in the dual roles of Marquis de Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson, Chicago as Billy Flynn, and the Broadway hit freestyle love supreme. He is best known for his Tony Award-winning performance as Genie in the Broadway hit Disney’s Aladdin. He has also been seen on TV in the Netflix series “Maniac” (recurring), “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” (recurring), “Gotham,” “Elementary,” “Law & Order: SVU,” “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” and the Disney+ movie Disenchanted. He has had two sold out runs at 54 Below and Carnegie Hall as well as concerts around the country. He has had the pleasure to lend his voice to many animated characters including Lance Strongbow in Disney’s Rapunzel’s Tangled Adventures, Taurus Bulba in Disney’s DuckTales, “Vampirina,” “Elena of Avalor,” “Helluva Boss,” “Blues Clues,” “Sesame Street,” and two upcoming programs for Disney, “Super Kitties” & “Kiff.”  He is a self-proclaimed animation, comic book and pro wrestling nerd. James has also written three comic book stories for Marvel Comics and is one of the co-hosts of the Marvel Comic podcast This Week In Marvel on SirusXM and wherever you listen to podcasts. When he’s not on stage he’s usually watching pro wrestling or Disney+ while just chilling out with his wife of over 20 years, Dawn.

Aurin Squire (Book) is a playwright, reporter, and television writer whose plays have been produced around the world. Awards include the Helen Merrill Award, Seattle Public Theatre’s Emerald Prize, and National Black Theatre's “I Am Soul” fellowship. Squire was a writer on Miami New Drama’s 7 Deadly Sins, which won a Drama League Award. A co-executive producer on “The Good Fight” and “Evil,” he has been nominated for two NAACP Image Awards, a BlackReel Award, and a WGA Award for his work on “This is Us.”  A New Dramatists resident playwright and member of the Dramatists Guild, he graduated from The Juilliard School and Northwestern University.

Christopher Renshaw (Co-Conceiver/Director). Tony Award nominee Christopher Renshaw has directed theater and operas all over the world from the Sydney Opera House to the Royal Opera House Covent Garden. He has directed plays and musicals in London’s West End and on Broadway, most notably the Tony Award-winning revival of The King and I. Additional productions include Taboo with Boy George, We Will Rock You, Zorro, and Carmen La Cubana.

ANDREW DELAPLAINE (Co-Conceiver) is a novelist with some 30 books to his credit in a variety of genres. He’s also written several screenplays, winning the Milan International Film Festival award for best original screenplay for Meeting Spencer.

THOMAS E. RODGERS, JR. (Producer). Tom, otherwise known as TR, was born in Rye, New York in 1953. TR’s first job was an usher at none other than Radio City Music Hall. TR was a teen when he moved to Miami Beach and Miami has been his home since. Through the years, TR has had a catering business that after Hurricane Andrew served 4000 people a day. TR was also a part creator and producer for the children's TV series “Jelly Bean Jungle.” TR has a love of Louis Armstrong and through this love A Wonderful World was born. He shared this vision with his brother-in-law Andrew Delaplaine and the rest is where we are today.

RENEE RODGERS (Producer) is not only a long-time fixture on the South Beach, but she also helped to create the cultural, dining, and entertainment mecca that it is today.  In the late 80's, Renee, along with her brother Andrew Delaplaine, opened Scratch, one of a few restaurants in what was then a run-down and depressed area of Miami Beach. Adjacent to Scratch, they then launched an Equity Theater as well as a black-box nightclub called Backscratch.  Having found great success in the now revitalized area, they then opened the legendary Warsaw Ballroom which quickly became one of the most outrageous and popular gay dance nightclubs of the era - ushering in a vibrant, new dance and music scene in Miami Beach. Needing more to do, Renee then launched a Champagne brand with Andrew and Sophie, as they had to have something to toast with!  Additionally, they opened two newspapers, The Wire and Antenna.  Renee is also a writer and illustrator of several books.

Martian Entertainment (Producer/General Manager) is a Tony Award-winning firm owned by Carl D. White and Gregory Rae. Credits include The Play That Goes Wrong, The Normal Heart (Tony Award), Hedwig and the Angry Inch (Tony Award), The Cottage, The Temperamentals, Bare, Peter Pan Goes Wrong, The Lightning Thief, the new musical Loch Ness and the new musical Run Baby Run. MartianEntertainment.com.

Carl D. White (Producer/General Manager) opened his first production company at the age of 18, founded Martian Entertainment at 27, is nearly 55 – and has finally abandoned the idea of a fallback career. Carl dedicates his work on A Wonderful World in loving memory to Lauren P. Yates

Gregory Rae (Producer/General Manager) has worked with Carl White and Martian Entertainment since 2011. He is a proud graduate of Harvey Mudd College. After working in software and political campaigns, he is happy to have landed in theatre.

Vanessa Williams (Producer) is one of the most respected and multi-faceted performers in the entertainment industry today, selling millions of records worldwide. Her work in music, film, television, and the Broadway stage has been recognized with 4 Emmy nominations, 11 Grammy nominations, a Tony nomination, 3 SAG Award nominations and 7 NAACP Image Awards. Her platinum single, "Colors of the Wind," from Disney’s “Pocahontas,” won the Oscar, Grammy, and Golden Globe for Best Original Song. Her 2012 autobiography, You Have No Idea, co-written with her mother Helen Williams, was a N.Y. Times Best Seller and she released Bubble Kisses, her first picture book for children, in 2020. Most recently, she starred in the World Premiere of POTUS, Selina Fillinger’s Broadway comedy, directed by Tony Award-winner Susan Stroman. She is part of the star-studded panel of judges for RuPaul’s Paramount+ competition series, “Queen of the Universe,” which will return for a second season. This fall, she will star as Miranda Priestly in the West End premiere of the musical, The Devil Wears Prada.

LIZ CURTIS (Producer) began producing theatre with A Time to Sing at the Kennedy Center starring Renée Fleming and Vanessa Williams. Choreographer for PBS’ “Big, Band Ballroom Bash,” Dance With Me (American Choreography Award nomination) starring Williams, partnered with John O’Connell to choreograph “Shall We Dance,” starring Richard Gere and Jennifer Lopez, as well as The 80th Academy Awards nominated songs from “Enchanted.”  7-time US Professional Latin-American Ballroom Dance Champion and World finalist. Liz has produced many hours of dance programming for cable TV and is currently developing a number of theatre, film and TV productions.

Photo Credit: Jeremy Daniel



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