Like Jazz will open at the California venue Dec. 4 for a run through Jan. 25, 2004. Songstress Austin and actress White star in the new musical. Holliday (Dreamgirls) will fill in for Austin for five performances, Dec. 28-31.
Austin, who has a prior engagement in Indonesia, will return to the show for the remainder of the run through Jan. 25, 2004.
Devised from a "Portraits in Jazz" concert at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts created by Coleman and Marilyn and Alan Bergman, the work featuring 16 original songs will be a celebration of the art form and its artists. Taper artistic director Gordon Davidson will direct, with choreography by Patricia Birch.
The new musical, subtitled A New Kind of Musical, features the music of Cy Coleman (Little Me, Sweet Charity, Barnum, City of Angels), lyrics from the husband and wife team of Alan and Marilyn Bergman (Street Corner Symphony, Ballroom) and book by Larry Gelbart (...Forum, City of Angels).
Also in the cast are Harry Groener (Imaginary Friends, Crazy For You), singers Jennifer Chada, Cleavant Derricks and Jack Sheldon with dancers Katy Durham, Dameka Hayes, Greg Poland, Timothy Ware, Carlton Wilborn and Natalie Willes. White won a Tony Award for her turn in Cy Coleman's last Broadway offering, The Life. Her other Broadway credits include Dreamgirls, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Once on This Island, Carrie, Cats and Barnum.
Recording artist Austin has released more than sixteen solo albums and is known for her such R&B duets as "Baby, Come to Me" and "How Do You Keep the Music Playing?" — both sung with James Ingram. Her latest album "For Ella," a tribute to legendary songstress Ella Fitzgerald, was nominated for the 2003 Best Jazz Vocal Album Grammy.
The design team for Like Jazz will include D Martyn Bookwalter (set and lighting), Judith Dolan (costumes), Jon Gottlieb and Phillip G. Allen (sound) and Marc I. Rosenthal (projections). Tom Kubis will serve as music director.
Tickets for to productions at the Taper, 135 North Grand Ave. in Los Angeles, CA are currently available by calling (213) 628-2772 or visit www.taperahmanson.com.