By Adam Hetrick
18 May 2010
|Photo by Carol Rosegg|
The musical, helmed by Tony Award-winning director and choreographer Susan Stroman, originated Off-Broadway at the Vineyard Theatre earlier this year and will be fine-tuned during an eight-week summer run beginning July 31 at the Guthrie Theatre prior to its Broadway bow. Barry and Fran Weissler produce the venture.
Casting for the Guthrie and subsequent Broadway productions has not been announced, but it is expected that the cast and creative team from the world-premiere Vineyard bow will re-create their work. The Broadway production will move forward without original cast member Brandon Victor Dixon, who is attached to star in the musical based on the life of Ray Charles, Unchain My Heart, which will also arrive on Broadway this fall.
Tony Award winner Kander penned the score for the musical that features lyrics by his late collaborator Ebb. Tony nominee David Thompson (Steel Pier) wrote the book. Kander wrote additional lyrics.
The collaborators use the theatrical form of a minstrel show to tell the tale. The show takes a flashpoint in American Civil Rights history and makes it sing, dance and sting.
The musical covers the period 1931-37 and is billed in the program as "a fictional play based on real events."