Des McAnuff Directed Donna Summer Project Workshop Starring Ariana DeBose

News   Des McAnuff Directed Donna Summer Project Workshop Starring Ariana DeBose Sergio Trujillo choreographed.
Ariana DeBose
Ariana DeBose Jordan Matter

Tommy Mottola and The Dodgers produced a workshop of a new musical last week that is currently titled The Donna Summer Project, according to The New York Post.

Tony winner Des McAnuff directed the workshop, which featured choreography by Sergio Trujillo and musical direction by Ron Melrose.

Casting, according to an earlier Equity casting notice, was by Tara Rubin Casting.

The role of the disco diva was played by three different actresses; Hamilton's Ariana DeBose, who will return to Broadway later this fall in the musical version of A Bronx Tale, portrayed Summer at the high point of her career. Katrina Lenk (Once, Spider-Man) was cast as Helmuth Sommer, the singer's husband and former manager. In fact, several of the male roles were played by women.

Donna Summer, whose songs “Hot Stuff,” “On the Radio,” “Bad Girls” and “MacArthur Park” defined the disco era, died May 17, 2012, at the age of 63. Born LaDonna Adrian Gaines on December 31, 1948, the Boston native garnered the title "Queen of Disco" with a string of compellingly provocative hits in the 1970's and early 1980's.

Though she never appeared on Broadway, Ms. Summer's early career took her to Germany, where she appeared in productions of Hair, Godspell, Porgy and Bess and Show Boat. She also covered the Evita standout "Don't Cry for Me Argentina" in numerous concert and television appearances, and dueted with Barbra Streisand on the hit "Enough Is Enough."

The singer also appeared in the 1978 film Thank God It's Friday, which featured her rendition of the Paul Jabara song "Last Dance." It took the Academy and Golden Globe Awards for Best Song.

Summer had also worked to bring her biographical musical Ordinary Girl to Broadway. She showcased a handful of original songs from the production during a VH1 television special Live and More... Encore! The musical was also to include such hits as “Last Dance,” “She Works Hard for the Money” and “Hot Stuff.”

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