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Previews Begin Tonight for DREAMING ZENZILE, Presented by New York Theatre Workshop & National Black Theatre

Dreaming Zenzile is set to open on Wednesday June 1, for a limited run through Sunday June 26, 2022.

Previews Begin Tonight for DREAMING ZENZILE, Presented by New York Theatre Workshop & National Black Theatre

New York Theatre Workshop and National Black Theatre will present Dreaming Zenzile, based on the life of Miriam Makeba, by Grammy-nominated Vocalist/Composer Somi Kakoma (Holy Room - Live at Alte Oper; Petite Afrique; The Lagos Music Salon), directed by Obie Award winner, Tony Award nominee, NYTW Usual Suspect & former NYTW 2050 Artistic Fellow Lileana Blain-Cruz (The House That Will Not Stand, Red Speedo). Dreaming Zenzile will begin previews tonight, Tuesday May 17, 2022, at New York Theatre Workshop (79 E 4th Street, New York, NY 10003), and is set to open on Wednesday June 1, for a limited run through Sunday June 26, 2022.

The previously announced cast of Dreaming Zenzile will include Somi Kakoma as Miriam Makeba, Aaron Marcellus (STOMP) as Sangoma Chorus, Naledi Masilo (Lesakeng: In the Kraal) as Sangoma Chorus, Phumzile Sojola (Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella) and as Sangoma Chorus. Joining them will be Phindi Wilson (Disney's The Lion King) as Sangoma Chorus, and Kim Onah (Beautiful: The Carole King Musical) & Darrell Wayne Purcell, Jr. (Rock of Ages 10th Anniversary National Tour) as understudies.

At her final concert, South African musical legend and activist Miriam Makeba delivers the performance of her life, raising the conscience and the consciousness of a people. But the ancestors are calling-transporting her through the music and fractured memories of her past on a spiritual journey of reconciliation. Written and performed by Grammy-nominated international music sensation Somi Kakoma, this world premiere musical is an electrifying portrait of a revolutionary artist's singular voice and vision.

Under the direction of NYTW Usual Suspect & former 2050 Artistic Fellow Lileana Blain-Cruz, the rolling world premiere production of Dreaming Zenzile brings together seven producers including Octopus Theatricals, National Black Theatre, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, McCarter Theatre Center, Arts Emerson, Apollo Theater and New York Theatre Workshop. The soul-stirring production includes a live jazz band playing original music and reinterpretations of Makeba's remarkable catalog.

Somi Kakoma's latest release, Zenzile: The Reimagination of Miriam Makeba, is a companion album to the show and was released on March 4, 2022, to commemorate Makeba's 90th birthday.

The Dreaming Zenzile band will include Toru Dodo on piano, Pathé Jassi on bass, Hervé Samb on guitar and Sheldon Thwaites on percussion.

Dreaming Zenzile will feature Hervé Samb (Teranga) as Music Director and Marjani Forté-Saunders (Memoirs of a...Unicorn) as choreographer, with scenic design by Riccardo Hernández (Jagged Little Pill), costume design by award-winning fashion designer Mimi Plange, lighting design by Yi Zhao (Fabulation, or the Re-education of Undine), sound design by Justin Ellington (Pass Over), and projection design by Hannah Wasileski (Anatomy of a Suicide). abigail jean-baptiste (Merry Wives) will serve as associate director, with Talvin Wilks (Going to the Wall) as dramaturg and Egypt Dixon (The Winter's Tale) as stage manager. NYC Casting is by Stewart/Whitley.

Dreaming Zenzile is developed by Octopus Theatricals and the National Black Theatre, co-commissioned by Joe's Pub at The Public and ArtsEmerson, Boston, MA and developed with the support of The Apollo Theater. Dreaming Zenzile was further developed at The Sundance Institute Theatre Lab in 2019 and received residencies with SEI Innovation studio at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, The Clarice Smith Center's Artist Partner Program, Baryshnikov Arts Center, Rauschenberg Residency/Robert Rauschenberg Foundation and UCLA Center for the Art of Performance. The original music and arrangements of Dreaming Zenzile were made possible through the French American Jazz Exchange, a joint program of FACE Foundation and Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation with generous funding from Cultural Services of the French Embassy, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, SACEM, Institut Français and the Ministere de la Culture et de la Communication.

Special thanks to The Miriam Makeba Estate, The Mama Africa Cultural & Social Trust, and The Miriam Makeba Foundation for their support and permission to create this work.

The performance schedule for Dreaming Zenzile is as follows: Tuesday-Thursday at 7pm; Friday at 8pm; Saturday at 2pm & 8pm; Sunday at 2pm & 7pm. Exceptions: there will be no performances on Saturday May 21 at 2pm, Wednesday June 1, Thursday June 2 or Sunday June 12 at 7pm.

A series of For the Culture affinity events will be held at select performances. These events will include the following:

  • Wednesday May 25- Black Theatre Night in partnership with Black Boys Do Theatre
  • Tuesday June 7- in partnership with Black Girls Do Theatre
  • Thursday June 16- Apollo Night in partnership with the Apollo Theater
  • Thursday June 23- in partnership with Poetic Theatre Productions and FABnyc, held in conjunction with Open Street: Open Mic

Single tickets for Dreaming Zenzile start at $40 and vary by performance date and time. $25 tickets are available for the first two CHEAPTIX performances on May 17th and 18th. Tickets are available now at

In order to provide access to those in their surrounding community and those with income limitations, NYTW launched CHEAPTIX, an affordable ticket program. At the first two performances of every NYTW production, tickets are sold to the general public for just $25. Tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis, online at or by phone from the NYTW Box Office at 212-460-5475. Standard ticketing fees apply.

Additionally, a $25 day-of CHEAPTIX RUSH will be available for young people, seniors, artists and Lower East Side residents. Rush tickets are subject to availability and are sold cash-only, limit two per person. Proper identification is required for all rush tickets. Youth (ages 25 and under) and seniors (ages 65+) may present an ID indicating date-of-birth; Artists may present an ID and a program or union card; Lower East Side residents may present an ID that includes your address.

NYTW is pleased to announce a new ticketing initiative for the 2021/22 season which will offer free tickets at all performances to members of our theatre community who lost work during the pandemic and may find cost a barrier to entry to attending shows and participating fully in the return to in-person performances.

A simple submission form will enable participants to select a free ticket from available locations via the NYTW ticketing system, just as they would if they were purchasing. A limited number of tickets will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. While NYTW won't be able to accommodate every single person who would benefit from the opportunity, the theater hopes in some small way to be of service to the community as it continues to rebuild. For more information about the initiative, visit

NYTW is committed to keeping the health and safety of its audiences, artists and staff a top priority. All attendees will be required to show proof of full vaccination. Masks are required at all times inside the building and theatre. For updated information about evolving COVID policies, please visit

National Black Theatre (NBT), the nation's first revenue-generating Black arts complex, was founded in 1968 by the late visionary artist Dr. Barbara Ann Teer. NBT is the longest running Black theatre in New York City, one of the oldest theaters founded and consistently operated by a woman of color in the nation and most recently included in the permanent collection of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. NBT's core mission is to produce transformational theater that helps to shift the inaccuracy around African Americans' cultural identity by telling authentic stories of Black lifestyle. As an alternative learning environment, NBT uses theater arts as a means to educate, enrich, entertain, empower and inform the national conscience around current social issues impacting our communities. Under the leadership of Sade Lythcott, CEO and Jonathan McCrory, Executive Artistic Director, NBT's three core programs-the Theater Arts Program, Communications Arts Program and Entrepreneurial Arts Program-help reshape a more inclusive American theater field by providing an artistically rigorous and culturally sensitive space for artists of color to experiment, develop and present new work. Working with trailblazing artists from Nona Hendrix to Jeremy O. Harris, and helping to launch the careers, most recently, of artists such as Dominique Morisseau, Radha Blank, Mfoniso Udofia, Saheem Ali, Lee Edward Colston II, and Ebony Noelle Golden, and incubating Obie Award-winning companies like The Movement Theatre Company and Harlem9's 48Hours in Harlem, NBT's cultural production remains unparalleled. Located in the heart of Harlem, NBT welcomes more than 90,000 visitors annually; has produced 300+ original works; won 56 Audelco Awards; received a CEBA Award of Merit; and has been nominated for multiple Drama Desk awards. NBT is supported by grants from the Ford Foundation, New York Community Trust, Shubert Foundation, Howard Gilman Foundation, Jerome Foundation, Andrew Mellon Foundation, City Council of New York, City of New York Department of Cultural Affairs, New York State Council on the Arts, Columbia Service Society, and private donations. Visit or follow NBT on Facebook (@NationalBlackTheatre) and Twitter/Instagram (@NatBlackTheatre).

New York Theatre Workshop empowers visionary theatre-makers and brings their work to adventurous audiences through productions, artist workshops and educational programs. We nurture pioneering new writers alongside powerhouse playwrights, engage inimitable genre-shaping directors, and support emerging artists in the earliest days of their careers. We've mounted over 150 productions from artists whose work has shaped our very idea of what theatre can be, including Jonathan Larson's Rent; Tony Kushner's Slavs! and Homebody/Kabul; Doug Wright's Quills; Claudia Shear's Blown Sideways Through Life and Dirty Blonde; Paul Rudnick's The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told and Valhalla; Martha Clarke's Vienna: Lusthaus; Will Power's The Seven and Fetch Clay, Make Man; Caryl Churchill's Mad Forest, Far Away, A Number and Love and Information; Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen's Aftermath; Rick Elice's Peter and the Starcatcher; Glen Hansard, Markéta Irglová and Enda Walsh's Once; David Bowie and Enda Walsh's Lazarus; Dael Orlandersmith's The Gimmick and Forever; and eight acclaimed productions directed by Ivo van Hove. NYTW's productions have received a Pulitzer Prize, 25 Tony Awards and assorted Obie, Drama Desk and Lucille Lortel Awards. NYTW is represented on Broadway with Anaïs Mitchell's Hadestown developed with and directed by Rachel Chavkin, and the upcoming Sing Street, based on the motion picture written and directed by John Carney, with a book by Enda Walsh, music and lyrics by Gary Clark & John Carney, directed by Rebecca Taichman. NYTW is also represented with the current National Tours of Hadestown and Heidi Schreck's What the Constitution Means to Me, directed by Oliver Butler.

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