Off-Broadway’s Atlantic Theater Company has announced casting and dates for the world-premiere production of Marie and Rosetta by acclaimed Grounded playwright George Brant. The new play with music tells the story of famed gospel singer Sister Rosetta Tharpe, an influence to the likes of Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Ray Charles and Jimi Hendrix.
Helmed by artistic director Neil Pepe, performances are now set for August 24-October 2 at the Linda Gross Theater. Opening night is September 12. Kecia Lewis (original Asaka in Broadway’s Once on This Island) will play Tharpe. Rebecca Naomi Jones (American Idiot) will play Marie Knight.
“Sister Rosetta Tharpe was a legend in her time, bringing fierce guitar-playing and swing to gospel music," state Atlantic production notes. "Tharpe was the queen of ‘race records’ in the 30’s and 40’s, a woman who played guitar as passionately as Clapton, who performed mornings at churches and evenings at the Cotton Club, who was a big enough star to fill a baseball stadium for her third wedding, but ended up buried in an unmarked grave in Philadelphia. Marie and Rosetta chronicles her first rehearsal with a young protégé, Marie Knight, as they prepare to embark on a tour that would establish them as one of the great duet teams in musical history."
The two-hander features scenic design by Riccardo Hernández, lighting design by Christopher Akerlind, costume design by Dede M. Ayite and sound design by SKC Sound Design. Music director Jason Michael Webb will supply the arrangements and orchestrations.
For more information and to purchase tickets, visit AtlanticTheater.org.
(Updated August 10, 2016)