Conceived by Jack Viertel, with selected texts by Langston Hughes, the production is directed by Warren Carlyle and features the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis, who also serves as music director.
The cast includes Alexandria "Brinae Ali" Bradley, Everett Bradley, Andrew "Dr.Ew" Carter, Carla Cook, Nicolette DePass, Brandon Victor Dixon, DeWitt Fleming Jr., Carmen Ruby Floyd, Jared Grimes, Jeremiah "Showtyme" Haynes, Rosena Hill, Rachael Hollingsworth, Kendrick Jones, Monroe Kent, Tony winner Adriane Lenox and T. Oliver Reid, with Shani "Virgo" Alston, Jason E. Bernard, Tanya Birl, Braxton Brooks, Christopher Broughton, Chanon Judson, Karine Plantadit, Monique Smith, Daniel J. Watts, Joseph Monroe Webb, Christian Dante White and J.L. Williams.
It is the inaugural production of a new producing partnership between City Center and Jazz at Lincoln Center.
With Ellington's music as the centerpiece, Cotton Club Parade, according to City Center, "reimagines one of the composer's Cotton Club floor shows. ... As in the original revues, Cotton Club Parade will feature singers, dancers and variety acts, and songs by the greatest jazz composers of the time, including Jimmy McHugh and Dorothy Fields ('I Can’t Give You Anything But Love' and 'Digga Digga Doo'), a young Harold Arlen ('Stormy Weather,' 'I’ve Got the World on a String,' 'Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea,'), and of course, Duke Ellington ('Rockin' in Rhythm,' 'Cotton Club Stomp,' 'Black and Tan Fantasy,' and 'Creole Love Call')."