Debbie Allen-Helmed Twist, With Cleavant Derricks and Tamyra Gray, Begins in Pasadena June 14

News   Debbie Allen-Helmed Twist, With Cleavant Derricks and Tamyra Gray, Begins in Pasadena June 14 The Charles Dickens classic "Oliver Twist" takes a new turn as the funky musical Twist, starring Tony Award winner Cleavant Derricks, "American Idol" finalist Tamyra Gray and young actor Alaman Diadhiou, begins performances June 14 at the Pasadena Playhouse.

Cleavant Derricks
Cleavant Derricks

Golden Globe winner Debbie Allen directs and choreographs the musical, which has a book by William F. Brown (who authored the Tony-nominated book of The Wiz) and Tina Tippit and a score by Grammy Award-winning songwriter Tena Clark and Gary Prim. Twist will officially open June 26 for a run through July 17 at the Pasadena Playhouse.

Allen last staged Twist at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta in September 2010. The musical was seen in previous incarnations at the Walnut Street Theatre in 1993 and New Jersey's George Street Playhouse in 1996. Twist was revised prior to its Atlanta debut.

Derricks (Dreamgirls) plays Crazah Chesterfield, with Gray (Rent, Bombay Dreams) as Della. Diadhiou, who originated the title role in the Alliance Theatre production of Twist in Atlanta, reprises his performance for the Pasadena run. Coco Monroe will appear in the role during select performances.

The cast also features Paul Aguirre (Potlatch), Cliff Bemis (Mr. Prudhomme), Joshua Bolden as (Pistol), Diane Delano (Ms. Cotton), Chad Doreck as (Lucius Thatcher), Kyle Garvin (Skillet), Ava Gaudet (Angela), Jared Grimes (Roosevelt), Matthew Johnson (Boston), Chase Maxwell (Yancy) and Carla Renata (Naomi/Mrs. Beaudreux).

The ensemble includes Chantel Heath, Holly Hyman, Olivia-Diane Joseph, Vivian Nixon, Malaiyka Reid, Terrance Spencer, Dougie Styles and Armando Yearwood.

Tamyra Grey

The children's ensemble features Nickolas Eibler, John Fisher, Joshua Horton, Wayne Mackins, Micah Patterson, Julianna Rigoglioso, Issac Spector and Dempsey Tonks.

Twist has scenic design by Todd Rosenthal, costume design by Emilio Sosa, lighting design by Howell Binkley, sound design by Peter Fitzgerald, orchestrations by Harold Wheeler, with musical direction and vocal arrangements by Jim Vukovich.

"I can hardly sleep at night thinking about rehearsals and the work that we will do to realize the vision of this new telling of the Dickens classic 'Oliver Twist,' now set in New Orleans," Allen said in a previous statement. "Born and raised in Texas and Louisiana, I know the sounds and smells and tastes of the people. The rich cultural fusion from the swamp to the French Quarter provides a dynamic tapestry upon which we will weave a story that takes place in 1918-1929, but is still so relevant today. Twist is the story of a boy lost in a river of racial hatred, greed and deceit, who is found on a road to hope, love and family, with a lot of great singing and dancing along the way."

Allen directed the Broadway and London revivals of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. A Tony nominee for her performances in the revivals of Sweet Charity and West Side Story, Allen won a Golden Globe and two Emmys for her role on "Fame."

For tickets phone (626) 356-7529 or visit PasadenaPlayhouse.

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