Performances begin May 12 at Atlantic Theater Company for the world premiere of The Secret Life of Bees, the musical adaptation of Sue Monk Kidd’s bestselling novel. Set against the backdrop of 1960s South Carolina, the story follows the journey of Rosaleen, a Black caregiver who is beaten and jailed for asserting her right to vote, and the young Lily, a restless teenager haunted by her mother's death.
The Secret Life of Bees features a book by Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage, music by Duncan Sheik, and lyrics by Susan Birkenhead. Sam Gold directs the Off-Broadway production, which will officially open June 13.
The cast is led by Tony nominee Saycon Sengbloh (Eclipsed, Hair) as Rosaleen and Elizabeth Teeter (The Audience, The Crucible) as Lily.
The principal cast also includes Tony winner LaChanze (The Color Purple), Eisa Davis (Kings), and Anastacia McCleskey (Waitress)—as the Boatwight beekeeping sisters—along with Tony nominee Manoel Felciano (Sweeney Todd) as T-Ray and Brett Gray (On My Block) as Zach.
Rounding out the cast are Jai’Len Christine Li Josey, Romelda Teron Benjamin, Joe Cassidy, Vita E. Cleveland, Matt DeAngelis, and Nathaniel Stampley.
The Secret Life of Bees features choreography by Chris Walker, scenic design by Mimi Lien, costume design by Dede Ayite, lighting design by Jane Cox, sound design by Dan Moses Schreier, puppets by AchesonWalsh Studios, musical direction by Jason Hart, music contraction by Antoine Silverman, orchestrations by Sheik and John Clancy, incidental music orchestrations by Sheik, hair and makeup design by Cookie Jordan, fight direction by UnkleDave’s Fight House, dialects by Dawn-Elin Fraser, and casting by Telsey + Company, Patrick Goodwin, CSA.
A workshop production of The Secret Life of Bees was presented by New York Stage and Film & Vassar in 2017.