Justin Peck's ILLINOISE Will Transfer to Broadway This Spring

The new dance musical will open at the St. James Theatre.

By: Mar. 19, 2024
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BroadwayWorld has just learned that Illinoise, which is currently playing at Park Avenue Armory, will transfer to Broadway this spring. The acclaimed, NY Times critic’s pick musical is the theatrical adaptation of Grammy- and Oscar-nominated Sufjan Stevens’ concept album of the same name.

The new Broadway musical will performances begin Wednesday, April 24 at 2PM at the St. James Theatre (246 West 44th Street), which will also act as the engagement’s opening performance. Broadway reviews will be embargoed to Friday, April 26 at 1pm ET. There will be a company celebration scheduled for a later date. This will make Illinoise the final production of the 2023/24 Broadway season and elligible for the 2024 Tony Awards.

The strictly limited engagement will run through Saturday, August 10, 2024. Illinoise moves to Broadway direct from two critically acclaimed sold-out productions at the Park Avenue Armory and Chicago Shakespeare TheaterCheck out what the critics had to say.

Stevens’ beloved cult classic features live music and vocals, impressionistic choreography, and narratives centering on self-exploration and community, crafted by Tony Award-winning director-choreographer Justin Peck (Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story, Carousel) and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Jackie Sibblies Drury (Fairview, Marys Seacole).

A company of performers brings the original story to life, set to the entirety of Stevens’ album with new arrangements by composer, pianist, and frequent Stevens collaborator Timo Andres, ranging in style from DIY folk and indie rock to marching band and ambient electronics, performed live by an 11-member band and three vocalists. Illinoise is a “mysterious, deeply moving and unforgettable dance-musical hybrid that explores the hot zone between childhood and adulthood when emotions can be at their most overwhelming. The vocalists do not seem to sing so much as pour emotion into our ears. (New York Times).”

The cast of Illinoise includes Yesenia Ayala (film West Side Story, on Broadway in West Side Story), Kara Chan (Twyla Tharp Dance, Pam Tanowitz Dance), Ben Cook (film West Side Story, on Broadway in West Side Story), Gaby Diaz (Winner of So You Think You Can Dance?, films Maestro, West Side Story, and tick, tick… BOOM!.), Jeanette Delgado (Miami City Ballet, West Side Story film), Carlos Falu (West Side Story film), Christine Flores (Dance Heginbotham, Pam Tanowitz Dance), Jada German (Twyla Tharp Dance, Metropolitan Opera), Zachary Gonder (Carmen at Lyric Opera, Pam Tanowitz Dance), Rachel Lockhart (Juilliard’s Choreographic Honors program, Jacob’s Pillow), Brandt Martinez (Aladdin), Dario Natarelli (New York City Center Encores!, Maestro film), Tyrone Reese (Juilliard School), Craig Salstein (American Ballet Theatre, associate choreographer for West Side Story and Maestro films, Carousel on Broadway), Ahmad Simmons (Fosse/Verdon on FX, Hadestown), Byron Tittle (Dorrance Dance, In the Heights film), Ricky Ubeda (winner of So You Think You Can Dance Season 11, FX’s Fosse/Verdon) and Alejandro Vargas (Juilliard School).

The vocalists and band for Illinoise will be announced shortly.

"We're absolutely thrilled to bring Illinoise to the St. James Theatre on Broadway. This project has been ruminating in my mind for nearly 20 years, which makes this moment even more sublime,” says Justin Peck. The audience response throughout our engagement at Fisher Center at Bard, Chicago Shakespeare Theater and Park Avenue Armory has been extraordinary, and we feel lucky that we get to continue sharing this unique show with future audiences on Broadway. Illinoise is a coming-of-age story that takes the audience on a journey through the American heartland -- from campfire storytelling to the edges of the cosmos -- all told in through a unique blend of music, dance, and theater. On behalf of my team, we welcome this rare opportunity with full hearts."

Jackie Sibblies Drury said, “Supporting the craft of each of the artists involved in making up this show has been a joy and an inspiration. For me, the thing that makes Illinoise so special is how it allows incredible performers to come together with an audience and welcome emotion and connection with open arms. Itis rare to have an experience, in a public space, that is moving on an elemental level, so we are all incredibly gratified to bring Illinoise to the St. James on Broadway.”

In addition to Stevens, Peck, and Drury, the creative team includes Music Director and Supervisor Nathan Koci, Music Arranger and Orchestrator Timo Andres, Scenic Designer Adam Rigg, Lighting Designer Brandon Stirling Baker, Sound Designer Garth MacAleavey, Costume Designers Reid Bartelme and Harriet Jung, Props Designer Andrew Diaz, Mask Designer Julian Crouch, Associate Director and Choreographer Adriana Pierce, Associate Music Director Sean Peter Forte, Production Stage Manager Thomas Gates, Production Management by Aurora Productions and Brian Freeland, General Management by TT Partners.

With inclusion on several reviewer’s “best of the decade” lists including those of Paste, NPR, and Rolling Stone, Sufjan Stevens’ acclaimed 2005 concept album Illinois enjoys cult status for its lush orchestrations and wildly inventive portrayal of the state’s people, landscapes, and history, complete with UFOs, zombies, and predatory wasps. This musically ambitious work, which weaves together cinematic orchestral anthems, jazz riffs, and other musical influences, leads audiences on a mighty journey through the American heartland, from campfire storytelling to the edges of the cosmos.

Illinoise is produced on Broadway by Orin Wolf, John Styles, and David Binder, in association with Seaview. Nate Koch serves as Executive Producer and it is co-produced by Thomas O. Kriegsmann and the Fisher Center at Bard.

Illinoise was originally developed, produced and premiered at the Fisher Center at Bard. Illinoise is a co- commission of the Fisher Center at Bard, Park Avenue Armory, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Southbank Centre, TO Live, and the Perelman Performing Arts Center (PAC NYC).

ABOUT Sufjan Stevens

The New York singer, songwriter, and composer has a preoccupation with epic concepts that have motivated two state records (Michigan and Illinois), a collection of sacred and biblical songs (Seven Swans), an electronic album for the animals of the Chinese zodiac (Enjoy Your Rabbit), a full length partly inspired by the outsider artist Royal Robertson (The Age of Adz), a masterwork memorializing and investigating his relationship with his late mother (Carrie & Lowell), and two Christmas box sets (Songs for Christmas, vol. 1–5 and Silver & Gold, vol. 6–10). BAM has commissioned two works, a programmatic tone poem for the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (The BQE) and an instrumental accompaniment to slow-motion rodeo footage (Round-Up). He has collaborated extensively with the New York City Ballet choreographer Justin Peck (Year of the Rabbit, Everywhere We Go, Countenance of Kings, Principia, The Decalogue, and Reflections). Stevens contributed three songs to Luca Guadagnino’s film Call Me By Your Name, including the Oscar and Grammy-nominated song, “Mystery of Love.” In 2020, he shared The Ascension, a reflection on the state of humanity in freefall and a call for a total transformation of consciousness. In 2021, he released Convocations, a five-volume, two-and-a-half-hour requiem mass for present times. 2021 saw a collaborative release with Angelo DeAugustine, A Beginner’s Mind, featuring songs inspired in part by popular films. In October 2023, Stevens’ tenth solo studio album, Javelin, was released and made its way on to countless “Best Albums of 2023” lists.

ABOUT Justin Peck

Justin Peck is a director, choreographer, filmmaker, and dancer based in New York City. He is the Resident Choreographer and Artistic Associate of the New York City Ballet, the second person in the institution’s history to hold this title. He has developed and created over 50 dance and theater works that have been presented on stages around the world, including Lincoln Center, the Palais Garnier, Sydney Opera House, Brooklyn Academy of Music, and Broadway (most notably with his 2018 Tony Award-winning production of Carousel). His work has been performed by companies such as the Paris Opera Ballet, Australian Ballet, Dresden Semperoper Ballet, Hong Kong Ballet, Boston Ballet, Juilliard, National Ballet of Canada, Miami City Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, LA Dance Project, Dutch National Ballet, the School of American Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, and Houston Ballet among many others.

Peck works extensively as a filmmaker with credits including direction of music videos for The National, Chris Thile, and Dan Deacon; choreographing the 2021 film West Side Story in collaboration with director Steven Spielberg; and being commissioned by The New York Times to direct 10 films celebrating the best acting performances of the 2018 year, which included performances by Julia Roberts, Ethan Hawke, Lakeith Stanfield, Glenn Close, Emma Stone, and Toni Collette. Peck celebrates the art of collaboration and is honored to have worked across mediums with a wide array of luminaries, including Sufjan Stevens, Raf Simons, Elizabeth Moss, Steven Spielberg, Caroline Shaw, Jeffrey Gibson, Renée Fleming, Shepard Fairey, Sofia Coppola, Stephen Sondheim, Shantell Martin, Humberto Leon, Bradley Cooper, Nico Muhly, John Baldessari, Dries Van Noten, Damien Chazelle, Anthony Roth Costanzo, Marcel Dzama, and Jody Lee Lipes. Peck danced with New York City Ballet from 2006-2019, eventually achieving the rank of soloist in 2013. He has performed a vast repertoire of works by George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, Alexei Ratmansky, Lynne Taylor-Corbett, Christopher Wheeldon, and many others. Peck’s honors include the Tony Award for Best Choreography for the Broadway production of Carousel (2018), the National Arts Award (2018), the Golden Plate Honor from the Academy of Achievement (2019), the Bessie Award for Outstanding Production for Rodeo: Four Dance Episodes (2015), and the World Choreography Award for the film West Side Story (2022).

ABOUT Jackie Sibblies Drury

Jackie Sibblies Drury’s plays include Marys Seacole (OBIE Award), Fairview (Pulitzer Prize), Really, Social Creatures, and We Are Proud to Present a Presentation About the Herero of Namibia, Formerly Known as Southwest Africa, From the German Südwestafrika, Between the Years 1884-1915. The presenters of her plays include Young Vic, Lincoln Center Theater's LCT3, Soho Rep., Berkeley Rep, New York City Players & Abrons Arts Center, Victory Gardens, Trinity Rep, Woolly Mammoth, Undermain Theatre, InterAct Theatre, Actors Theater of Louisville, Company One, Bush Theatre, and T: The New York Times Style Magazine. Drury has developed her work at Sundance, Bellagio Center, Ground Floor at Berkeley Rep, Soho Rep. Writer/Director Lab, New York Theatre Workshop, Bushwick Starr, LARK, and MacDowell Colony, among others. She has received a PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater Award, a Steinberg Playwright Award, a Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, a Jerome Fellowship at The LARK, a United States Artists Fellowship, a Helen Merrill Playwriting Award, and a Windham-Campbell Literary Prize in Drama.

Photo Credit: Stephanie Berger Photography

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