PHOTO CALL: Chuck Cooper, Jeremy Pope and Austin Pendleton star in MTC's Choir Boy

Manhattan Theatre Club's American premiere of Tarell Alvin McCraney's Choir Boy, a play with gospel music, began performances June 18 prior to an official opening July 2.

Trip Cullman directs a cast that includes Nicholas L. Ashe, Kyle Beltran, Tony Award winner Chuck Cooper, Grantham Coleman, Austin Pendleton, Jeremy Pope and Wallace Smith.

Here's how MTC bills the play: "The Charles R. Drew Prep School for Boys is dedicated to the creation of strong, ethical black men. Pharus (Jeremy Pope) wants nothing more than to take his rightful place as leader of the school's legendary gospel choir. Can he find his way inside the hallowed halls of this institution if he sings in his own key?"

Here's a look at the production:

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