Featuring Phillip Attmore, John Cariani, Aisha De Haas, Dawn Derow, Grace Field, Dewitt Fleming, Jr., Trisha Jefffrey, N'kenge, and more.

By: Jul. 01, 2022

Producers Richard Bell, N'Kenge, Park Row Equity Partners, Tegan Summer, Sam Williams, Michael Loeb and Derow Enterprises, in association with Coalition for African Americans in the Performing Arts, announce the presentation of "The Songs of Dorothy Dandridge! The Musical," selections from the upcoming production of Dorothy Dandridge! The Musical, with book and lyrics by Trey Ellis and music and lyrics by Shelton L. Becton, directed by Tamara Tunie at Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall (881 7th Ave. & 57th St.)

Dorothy Dandridge! The Musical is a joyous, spectacular song and dance celebration of a fearless pioneer who dared to dream, but tragically fell short of her own aspirations. After getting her "big break" in Hollywood, the beautiful, ambitious, and talented African American girl from Ohio inherits the challenges of a leading black woman in a white male-dominated industry. In addition, Dandridge struggles to navigate her own demons, fame and wealth, and the promises of a powerful selection of men who pledge to stand by her side.

The Musical combines Great American Songbook classics with an original, contemporary genre-crossing score. The book and lyrics are by two-time Emmy and Peabody Award-winning filmmaker and American Book Award-winning novelist, playwright, and essayist Trey Ellis (The Tuskegee Airmen, Good Fences) with music and lyrics by Tony Award-winning conductor, arranger, and musician Shelton L. Becton (The Wiz; Ain't Misbehavin',The Color Purple, Memphis). Tony Award and Obie Award-winning actress and Broadway producer, Tamara Tunie ("Law and Order: SVU", Dreamgirls, Julius Caesar) is Director.

Leading the cast in the title role is N'Kenge, who recently co-starred in the Tony Award-winning musical Caroline, or Change, with Tony nominee John Cariani (Fiddler on the Roof, Something Rotten! The Band's Visit and Caroline, Or Change) as Earl Mills, Aisha de Haas (Bring In Da Noise, Bring In Da Funk, RENT and Caroline, Or Change) as Ruby Dandridge, and Phillip Attmore (Shuffle Along, Hello, Dolly!) as Harold Nichols.

The cast also includes Jeremy Webb as Otto Preminger, Mac Award winner Dawn Derow as Marilyn Monroe, Dominic Nolfi as Jack Dennison, Trisha Jeffrey as Vivian Dandridge, Natalie Renee as Etta Jones, Dewitt Fleming Jr. as Phil Moore, and Grace Field as the Marilyn Monroe stand by.

N'Kenge, the Musical's conceiver and lead producer, has been a longtime admirer of Dandridge as a courageous black female artist in the 1950s who helped pave the way for other black artists. Dandridge is not only the first African American film star to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress but is also a Golden Globe Award nominee for her starring role (opposite Sidney Poitier) in the 1959 musical drama film, Porgy and Bess. "My inspiration for bringing this iconic story to Carnegie Hall is that Dorothy Dandridge was a trailblazer, and it is really important to me to shine a spotlight on her activism, her talent and her endurance as an actress and mother - which are empowering!"

Dorothy Dandridge! The Musical is supported by Park Row Equity Partners, Park Central Hotel and Tony Award-winning producer Willette Klausner.

Trey Ellis (Book/Lyrics) is an Emmy and Peabody winning filmmaker, American Book Award-winning novelist, playwright, essayist, and Professor of Professional Practice at Columbia University's School of the Arts. His play Satchel Paige and the Kansas City Swing has been performed around the country including The Repertory Theater of St. Louis, The Cincinnati Playhouse and the Vineyard Theater on Martha's Vineyard. His play Fly has been performed at The Pasadena Playhouse, Ford's Theater, The New Victory Theater and a dozen other venues. Fly won an NAACP Image Award and in 2017 a Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award and continues to be performed around the country.His work for the screen includes the Peabody-winning and Emmy-nominated HBO film, The Tuskegee Airmen. He is also the author of the novels, Platitudes, Home Repairs and the American Book Award-winning, Right Here, Right Now, as well as the memoir Bedtime Stories. His essays have appeared in The New York Times, Playboy, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, GQ, Vanity Fair and and he has contributed audio commentary to NPR's "All Things Considered."

Shelton L. Becton (Music/Lyrics) is a pianist, vocalist, composer, arranger, conductor, and vocal coach. He has served as music director for Judy Collins, Phylicia Rashad, Roz Ryan, Patti Austin, and Roberta Flack. His compositions have been featured on "The Cosby Show," "Roberta Flack's Christmas Album," The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir & The Broadway Inspirational Voices. His conducting credits include The Wiz, Ain't Misbehavin', The Color Purple, Memphis, Baby, It's You, Lady Day At Emerson's Bar & Grill with Tony Award winner Audra McDonald, Shuffle Along under the direction of George Wolf, & the Classic Stage production of Carmen Jones with Anika Noni Rose, which garnered him the "Viv Award" for best musical direction. He was also featured as pianist and supporting actor in the HBO presentation of "Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill." His vocals can be heard on radio & television commercials, duets with Patti Austin & background vocals for Celine Dion, Vanessa Williams & Anita Baker. He was also featured vocalist on Frankie Knuckles' CD, "Beyond the Mix". His debut CD is entitled "Where Is God?" His latest credit is as Conductor/ Music Supervisor for "PERSONALITY", the life story of singer and rock & roll star Lloyd Price at the 2022 season of Peoples Light Theater in Malvern, Pennsylvania.

Tamara Tunie (Director) had the honor and pleasure of directing Feelin' Good!, Tony Award- winner LaChanze's autobiographical, one-woman show. She produced and directed the feature film See You In September, Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep (a ZOOM film short), directed and co-wrote the world premiere of Jazzland at The Harlem School of the Arts, and is directing the new musical Marian, about the life of the world changing Opera Diva. Also, under Ms. Tunie's direction, Love And Southern Discomfort, a new musical set in the sultry south, is currently in development. Broadway Producer: Spring Awakening (Tony Ward), August Wilson's Radio Golf (TONY Nomination), and Magic vs Bird. Off- Broadway: The Dutchman (The Cherry Lane Theater), Frog Kiss (Virginia Stage Company). Acting credits include but not limited to, Theater: The 47th (The Old Vic, London), Julius Caesar, Dreamgirls, Oh Kay!, Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music (Broadway); Building the Wall (New World Stages); Familiar - Obie Award for Distinguished Performance by an Actor (Playwrights Horizons); American Son - Berkshire Theater Award Best Actor (Barrington Stage Company); 42nd Street (The Ordway), Prospero in The Tempest (Pittsburgh Public Theater), The Library (The NY Public Theater); Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (Theater Virginia). Ms. Tunie's first "role" as Television: "Cowboy Bebop, "SEE," "Black Earth Rising," "Dietland," "The Red Road," "Law & Order: SVU," "Almost Family," "Better Call Saul," "Blue Bloods," "Billions," "24," to name a few. Film: I Wanna Dance with Somebody (December 2022), A Journal for Jordan, Flight, The Devil's Advocate, City Hall, The Caveman's Valentine. She is Chair Emerita of the Board of Directors of Figure Skating in Harlem, serves on the Board of Directors at Harlem Stage/The Gatehouse, and City Theatre Company in Pittsburgh. She also, serves on the Advisory Board of Hearts of Gold and is a founding member of Black Theatre United. Ms. Tunie is an acclaimed vocalist, and her debut album "Dreamsville" launched at the 2019 Pittsburgh International Jazz Festival. In 2005, Mayor Bloomberg awarded her the "Made in New York Award" from the City of New York, for her support and commitment to Film, Television and Theater. Ms. Tunie has a BFA in Musical Theatre from Carnegie-Mellon University, and now serves on its Board of Trustees. She is a Pittsburgh native (GO STEELERS!), but lives in Harlem.

N'Kenge (Conceiver/Performer) is a Emmy, Grammy & Tony Nominated Singer/Actress. Heralded by the New York Times as "a classically trained diva that can stretch from Broadway, Pop, Soul, to Opera" N'Kenge slayed the game on Broadway originating the role of Mary Wells in Motown: The Musical which garnered a Grammy Nomination for Best Musical Theater Album. Motown founder Berry Gordy describes N'Kenge as "the most versatile artist I know" and NY Post called her performance of Mary Wells "Electrifying." The International Award-winning singer's musical range covers 11 languages, and she has sung for presidents and dignitaries around the globe including President Obama's historical Commander-in-Chief Inaugural Ball. N'Kenge has been seen as a soloist at world-renowned illustrious performance venues such as Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall, Madison Square Garden and has headlined Pop and Opera concerts with Seattle Symphony, Jacksonville Symphony, Cincinnati Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, and Cleveland Orchestra to name a few. N'Kenge is excited to return to Carnegie Hall after being a soloist at Stern Auditorium this past April in the Suffrage Cantata. N'Kenge has graced the stage as a presenter at the 58th Annual NY Emmy Awards and is a proud alumnus of both the Juilliard School and Manhattan School of Music. N'Kenge made her Broadway debut in Sondheim on Sondheim and returned to Broadway this past Fall in the revival of Caroline, Or Change to rave reviews. "N'Kenge's voice as The Moon is soaring, pure, effortless, gorgeous." This energetic, well-rounded singer has performed with jazz greats like Ornette Coleman and Wynton Marsalis and was nominated for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical for her portrayal of the leading roles in both the Elton John/Tim Rice Musical Aida and in Marion Caffey's 3 Mo' Divas by the Helen Hayes Awards and the Arizoni Theater Awards. N'Kenge is slated to star in the role of Jazz in Broadway bound musical Dangerous written by John Introcaso and Michael Colby led by Tony Nominated Director Denis Jones. N'Kenge is thrilled to have TV producer Gina Goff helming her TV musical series "Black Butterfly" that she created as well as co-wrote with Award-winning writer Mary McCallum. For more details on N'Kenge's 2022-2023 tour schedule and recordings, please visit

There will be two (2) performances - Sunday, July 17 and Monday, July 18, both at 7:30pm. Tickets may be purchased at For more information about the show, email


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