Tony Winner and "SNL" Star Headline Public Theater's Odyssey Musical

News   Tony Winner and "SNL" Star Headline Public Theater's Odyssey Musical
 
The Public Theater has announced casting for its musical adaptation of Homer's The Odyssey, conceived and directed by Lear deBessonet, with music, lyrics and book by Todd Almond (Iowa, Stage Kiss), which will run for four nights only in September. Toplining the cast will be Brandon Victor Dixon as Odysseus, who is currently performing at New York City Center in Wild Party, and In The Heights star Karen Olivo as Penelope.

Olivo's Broadway credits also include West Side Story and Rent, while Dixon originated the role of Berry Gordy in Broadway's Motown the Musical, as well as appeared in The Color Purple, earning a Tony Award nomination.

The cast will also feature Almond, "SNL" regular Taran Killam (recently seen in Little Shop of Horrors) as the Cyclops; and Lucas Caleb Rooney is Antinous. The show will also feature cameo group performances by The Bobby Lewis Ensemble; The D.R.E.A.M. Ring; Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana II; The Marching Cobras; The New York Youth Symphony; and TADA! Youth Theater.

Karen Olivo and cast in <i>West Side Story</i>
Karen Olivo and cast in West Side Story Photo by Joan Marcus

The Odyssey, running Sept. 4-7 at the Delacorte Theater, will reimagine the Greek epic into a "larger than life musical" with Almond and deBessonet's signature blend of joyful dance and musical numbers; as stated in press notes: "Man-eating Cyclops, a sorceress that turns sailors to beasts, and the deadly sweet song of the Sirens explode onto the stage."

Long-time collaborators Almond and deBessonet reunite again after working together on earlier free Public Works productions, The Winter's Tale and The Tempest. Now in its third year, Public Works annually creates shows of participatory theater in partnership with community organizations from all five boroughs of New York City. The concept is inspired by the 1900's movement of civic pageantry, known for blending mass spectacle with community engagement. This year's organizations are the Children’s Aid Society, DreamYard Project, Fortune Society, Brownsville Recreation Center and Domestic Workers United.

"Amid the glory and celebration of Fun Home and Hamilton, Public Works remains at the heart of The Public Theater's mission," said artistic director Oskar Eustis in a press statement. "For the last two summers, Lear deBessonet and Todd Almond have given us euphoric, magical re-workings of Shakespeare's late romances. This year, they are reaching back to the first great Western writer, Homer. Their version of The Odyssey is a thrilling and visionary journey home, for Odysseus and for us." Written sometime in the 8th century BC, Homer's "The Odyssey" is one of the oldest surviving pieces of Western literature. It tells the story of the Greek war hero Ulysses's return home after the Trojan War, which covers ten years of wandering after he becomes lost in the Mediterranean sea.

Free tickets to The Odyssey will be distributed, two per person, at noon on the day of the show at the Delacorte Theater and via the Virtual Ticketing lottery at PublicTheater.

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