Playwrights Horizons’ production of Bella: An American Tale officially opens Off-Broadway June 12. Set in the 1870s, Kirsten Childs’ musical adventure takes the audience on the trip of a lifetime through the Wild West, complete with a train robbery and buffalo soldiers.
Bella features a book, music, and lyrics by Childs. Performances of the new musical began May 19 with direction by two-time Obie Award winner Robert O’Hara (Bootycandy, The Brother/Sister Plays) and choreography by Camille A. Brown (The Fortress of Solitude).
The limited engagement is currently scheduled to play through July 2 in the Mainstage Theater, in a production co-presented with Dallas Theater Center, where Bella debuted last fall.
Returning to the New York production from the Dallas staging are Ashley D. Kelley (The Wiz) in the title role, Yurel Echezarreta (Aladdin, La Cage aux Folles), Drama Desk Award winner Kenita R. Miller (The Color Purple, Xanadu), Paolo Montalban (Pacific Overtures, The King and I), and Gabrielle Reyes (Dreamgirls, Ragtime), along with new cast members Marinda Anderson (A Life, Far From Heaven), Brandon Gill (Holler if Ya Hear Me, Neighbors), Olli Haaskivi (Baghdaddy, I Battled Lenny Ross), Kevin Massey (A Gentleman’s Guide…, Tarzan), Jo’Nathan Michael (Ragtime, Dreamgirls), Britton Smith (Shuffle Along, After Midnight), and NaTasha Yvette Williams (Chicago, Porgy and Bess).
Bella: An American Tale follows the epic adventures of Bella, a wanted woman of mythic proportions, as she attempts to escape her scandalous past and find her Buffalo soldier.
The production features scenic design by Tony winner Clint Ramos, costume design by Dede M. Ayite, lighting design by four-time Tony nominee Japhy Weideman, sound design by Lindsay Jones, projection design by Jeff Sugg, and hair, wig, and makeup design by Dave Bova and J. Jared Janas. Orchestrations are by Tony winner Daryl Waters, vocal arrangements are by Childs, music direction and additional arrangements are by Rona Siddiqui, and music coordinator is John Miller. Production stage manager is Erin Gioia Albrecht.