Stafford Arima (Altar Boyz) directs the co-production with North Shore Music Theatre, of Massachusetts. The cast includes Caroline, or Change and Hairspray veteran Shannon Antalan in the title role; Uzo Aduba; Edward M. Barker; Derrick Cobey; BJ Crosby (Broadway's One Mo' Time, Harlem Song, Chicago and Smokey Joe's Café); Quentin Earl Darrington; Karole Foreman; André Garner; Angela Karol Grovey; Darius Nichols; Q. Smith; Eric LaJuan Summers; Lisa Nicole Wilkerson; NaTasha Yvette Williams; Seth Diggs and Kellee Knighten.
Based on the Joyce Carol Thomas novel, "Marked by Fire," Abyssinia has music by Ted Kociolek and lyrics by James Racheff, with a book by Racheff and Kociolek. It had earlier exposure in 1987 and 1988 on Goodspeed's Norma Terris stage — the theatre for developing work.
"Set in rural Oklahoma at the turn of the century, Abyssinia is the uplifting tale of a young girl's joys, sorrows and triumph of faith," according to Goodspeed. "Born during a terrifying tornado, Abyssinia is given the gift of song and a healing spirit to inspire her entire community. An exuberant musical that resounds with plenty of spiritual thunder and melodic lightning, Abyssinia packs an emotional power that surely will bring joy to your heart."
"When we produced Abyssinia at The Norma Terris Theatre 18 years ago, audiences loved it so much, they've been asking for it ever since," said Michael P. Price, Goodspeed executive director, in production notes. "With a timeless story and such glorious music, this is an important show for us to revisit and finally produce on the mainstage."
Choreography is by Todd L. Underwood. The musical director is Michael O'Flaherty, in his 14th season as Goodspeed's resident music director. William J. Thomas is assistant music director with orchestrations by Daryl Waters (Eartha Kitt's music director and co-composer of Broadway's Bring in 'Da Noise/Bring in 'Da Funk).
Sets are designed by Beowulf Boritt, with costume design by Pamela Scofield, lighting by Kirk Bookman.
Goodspeed Musicals "is dedicated to the preservation and advancement of musical theatre, producing six musicals each season at the historic Goodspeed Opera House and The Norma Terris Theatre." For more information, visit www.goodspeed.org.