Jason Raize, original star of Broadway's The Lion King, will play Joe in the York Theatre Company's "Musicals in Mufti" concert of Oscar Hammerstein's Carmen Jones, Jan. 26-28.
The 1943 musical is a version of Bizet's opera, Carmen, reimagined by Hammerstein for African Americans in the American South, has music of Bizet, with book and lyrics by Hammerstein. The show has not been seen in New York City for several decades, according to the York, the nonprofit Off-Broadway troupe devoted to intimate musicals and staged readings.
The Carmen Jones company includes Timothy Blevins (Husky Miller), Nora Cole (Frankie), Suzanne Douglas (Carmen Jones), Tanesha Marie Gary (Myrt), Kimberly Harris (Ensemble), David Jackson (Rum/Ensemble), Marcus Maurice (Ensemble), Brandi Chavonne Massey (Ensemble), Jonathan Earl Peck (Sergeant Brown/Ensemble), Jason Raize (Joe), Anika Noni Rose (Cindy Lou), Brandon Singleton (Ensemble), Glenn Turner (Dink/Ensemble).
Harold Scott directs and Jack Lee is musical director. James Morgan handles the scenic design and John Michael Deegan is lighting designer.
The original Broadway staging of Carmen Jones ran 502 performances. The setting of the show was a parachute factory in the South, during World War II. Joe, a corporal, falls for working girl Carmen, and their union ends in tragedy when she couples with a boxer named Husky. The songs mirrored the order (if not the setting) of the original opera (itself based on Prosper Merimee's novel "Carmen"). The show subsequently toured for a year and a half and was made into a film with Pearl Bailey, Harry Belafonte, Dorothy Dandridge and Diahann Carroll. Songs include "Dat's Love," "You Talk Just Like My Maw," "Dere's a Café in de Corner," "Beat Out Dat Rhythm on a Drum," "Stan' Up and Fight," "Whizzin' Away Along de Track," "Dis Flower," "My Joe."
Performances are 8 PM Jan. 26, 2:30 PM and 8 PM Jan. 27, and 2:30 PM and 7:30 PM Jan. 28. For tickets call (212) 935 5820.
— By Kenneth Jones