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ENCORES' Cabin in the Sky, 1776, Do I Hear A Waltz casts

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New York City Center's 2016 Encores! season is taking shape!

BroadwayWorld has learned this afternoon that J. Bernard CallowayChuck Cooper,Marva HicksCarly Hughes, LaChanze,Norm LewisForrest McClendon, and J.D. Webster will star in Vernon Duke and John Latouche's jazz-filled fable Cabin in the Sky, running for seven performances at City Center from February 10-14. The 1940 musical will be directed by Tony Award winner Ruben Santiago-Hudson with choreography by Camille A. Brown.

Originally produced in 1940, Cabin in the Sky followed Porgy and Bess in celebrating African?American music and dance traditions. The musical tells the story of "Little Joe" Jackson, a charming ne'er-do-well who dies in a saloon brawl and is given six months on earth to prove his worth to the Lord's General (Norm Lewis) and his long?suffering wife Petunia (LaChanze), while resisting the temptations of the Devil's Head Man (Chuck Cooper).

Duke's score, featuring the jazz hit "Taking a Chance on Love," will be restored to its original glory for Encores!, thanks to the generous support of The Joseph S. and Diane H. Steinberg Broadway Musical Restoration Fund. The original orchestrations for Cabin in the Sky no longer exist and will be recreated by Tony Award winner Jonathan Tunick.

The Encores! season will continue with a multi?ethnic production of Sherman Edwards' Tony Award-winning classic 1776 (Mar 30-Apr 3), directed by Garry Hynes, with guest music direction by Ben Whiteley and choreography byChris Bailey. The final production of the season, Richard Rodgers and Stephen Sondheim's 1965 musical Do I Hear a Waltz? (May 11-15), will be directed by Evan Cabnet, with musical direction by Encores! Music Director Rob Bermanand choreography by Chase Brock.

CABIN IN THE SKY ARTISTS
Chuck Cooper (The Head Man) has been featured in 13 Broadway shows in every theatrical genre from Shakespeare to musical comedy. He has received a Tony Award, a Lucille Lortel Award, and two Drama Desk Award nominations. TV appearances include House of Cards, Madam Secretary, Nurse Jackie, and Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight.

LaChanze (Petunia Jackson) Broadway: If/Then, The Color Purple (Tony Award), Once on This Island (Tony, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle Award nominations), Ragtime, Company, and Uptown It's Hot. Off? Broadway: Dessa Rose (Obie Award, Drama Desk Award nomination), The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin (Drama Desk Award nomination), Inked Baby, Baby, From the Mississippi Delta, and Spunk. Encores!: The Wizard and Out of This World. Film: The Help, Side Effects, Breaking Upwards, Confessions of a Shopaholic, Disney's Hercules, For Love or Money, and Leap of Faith. Television: Handel's Messiah Rocks (Emmy Award), Lucy, Law & Order: SVU, Sex and the City, New York Undercover, The Cosby Show, Person of Interest, and the HBO miniseries Crime. Her concert "Feeling Good" will tour the US in 2016 and 2017.

Norm Lewis (The Lord's General) made history in 2014 as the first African?American Phantom in Broadway's The Phantom of the Opera, and was recently seen on PBS in "Live from Lincoln Center: Show Boat" with Vanessa Williams. His Broadway credits include The Gershwins' Porgy & Bess (Tony and Drama Desk Award nominations), Sondheim on Sondheim, The Little Mermaid, Les Mise?rables, Chicago, Amour, The Wild Party, Side Show, Miss Saigon, and The Who's Tommy. Off?Broadway: Dessa Rose (Drama Desk Award nomination), The Tempest, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Captains Courageous, and A New Brain. Mr. Lewis' film and TV credits include Winter's Tale, Sex and the City 2, Magnum Opus (upcoming), "Chicago Med," "Gotham," "The Blacklist," and his recurring role as Senator Edison Davis on "Scandal." Solo album: This is the Life.

Ruben Santiago-Hudson (Director) recently directed the world premieres of Paradise Blue at Williamstown Theater Festival and his own Your Blues Ain't Sweet Like Mine at Two River Theater. Other directing credits include The Piano Lesson (Obie and Lucille Lortel Awards); The Happiest Song Plays Last at Second Stage; and My Children! My Africa!, Seven Guitars, and The First Breeze of Summer, all at Signature. His screenplay adaptation of his autobiographical play Lackawanna Blues received Emmy, Golden Globe, and WGA Award nominations. As an actor, Mr. Santiago?Hudson is the recipient of a Tony Award and an Obie Award, among others. This season he will direct the world premiere of Dominique Morriseau's Skeleton Crew at the Atlantic Theater Company. He spent several seasons on the TV series "Castle" and currently costars on TNT's Public Morals.

Camille A. Brown (Choreography) Broadway: A Streetcar Named Desire. Off-Broadway: The Fortress of Solitude (DTC and The Public Theater) and tick, tick...BOOM! (Encores! Off-Center). Regional: Stagger Lee (DTC) andMarcus Gardley's THE BOX: A Black Comedy. Commissions: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Ballet Memphis, Hubbard Street II, and Complexions. Fashion: New York Fashion Week (200ENCORES' Cabin in the Sky, 1776, Do I Hear A Waltz casts. Company: Camille A. Brown & Dancers. Awards: 2015 USA Fellow, 2015 Doris Duke Artist Award, 2015 TED Fellow, 2014 City CenterChoreography Fellow, 2014 Bessie Award for Outstanding Production, and Princess Grace Award for Choreography.

1776 ARTISTS
Garry Hynes (Director) was a co-founder of the award-winning Druid Theatre Company. She was Druid's artistic director from 1975 to 1991, and again from 1995 to present. Ms. Hynes was the artistic director of Abbey Theatrefrom 1991 to 1994. She has also worked with the Royal Shakespeare Company, The Royal Court, Second Stage, Manhattan Theatre Club, The Kennedy Center, the Center Theatre Group, and the Spoleto Festival. Ms. Hynes holds the distinction of being the first female to win a Tony Award for direction of a play.

Ben Whiteley (Guest Music Director) Broadway/national tours: The Addams Family, A Christmas Story, Spamalot, The Full Monty, Cats, Grand Hotel, Falsettos, and Big. Carnegie Hall: Sail Away with Elaine Stritch and Carnegie HallSalutes Comden and Green. New York Philharmonic: Choral Direction for Carousel (PBS), My Fair Lady. Regional credits include the MUNY, Paper Mill Playhouse, and 5th Avenue Theatre. He has served as Associate Music Director and/or done choral preparation for over 25 Encores! productions, including The Most Happy Fella, Paint Your Wagon, and Merrily We Roll Along. Recordings: Allegro and Boardwalk Empire (Grammy Award).

Chris Bailey (Choreographer) Credits as a choreographer include Assassins (Menier Chocolate
Factory), Cyrano de Bergerac (Roundabout), and Dancing Shadows (Seoul Arts Center). He was associate choreographer for Broadway productions of Promises, Promises; How to Succeed...; Evita; and Cry Baby; and for West End productions of Guys and Dolls, Evita, and Once in a Lifetime. He has been associate Choreographer for the Academy Awards for the last three years, and co-choreographed the 2013 Tony Awards. Film credits includeKenneth Branagh's Cinderella, A Million Ways to Die in the West, and Ted 2.

DO I HEAR A WALTZ? ARTISTS
Evan Cabnet (Director) directed the current Broadway production of Therese Raquin starring Keira Knightley. Recent:Branden Jacobs-Jenkins' Gloria (Vineyard Theater), William Inge's Off the Main Road (Williamstown), Henry V (Chautauqua), Donald Margulies' The Model Apartment, and Theresa Rebeck's Poor Behavior (Primary Stages). World premieres include A Kid Like Jake and All?American, Christopher Shinn's Teddy Ferrara, The Dream of the Burning Boy, The Performers, Warrior Class, Outside People, Oohrah!, Elizabeth Meriwether's Oliver Park!, The Mistakes Madeleine Made, Saigono Samurai, and his own adaptations of Ubu Roi and Salman Rushdie's Haroun and the Sea of Stories. He is an Associate Artist for the Roundabout, a frequent director at the Juilliard School, and a Performance Consultant for the Metropolitan Opera (Die Fledermaus).

Rob Berman (Music Director) is entering his ninth season as music director of Encores!, for which he has conducted 22 productions and four cast recordings. His Broadway conducting credits include Tuck Everlasting (upcoming), Dames at Sea, Finian's Rainbow, Irving Berlin's White Christmas, The Pajama Game, The Apple Tree, Wonderful Town, and Promises, Promises. For nine years he was music director of the Kennedy Center Honors on CBS, for which he won an Emmy Award for outstanding musical direction. He has conducted for Barbara Cook with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and he was also music director for the PBS presentation of A Broadway Celebration: In Performance at the White House. Other credits include Sunday in the Park with George (Kennedy Center, Helen Hayes Award); Passion (Classic Stage Company); and the world premiere of Steve Martin and Edie Brickell's musical Bright Star (Old Globe Theatre).

Chase Brock (Choreographer) Recent choreography includes the Encores! productions of Lost in the Stars, Irma La Douce, and The Cradle Will Rock; and the world premieres of Michael John LaChiusa's First Daughter Suite, Joe Iconis's Be More Chill, Sara Bareilles's Waitress, Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz's The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Marisa Michelson's Tamar of the River, Todd Almond and Lear deBessonet's The Tempest and The Winter's Tale, and Bono and The Edge's Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. chasebrock.com

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I hadn't heard before that the original orchestrations for Cabin in the Sky no longer exist and will be recreated by Tony Award winner Jonathan Tunick.

 

Seems sort of contrary to the somewhat-unstated mission of Encores, I'd think. I suppose that most people, if they think of orchestration at all, think that orchestrations are little more than disposable, negligible ornamentation to the piano score, and one set is much like another...

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Get ready for a major overhaul in the book for "Cabin in the Sky." If you thought "The Wiz" was dated ...

 

And I wonder if they will include one of the iconic songs associated with it, "Happiness Is Just a  Thing Called Joe," which was written by Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg (of Wizard of Oz fame) for the 1943 movie.

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The involvement of Chuck Cooper, LaChanze, Carly Hughes, and Norm Lewis has me much more excited about Cabin in the Sky but not enough to buy a full priced ticket yet for a show I don't know. Nevertheless, that's an exceptional cast taking shape. I am still very interested to see who they'll get for Do I Hear A Waltz.

 

 

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Have tickets for Waltz? Is it the original Broadway version or the revised one?

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Encores has used non-original charts before, even when the originals still exist.

 

A notable occasion was NO NO NANETTE for which they used the 1971 revisal version with the orchestrations from that production despite the originals still being very much intact.

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What will happen with Waltz if you know?

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I have no clue, I speak only from what they've done previously. I think its likely they'll use the original though personally.

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Thanks

 

I have only seen one Encores & it was Superman. Having seen the original I could compare. Other than sets & the fact you did not see him flying, it was almost a carbon copy of the original. It brought back memories . Would love to see a full scale revival but this production was absolutely top drawer if one does not happen.



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Updated On: 12/7/15 at 05:52 PM
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Another instance of non-original orchestrations being used was for ST. LOUIS WOMAN. The original charts were lost so they got legend Ralph Burns to do a new set, based wherever possible on the OBC recording.

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Who's playing Little Joe?

 

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Encores has only created new orchestrations when the originals have been lost, but they've been sensitive to the original periods of the shows, more or less. Tunick did a very good House of Flowers (although the show was not otherwise very well served) and St. Louis Woman had a great set of new charts, and made a great album. Now Cabin in the Sky -- three shows written for African-American casts, and three shows largely neglected. I can't wait for this one. My guess is they won't do a "major overhaul" of the book -- they never do. I imagine they'll trim, and live with the tone of the original. Dated does not seem to be a problem for Encores. Which I appreciate. 

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I'm interested in 1776 casting, but I guess it hasn't been announced yet.

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I'm wondering if people will be going to 1776 expecting the cast to look like Hamilton's.

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Well, it's being cast with multiethnic actors, so it's going to look a lot more like Hamilton than any previous NY productions.

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I was tempted to answer a question above re Little Joe by saying Michael Landon but I did not - until now

 

Re 1776, having seen the original & the revival that played the Gershwin, did not see the need to see it again. It is an interesting question re people expecting something else when they see 1776 this time around..Who knows.

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Has anybody heard any information on when the 1776 casting will be announced? Hoping to find out more before buying a ticket!

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Nothing on their website. Maybe they will announce it after Cabin in the Sky is finished. I am going to see it regardless. Love me some 1776.

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