Kenneth Waissman, whose producing credits include the original Broadway production of Grease as well as the award-winning plays Agnes of God and Torch Song Trilogy, hopes to bring the new musical Josephine to Broadway.
Florida's Asolo Rep, in collaboration with Tony winner Waissman, is currently presenting the world premiere of the new musical at the Mertz Theatre, located in the FSU Center for the Performing Arts. Performances continue through May 29. The cast is headed by Grammy nominee Deborah Cox (Broadway's Aida, Jekyll & Hyde) as the legendary African-American performer Josephine Baker.
Waissman told Variety that he has already raised 40 percent of the capitalization for Broadway. Initially capitalized at $13.5 million, the producer thinks he can now bring in the production for less. No timetable has been announced.
Here is a gallery of Cox in costume:
Broadway-Bound Josephine Opens Tonight
Directed and choreographed by two-time Tony Award nominee Joey McKneely, Josephine features a book by Ellen Weston and Mark Hampton; music by five-time Emmy Award nominee and three-time Grammy Award nominee Stephen Dorff; and lyrics by Academy Award, Grammy and Golden Globe nominee and two-time Emmy Award winner John Bettis.
Inspired by Stephen Papich's book Remembering Josephine, the musical, according to press notes, "revolves around Baker's stint as the star of the Folies Bergère in Paris between 1939-45, her scandalous affair with Swedish Crown Prince Gustav VI, and her heroic service in the French Resistance during World War II."
The cast also includes Kevin Earley as Jo Bouillon, Josephine Baker's band conductor and love interest; and Mark Campbell as Baker's forbidden lover, Prince Gustav VI of Sweden.
The new musical has orchestrations, arrangements and musical supervision by Steve Orich; scenic design by Paul Tate dePoo III; costume design by Eduardo Sicangco; lighting design by Brian Nason; sound design by Justin Stasiw; and projection design by Alex Basco Koch.
Tickets, starting at $24, are on sale by calling (941) 351-8000 or (800) 361-8388; visiting asolorep.org; or at the Asolo Repertory Theatre Box Office in the theatre lobby.