Leslie Uggams Will Play Lena Horne in 2009 Pasadena Run of Stormy Weather

News   Leslie Uggams Will Play Lena Horne in 2009 Pasadena Run of Stormy Weather Pasadena Playhouse, Stewart F. Lane, Bonnie Comley and Armica productions will present the West Coast premiere of the Lena Horne biographical musical Stormy Weather, starring Tony and Emmy Award winner Leslie Uggams, in early 2009.

The musical is conceived and written by Sharleen Cooper Cohen and directed by Michael Bush. Its score borrows from the Great American Songbook, featuring such writers as Cole Porter, Harold Arlen, Johnny Mercer, Rodgers & Hart, Billy Strayhorn and more.

Stormy Weather is based on the book, "Lena Horne Entertainer," published by Chelsea House.

Kicking off the not-for-profit's 2009 season, the show's previews will begin Jan. 23, 2009, toward a Jan. 30 opening. Performances will continue to Feb. 29.

Here's how Pasadena Playhouse bills Stormy Weather: "Style. A glorious voice. Grace. Brains and beauty, talent and presence. All these were still not enough to make Lena Horne one of the world's greatest entertainers. Above all, she needed grit and courage and tenacity. She battled racism and blazed a trail for African American artists over a 40-year career with many firsts: first African American movie star, first black woman on a national magazine cover. Blacklisted and suspended by M-G-M, Lena Horne faced professional and personal tragedies that nearly ended her career."

Pasadena Playhouse artistic director Sheldon Epps stated, "We are thrilled to produce the West Coast premiere of Stormy Weather . Lena Horne lived in a tumultuous time for African American artists — in the '30s and '40s these actors typically were only cast in degrading roles — 'step-n-fetch-its,' maids and servants. Lena Horne worked through these tough times to make a name for herself — to become a legend — with a beautiful voice and a beautiful spirit. She is also remembered for her activism, her devotion to social justice and her marriage to a white man at a time when interracial marriage was still illegal. I am proud to produce this look at her life through her amazing music." Additional casting and a design team for Stormy Weather will be announced soon.

Pasadena Playhouse is at 39 South El Molino Avenue in Pasadena, CA. For more information visit www.Pasadenaplayhouse.org.

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This summer, the Broadway-bound musical Vanities will be seen at Pasadena Playhouse.

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