Monday, May 27, 2024

Chuck Cooper, LaChanze & Norm Lewis Star in ‘Cabin in the Sky’

cabin in the sky
Chuck Cooper, LaChanze, Carly Hughes, Norm Lewis, Michael Potts, and more will star in Encores! production of “Cabin in the Sky,” directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson

*Encores! Artistic Director Jack Viertel  announced the creative team for New York City Center’s jazz-filled fable Cabin in the Sky.”

Viertel also announced  the teams for other productions of the season; including, ‘Do I hear a Waltz’ and ‘1776’. 

Harvey Blanks, Chuck Cooper, Marva Hicks, Carly Hughes, Jonathan Kirkland, LaChanze, Norm Lewis, Forrest McClendon, Michael Potts 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 (Michael Potts), 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 by Chris 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 Berman and choreography by Chase Brock.

Cabin in The Sky

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.

Carly Hughes (Georgia Brown) Broadway: Chicago (Velma Kelly), Pippin (Leading Player), Beautiful (Lucille/Lead Shirelle), The Book of Mormon (Mrs. Brown), Ghost (Louise, u/s Oda Mae Brown), Ragtime (u/s Sarah), …Putnam County Spelling Bee, and …The Grinch. Off-Broadway: SIDD. Favorite roles include Dessa Rose in Dessa Rose (West Coast premiere), Aida in Aida, Sarah in Ragtime, and Brenda in Smokey Joe’s Cafe. Recipient of the prestigious Princess Grace Award. Film: Lucky Stiff. Love to family, friends, and CLA.

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 Misérables, 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.

Michael Potts (“Little Joe” Jackson) starred as Detective Gilbough in the first season of HBO’s True Detective. Also on HBO, he recurred on Show Me a Hero and The Wire (Brother Mouzone). Recurring roles on Gotham, Person of Interest, Law & Order: SVU, and Damages. Upcoming films include Assisted Living, 37, and Let Me Make You a Martyr. On Broadway, Mr. Potts originated roles in The Book of Mormon (Mafala Hatimbi), Grey Gardens (Brooks), and Lennon.

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.

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) and Marcus Gardley’s THE BOX: A Black Comedy. Commissions: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Ballet Memphis, Hubbard Street II, and Complexions.

New York City Center gratefully acknowledges the Encores! Season Sponsors, Stacey and Eric Mindich, Nathalie and Pablo Salame, The Shubert Foundation, and the Stephanie and Fred Shuman Fund for Encores!

Support for Cabin in the Sky is made possible by the Joseph S. and Diane H. Steinberg Charitable Trust.





Peter Larsen




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