Josephine Premice, the coarse-voiced actress who sang salty Yip Harburg lyrics in Broadway's Jamaica, died April 13, according to a death notice in The New York Times.
Ms. Premice was an actress, dancer and singer whose work was seen on and Off-Broadway and in nightclubs. She made her Broadway debut in the 1945 revue, Blue Holiday, and would later appear in Caribbean Carnival (1947), Mister Johnson (1956) and as the wry, wise Ginger in the satirical musical comedy, Jamaica, by lyricist Yip Harburg and composer Harold Arlen. The 1957 Caribbean-set show was a romantic vehicle for Lena Horne and Ricardo Montalban, but allowed Harburg the chance to spoof modern life and capitalistic folly, however incidental to the plot. Ms. Premice's performance is captured on the cast album. She sang "Leave de Atom Alone" (about man playing God in the nuclear age), "Yankee Dollar" (an uptempo about American tourists and their dough) and "Little Biscuit" (about the trap of love), as well as "What Good Does It Do."
Ms. Premice also acted in the Off-Broadway revival staging of House of Flowers (as Madame Fleur) and in Broadway's Bubbling Brown Sugar and stagings of A Hand Is on the Gate, Cherry Orchard and American Night Cry.
Ms. Premice was born in Brooklyn July 21, 1926, and graduated Columbia University and studied at Cornell University, according to bios in Theatre World and Who's Who of the American Theatre. She is survived by her husband, Timothy Fales and children Enrico Fales and Susan Fales Hill.
— By Kenneth Jones