Hartford Stage artistic director Darko Tresnjak will helm the production that runs though Feb. 9, 2013. Beaty is also the award-winning writer and performer of Mr. Joy, Emergency! and Through the Night.
According to Hartford Stage, "Before Marian Anderson and Paul Robeson, there was Roland Hayes - the first world-renowned African-American classical vocalist. Born the son of a slave, Roland discovered his voice as a young boy singing spirituals in church. A world premiere, Breath & Imagination, chronicles his amazing journey from a plantation in Georgia, to singing before kings and queens in Europe. At the heart of the story is Roland's loving, yet complex relationship with his mother - his Angel Mo'. Breath & Imagination explores the life of an American pioneer through traditional spirituals and classical music, as well as original songs by Daniel Beaty."
Classically trained baritone Sykes will portray Roland Hayes, with Lewis-Evans (Leap of Faith, Chicago, Once on This Island) as Angel Mo' and Tom Frey (2 Pianos/4 Hands) in a variety of roles.
Breath & Imagination will have set design by David P. Gordon, costume design by Fabio Toblini, lighting design by York Kennedy, music direction by Mike Ruckles and sound design by Jane Shaw.