LaChanze, the actress whose vocal fireworks ignited Once On This Island, stars in the title role of The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin, the most talked about musical you've never heard, May 26-July 9.
Playwrights Horizons in Manhattan is giving composer-lyricist-librettist Kirsten Childs' musical its world premiere, after earning the prestigious Jonathan Larson Foundation Award, the Edward Kleban Award for lyrics and The Richard Rodgers Production and Development awards.
Wilfredo Medina directs and A.C. Ciulla choreographs the musical memoir that follows the journey of Viceca "Bubbly" Stanton, who struggles with conflicting messages about gender, race and relationships between the 1960s and the 1990s.
Previews begin May 26, official opening is June 20. Performances continue to July 9.
The cast includes Jerry Dixon (Once On This Island), Darius de Haas (Rent, Marie Christine), Jonathan Dokuchitz (The Who's Tommy), Felicia Finley (The Life, Manhattan Theatre Club's The Wild Party), Cheryl Alexander (Dreamgirls, Once On This Island), Duane Boutte (Carousel), Josh Tower (Ragtime), Robert Jason Jackson (Off-Broadway's Running Man), Natalie Venetia Belcon (And the World Goes 'Round), Angel Desai (Stop Kiss), Debra M. Walton (Paper Mill Playhouse's Dreamgirls) and Myiia Watson-Davis (in her New York debut). Designers are David Gallo (set), David C. Woolard (costumes), Michael Lincoln (lighting) and Jon Weston (The Green Bird). Orchestrations are by Joe Baker. Musical director is Fred Carl.
The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin was partially developed during the 1998 National Music Theater Conference at the O'Neill Theater Center and is the winner of a 1999 Richard Rodgers Development Award and a 2000 Richard Rodgers Production Award, administered by the American Academy of Arts and Letters. The Playwrights staging is the recipient of a 1999 Rockefeller Foundation Multi-Arts Production Fund Grant.
Kirsten Childs is an alumna of New York University's Musical Theater Playwriting Program. As a performer, Childs co-starred with Chita Rivera in Chicago and performed on Broadway in Dancin’, Jerry’s Girls and Sweet Charity.
Choreographer A.C. Ciulla received Tony Award and Outer Critics Circle nominations for his work on the musical Footloose. His work has been seen in concerts, commercials and music videos.
Director Wilfredo Medina directed The Bubbly Black Girl since its first incarnation. He was co-artistic director of The Family Life Theatre and received an Emmy Award and nominations for his direction of television specials for ABC and PBS.
Tickets are $47.50. Playwrights Horizons is at 416 W. 42nd St. For ticket information, call (212) 279-4200 or try the Playwrights Horizons web site at www.playwrightshorizons.org.
-- By Kenneth Jones