Dallas Theater Center to Stage World Premiere of New Musical STAGGER LEE, Begin. 1/21

Dallas Theater Center to Stage World Premiere of New Musical STAGGER LEE, Begin. 1/21This January, Dallas Theater Center will produce the world premiere of the brand new musical Stagger Lee, book and lyrics by Meadows Prize recipient Will Power. Stagger Lee, which takes its title from the century-old folk song, is directed by Patricia McGregor with music by Will Power and Justin Ellington. Stagger Lee was partially developed in workshops in collaboration with the Meadows School of the Arts, Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas as a part of Will Powers' Meadows Prize residency. Stagger Lee begins previews on Wednesday, January 21 with a Pay-What-You-Can performance and runs through Sunday, February 15. Tickets to Stagger Lee are on sale now at www.DallasTheatercenter.org.

"Dallas Theater Center's partnership with SMU's Meadows School of the Arts has generated many artistic accomplishments in recent years and Stagger Lee is among the most exciting. Will Power, DTC's Playwright in Residence, is an incredibly talented writer. With this piece he has created his first musical," said DTC Artistic Director Kevin Moriarty. "Working with co-composer, Justin Ellington, Will has crafted a musical score that spans the breadth of African-American music throughout the 20th century, from the blues to hip hop, while telling a fast paced, deeply moving story of love, friendship, freedom and sacrifice."

Stagger Lee, which features a 21-person cast, spans the 20th century, tracing mythical characters in their quest to achieve the American Dream. Billy is a dreamer and an optimist. He moves North with his wife Delilah in search of a better home to raise his young family. Johnny, Delilah's brother, and his girl Frankie also dream of a bright future. Stagger Lee embodies the challenges and struggles these two couples face along the way. Told with music that crosses decades and locations, Stagger Lee explores deep-seated themes of racism and the raw power of the human spirit.

"It's a challenge to have the kind of diversity we have in America and try to create one American mythology. So with Stagger Lee, I started to think about these old folk tales. Frankie and Johnny is about a woman who found out her man was cheating on her and killed him. Long Lost John is a folk tale about this convict who broke out of a chain gang and spent years on the run. And Stagger Lee comes from a story about a guy named Lee Stag Shelton, and he was gambling with another guy named Billy Lyons. They got into an argument about what the dice said and Billy knocked off Lee Stag Shelton's hat, and Lee Stag Shelton shot him," says Power. "All of these folk tales are woven through the play to tell a story that is ultimately about the search for the American Dream."

Former DTC Brierley Resident Acting Company member Cedric Neal (A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Who's Tommy) returns to the DTC stage for the first time in over five years as Johnny. In his time away, Neal appeared in the Tony Award-winning The Gershwin's Porgy and Bess and the Tony Award-nominated After Midnight. J. Bernard Calloway (The Good Negro), who appeared in the Tony Award-winning productions of All the Way and Memphis the Musical, also returns to the DTC stage as Stagger Lee. Brandon Gill makes his DTC debut as Johnny; Tiffany Mann (Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Dividing the Estate) appears as Delilah; Saycon Sengbloh appears as Frankie; and Rickey Tripp appears as Long Lost John.

Members of the ensemble include Major Attaway, Kristen Bond, Tyrone Davis Jr., Brierley Resident Acting Company member Hassan El-Amin, Babakayode Ipayem M. Denise Lee, Traci Elaine Lee, Mayte Natalio, Malaiyka Reid, Devin L. Roberts, Jay Staten and Akron Watson. Young cast members include Malakai Nance Moka, Sophia Teyolia, Ross Adkins, Micah Oliver and Chris Adkins.

"Stagger Lee is an epic attempt to tell large parts of the American story and asks some very hard questions in a joyful and rigorous way," says McGregor. "Too many people have grown accustomed to the images we see on the news. They don't move us the way being in the same room with real people and events can."

Stagger Lee spans time and space and the design team is instrumental in creating the visual representations of this movement. Tony Award-winning set designer John Arnone (God of Carnage, Dividing the Estate) lends his talents to create the six locations in the production and costume designer Dede M. Ayite will outfit the cast with clothing representative of six different time periods. Other members of the creative and design team include Camille A. Brown (The Fortress of Solitude), choreography; Daryl Waters and Justin Ellington, orchestrations; Alan C. Edwards, lighting design; Peter McBoyle, sound design; Cookie Jordan, wig design; Jeff Colangelo, fight director; and Juel D. Lane, associate choreographer.

Tickets for Stagger Lee are on sale now. Ticket prices start at $18 and are available online at www.DallasTheaterCenter.org or by phone at (214) 880-0202. All performances of Stagger Lee will take place at the Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre, located at 2400 Flora Street, where it runs Jan. 21 - Feb. 15, 2015. Stagger Lee begins previews on Wednesday, Jan. 21 at 7:30pm with a Pay-What-You-Can performance. Tickets to this performance will be available for purchase online at www.DallasTheaterCenter.org beginning Thursday, Jan. 15 at 10am. Press night will take place on Friday, Jan. 30 at 8:00p.m.. DTC's Come Early sponsored by Wells Fargo will take place one hour before every performance and will be led by Babakayode Ipaye. Patrons will have the opportunity to learn about the play prior to viewing the production. DTC's Stay Late presented by Dr Pepper Snapple will take place after each performance and will be led by Hassan El-Amin. Patrons will have the opportunity to engage with artists, learn about the production and share insights about the play in a lively discussion. Details for Come Early and Stay Late are available online. Tickets for Stagger Lee are on sale now. Ticket prices start at $18 and are available online at www.DallasTheaterCenter.org or by phone at (214) 880-0202.

Dallas Theater Center gratefully acknowledges the support of Presenting Sponsors TACA Donna Wilhelm Family New Works Fund and National Endowment for the Arts; Associate Producing Partner JPMorgan Chase $ Co.; Assistant Producing Partner Haynes and Boone, LLP; the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Dramatists Guild Fund. Stagger Lee is a presentation of the Kimberley and Scott Sheffield Musical Theater Series. Special thanks also to Jennifer and Peter Altabef and Deedie and Rusty Rose.

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