The production, part of the company's 35th anniversary season, will officially open March 3.
The cast includes Tony Award nominee Anthony Chisholm (Radio Golf, Jitney), Dariush Kashani (Homebody/Kabul at BAM, Mark Taper Forum and New York Theatre Workshop), Tony Plana (The Boys of Winter, Zoot Suit, "Ugly Betty"), Armando Riesco (Water by the Spoonful), Annapurna Sriram (Pericles at Berkeley Rep) and Lauren Vélez ("Dexter"). Velez replaced the previously announced Elizabeth Rodriguez (Motherf***er with the Hat) in the role of Yaz.
Here's how the play is billed: "Cousins Elliot and Yaz, having long searched for their place in the community, discover the joy in coming home again and the comfort of family, both by blood and by love. While Elliot gets a lucky break in the film business, Yaz takes on the role of familial and neighborhood matriarch, nourishing those that pass through her door. Beating to the sounds of traditional Puerto Rican folk music, The Happiest Song Plays Last invites you to spend a year with Elliot and Yaz on their journey to peace and purpose in an ever-changing world."
The Happiest Song Plays Last is the third in Hudes' trilogy of plays that began with Elliot, A Soldier's Fugue, a play about a young Marine coming to terms with his time in Iraq and his father and grandfather's service in Vietnam and Korea. The second play in the trilogy, Water by the Spoonful, received its New York premiere at Second Stage in 2013 and received the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
Performances continue through March 23. Grammy Award-nominated musician Nelson González oversees the production's musical elements and leads a live band during performances. Other members of the creative team include scenic designer Mike Carnahan, costume designer Karen Perry, lighting designer Rui Rita and sound designer Leon Rothenberg.
Hudes also wrote the book to the Broadway musical In the Heights, which received the Tony Award for Best Musical, a Tony nomination for Best Book of a Musical and was named a Pulitzer finalist.