Jeff Calhoun, who directed the Broadway production of the pop musical and who will also helm the tour, told Playbill.com that DeGarmo will play the title character and Moore will star as her nemesis, Paradice. Cleavant Derricks, who appeared in the New York company, will re-create his role as the Street Singer.
Brooklyn will mark the first national tour for 18-year-old DeGarmo, who shot to fame during the 2004 season of “American Idol.” “Diana came in and auditioned for us, and she blew us away,” Calhoun said. “Brooklyn is an 18-year-old pop star, and that’s what [Diana] is. You’re not going to do better than that!
“It’s very exciting,” Calhoun continued. “We have an ‘American Idol’ star and two Tony Award winners. And, Diana is a huge fan of Melba Moore. Melba was one of her idols.”
Calhoun will also co-produce the tour with Producers Four and John McDaniel. The latter will serve as musical supervisor, as he did for the Broadway production.
Calhoun previously said that the tour will launch at the Bushnell Center in Hartford, CT, in June. Additonal venues and dates will be announced shortly. The show itself will not be changed for the tour. "It doesn't have to be refined," Calhoun said, "because it's already 90 minutes without an intermission and I think very touring-friendly."
Brooklyn, according to production notes, concerns a band of performers, who "tell a wondrous sidewalk fairy tale about a young girl searching for fame and the father she never knew. With just one clue to lead her, she lands in the city that bears her name, Brooklyn." Song titles include "Heart Behind These Hands," "Christmas Makes Me Cry," "Not a Sound," "Brooklyn Grew Up," "Creating Once Upon a Time," "Once Upon a Time," "Superlover," "Brooklyn in the Blood," "Magic Man," "Love Was a Song," "I Never Knew His Name," "The Truth," "Raven," "Sometimes," "Love Me Where I Live," "Love Fell Like Rain" and "Streetsinger."
The Broadway production, which starred Eden Espinosa in the title role, played its final performance at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre June 26, 2005. Brooklyn, which features a book, music and lyrics by Mark Schoenfeld and Barri McPherson, began previews at the then-Plymouth Theatre Sept. 23, 2004, with an official opening Oct. 21. The musical played 28 previews and 283 regular performances.
Melba Moore was last on Broadway in Les Misérables portraying the ill fated Fantine. A singer with a multi-octave range, Moore began her career as a back-up singer for the likes of Aretha Franklin, Dionne Warwick and Liza Minnelli. Her work in the original company of Hair led to her Tony winning role in Purlie, and since then Moore has performed in concert arenas throughout the world. Her R&B hits include “I Am His Lady,” “Falling” and “Read My Lips,” which was nominated for a Grammy Award. Moore was also recently seen in the Paramount film “The Fighting Temptations.”
Cleavant Derricks won a Tony Award for his work as James Thunder Early in the original cast of Dreamgirls. He also received a Tony nomination for his performance in Bob Fosse’s Big Deal.