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Kecia Lewis & Rebecca Naomi Jones Will Lead MARIE AND ROSETTA at Atlantic Theater Company

Atlantic Theater Company (Neil Pepe, Artistic Director; Jeffory Lawson, Managing Director) just announced that Kecia Lewis (Mother Courage, Once on This Island) and Rebecca Naomi Jones (American Idiot, Hedwig and the Angry Inch) will star in the world premiere production of George Brant's play with music, Marie and Rosetta, directed by Atlantic Artistic Director Neil Pepe this fall.

Marie and Rosetta will begin previews Wednesday, August 24, officially open Monday, September 12, and play a limited engagement through Sunday, October 2, 2016, Off Broadway at Atlantic Theater Company's Linda Gross Theater (336 West 20Street).

A huge influence on Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Ray Charles and Jimi Hendrix, Sister Rosetta Tharpe (Lewis) was a legend in her time, bringing fierce guitar-playing and swing to gospel music. Tharpe was the queen of 'race records' in the 30's and 40's, a woman who played guitar as passionately as Clapton, who performed mornings at churches and evenings at the Cotton Club, who was a big enough star to fill a baseball stadium for her third wedding, but ended up buried in an unmarked grave in Philadelphia. Marie and Rosetta chronicles Sister Rosetta's first rehearsal with a young protégée, Marie Knight (Jones), as they prepare to embark on a tour that would establish them as one of the great duet teams in musical history.

Kecia Lewis recently starred in the title role of Mother Courage Off-Broadway. She made her Broadway debut as "Effie" in the original company of Dreamgirls, originated the role of "Asaka, Mother of The Earth" in Once on This Island and has appeared in the Broadway musicals Big River, Ain't Misbehavin, The Gospel at Colonus, The Drowsy Chaperone, Chicago and earned a Drama Desk Award nomination for her performance in Dessa Rose at Lincoln Center Theatre.

Rebecca Naomi Jones has performed in the Broadway musicals American Idiot, Passing Strange, and most recently as Yitzhak in the hit revival of Hedwig and the Angry Inch. She has appeared Off-Broadway in Murder Ballad, Big Love and The Fortress of Solitude and is currently starring in Martyna Majok's play Cost of Living at Williamstown Theatre Festival.

Sister Rosetta Tharpe was widely acclaimed among the greatest Sanctified gospel singers of her generation; a flamboyant performer whose music often flirted with the blues and swing, she was also one of the most controversial talents of her day, shocking purists with her leap into the secular market - by playing nightclubs and theaters, she not only pushed spiritual music into the mainstream, but in the process also helped pioneer the rise of pop-gospel.

Marie and Rosetta will feature scenic design by Riccardo Hernández, costume design by Dede Ayite, lighting design byChristopher Akerlind, sound design by Steve Canyon Kennedy, music direction by Jason Michael Webb and casting byTelsey + Company.

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