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Sara Bareilles, Christian Borle, Ashley Park, Dulé Hill & More Announced for 2022 Encores! Season
BREAKING NEWS: So much anticipation in the air celebrating the return of Live Theater in the Big Apple. We are so happy to announce that early casting has been revealed for the upcoming 2021-2022 season of New York City Center‘s legendary famed ENCORES series. This promises to be an unbelievable all-star lineup of familiar Broadway faces bringing classic musicals back to life like never before.
For anyone who may not be familiar first, ENCORES was created by New York City Center in 1994. It’s a series of staged concert presentations of popular but rarely ever produced Broadway Musicals. We are talking about classic shows that has NOT been seen on the New York stage within over 20+ years. They’re usually rehearsed for about a week and a half in a private rehearsal studio before heading into City Center’s main stage to tech and then run for only 5 SHOWS. All productions feature a full 35 piece orchestra (a.k.a THE ENCORES ORCHESTRA) on stage accompanying a full all-star Broadway cast and Ensemble (carrying scripts along with some stage blocking and choreography).
Many of its productions have later went on to have successful transfers to Broadway including the ongoing long running revival of Chicago, Wonderful Town, The Apple Tree, Gypsy, Violet, and so much more.
This year’s lineup of shows and casting will consist as follows…..
The season kicks off February 2nd – 6th, 2022 with a production of Henry Krieger, Robert Lorick, and Charles Blackwell’s Tony winning musical THE TAP DANCE KID. This production will be directed by Tony winner Kenny Leon and featuring choreography by Jared Grimes. It tells the story of an upper middle class African-American family and a 10 year old boy’s dream of becoming a professional dancer but faces opposition from his father, a lawyer. It originally debuted at Broadway’s Broadhurst Theatre in 1983 running for 669 performances, Notable songs include ANOTHER DAY, CLASS ACT, MAN IN THE MOON, LIKE HIM, SOMEDAY, and DANCE IF IT MAKES YOU HAPPY.
Headlining the cast of THE TAP DANCE KID will star….
Emmy Award winner Dulé Hill who appeared in the musical’s original production on Broadway as the understudy for the lead role of “Willie”. This time he returns to play the role of “Uncle Dipsey”.
The 2nd show of the season running March 16th – 20th, 2022 will be Cy Coleman, Ira Gasman, and David Newman’s Award winning smash musical THE LIFE. This new production will be BOTH adapted and directed by Tony and Emmy winner Billy Porter. In case anyone may not be familiar, THE LIFE tells the story of life in Times Square’s 42nd Street in the 1980’s during the crazy era long before the “Disneyfication” which was inhabited by pimps, prostitutes, druggies and dealers, runaways and the homeless. It originally debuted in 1990 OFF Broadway at the Westbeth Theatre. It later moved ON Broadway in 1997 playing the Ethel Barrymore Theatre where it ran for 21 previews and 466 regular performances. Notable songs include CHECK IT OUT, MY BODY, YOU CAN’T GO TO HEAVEN, I’M LEAVING YOU, WE HAD A DREAM, and WE GOTTA GO,
Headlining THE LIFE cast will star….
Chuck Cooper who won a Tony for playing the role of “Memphis” in the musical’s origin al production…. this time playing the role of “Old Jojo”,
Grammy Award nominee Mykal Kilgore (Broadway’s Hair, The Book of Mormon, and previously seen in the 50th Anniversary concert of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at Lincoln Center) as “Young Jojo”,
Grammy Award-winner Ledisi (who previously appeared on Broadway in the original production of Caroline, Or Change) in the role of “Sonja”,
Broadway favorite Ken Robinson (Broadway’s Baby It’s You and Summer: The Donna Summer Musical) as “Fleetwood”.
Finally, CHILDREN WILL LISTEN to the final production set to run for a 2 week engagement from May 4th – 15th, 2022….. a brand new production of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s thrilling fairy tale adventure……. Into The Woods. Directed by Lear deBessonet, this new semi-staged production will take audiences on the ultimate journey. The story of course combines some of the world’s greatest fairy tales by The Brothers Grimm and Charles Perrault all tied together in one story. It centers on a childless baker and his wife and their quest to begin a family (the original beginning of The Grimm Brothers’ “Rapunzel”), their interaction with an evil “witch” who has placed a curse on them, and their interaction with other notable characters on their own adventures like “Cinderella”, “Jack and the Beanstalk”, “Little Red Riding Hood”, and more. The musical originally debuted on Broadway in 1987 winning several Tony Awards including BEST SCORE and has had several revivals since there. It’s also a popular show performed in schools, community, and regional theaters everywhere. Notable songs include INTO THE WOODS, GIANTS IN THE SKY, I KNOW THINGS NOW, AGONY, ON THE STEPS OF THE PALACE, YOUR FAULT, ANY MOMENT, NO ONE IS ALONE, and the beautiful CHILDREN WILL LISTEN.
This magical fairy tale cast will include….
Tony Award winner Heather Headley (Broadway’s The Lion King, Aida, and last seen on the Great Bright Way in the recent revival of The Color Purple) as “The Witch”, a role she previously played in 2015 at The Muny,
Tony nominee Ashley Park (Broadway’s MAMMA MIA!, The King and I, and last seen in Mean Girls plus TV’s Girls5Eva) as “Cinderella”,
Tony nominee and Grammy winner Sara Bareilles (Waitress) as “The Baker’s Wife”.
What an unforgettable lineup welcoming ENCROES and City Center back!!!
Mike Haber
Author: Mike Haber

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