Pullman Porter Blues is a commission of Seattle Rep's New Play Program. It is the first of the organization's commissions to debut on the main stage.
Lisa Peterson, who helped guide Tony Award winner Denis O'Hare's An Iliad at Seattle Rep, has been developing the play with West and will also direct the full production in fall 2012.
Actors aligned to workshop the piece in its final phases over the next year include Tony Award winners Chuck Cooper and Tonya Pinkins, as well as John Aylward, Emily Chisholm, Larry Marshall, Warner Miller, Chic Street Man and Pat Hill.
Jmichael, who has musical directed such works as Mahalia: A Gospel Musical and been part of the world premiere of Gut Bucket Blues, is composing the score for Pullman Porter Blues and will also musical direct.
Here's how Seattle Rep bills the play: "Set in 1937 on the Panama Limited train, Pullman Porter Blues centers on three generations of porters working the sleeping cars the night of the famous Joe Louis/James Braddock boxing match. As the train chugs from Chicago towards New Orleans, grandfather, father, and son spar; racial tensions flare; and Midwest blues flavor the night."
West's plays include Before It Hits Home, Jar the Floor, Puddin 'n Pete, Holiday Heart, Birdie Blues, Addy: An American Girl Story and the Broadway musical Play On!, which used the songs of Duke Ellington to re-imagine Shakespeare's Twelfth Night.
The remainder of the Seattle Rep season will be announced in spring 2012.