Shannon Antalan will star in the title role of the musical, which will play the Boston venue Aug. 23-Sept. 11 with an official opening Aug. 25 at 8 PM. Antalan was seen on Broadway in Caroline, or Change and played Inez in the national touring company of Hairspray. Among her other theatrical credits are Smokey Joe's Cafe and Ain't Misbehavin'.
Directed by Stafford Arima, the Abyssinia company will also include Uzo Aduba (Trembling Sally), Edward M. Barker (Brother Samuels), Derrick Cobey (Marcus), B.J. Crosby (Mother Vera), Seth Diggs (Swing), Karole Foreman (Patience), Andre Garner (Minister), Angela Grovey (Mavis), Kellee Knighten (Swing), Darius Nichols (Leon), Q. Smith (Corine), Nathaniel Stampley (Lucas), Eric LaJuan Summers (Jesse), Lisa Nicole Wilkerson (Lily, Mother Samuels) and Natasha Yvette Williams (Selma).
Based on Joyce Carol Thomas' novel "Marked By Fire," Abyssinia features a score by Ted Kociolek (music) and James Racheff (lyrics). The musical, according to production notes, "follows Abyssinia Jackson, a young black woman who is blessed with an angelic gospel voice and the amazing ability to heal. But after a devastating tragedy, she loses her faith — and begins a courageous journey of rediscovery and renewal."
In a statement North Shore Artistic Director and Executive Producer Jon Kimbell said, "Since first presenting Abyssinia in 1995, we have been flooded with requests to bring it back. It seemed a perfect fit as part of our 2005 musical season 'Celebrating 50 Years.' I could have never have imagined how much we would need it now. Abyssinia and its message of faith will deeply touch today's audiences, especially our many devoted patrons who have temporarily lost their theatre."
The creative team for Abyssinia comprises Michael O'Flaherty (music director), Todd L. Underwood (choreographer), Beowulf Boritt (scenic designer), Kirk Bookman (lighting designer), Pamela Scofield (costume designer), John A. Stone (sound designer) and Gerard Kelly (hair and wig designer). Tickets, priced $30-$63, are available by calling (800) 447-7400 or by visiting the Shubert Theatre box office at 265 Tremont Street in Boston, MA. Visit www.nsmt.org for more information.