I Put a Spell on You: The Sanderson Variant, the annual Hocus Pocus-themed Halloween extravaganza created by and starring Jay Armstrong Johnson, premiered October 28. Watch the video above for an inside look at how the concert was put together amid new challenges; the video features conversations with Ahmad Simmons, Times Square Alliance Vice President of Communications TJ Witham, and Open Jar Studios CEO Rich Bittner.
Johnson (On the Town, The Phantom of the Opera) dons the red wig of head witch Winifred (played on screen by Bette Midler), with Allison Robinson and Amanda Williams Ware joining him as sisters Sarah and Mary, respectively (Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy in the film).
This year, the beloved sisters attempt to spread their variant while recruiting some of pop culture’s most iconic villains to fulfill their delightfully devious plot.
Joining the witchy trio are Jonathan Burke (The Inheritance), Nick Rashad Burroughs (Tina: The Tina Turner Musical), Tony winner Gavin Creel (Hello, Dolly!), J. Harrison Ghee (Mrs. Doubtfire), Todrick Hall (Kinky Boots), Tony nominee Robyn Hurder (Moulin Rouge! ), Tony nominee Eva Noblezada (Hadestown), Heath Saunders (The Great Comet), Ahmad Simmons (West Side Story), and Tony nominee Will Swenson (Waitress).
Rounding out the cast are Jasha Benedicto, Jimmy Brewer, Brittany Bohn, Cemiyon, Hayden Clifton, Jai’Quin Coleman, Cara Diaz, Brian Duke, Tyler Eisenreich, Taurean Everett, Zachary Flores, Zuri Noelle Ford, Lilli Froehlich, Taylor Isaac Gray, Allison Griffith, Gabriel Hyman, Brittany Jenkins, Karma Jenkins, Erin Kei, Sarah Kleist, Kourtni Lind-Watson, Danny Marin, Emilio Ramos, Jennifer Reed , Austin Reynolds, Ana Riley-Portal, Kellie Rodriguez, Sydnie Roy, Alanna Saunders, Claire Saunders, Cassy Surianello, Michael Sylvester, and Kris Ward.
The digital film is directed by Johnson, Eamon Foley, Simmons, and Catriona Rubenis-Stevens with choreography by Simmons, Johnson, Foley, and Kellen Stancil. Music direction is by Emily Marshall with music supervision and production by Will Van Dyke.
The stream also includes costume design and art direction by DW with additional costumes by Brian Hemesath, wigs and hair by Bobbie Cliffton Zlotnik and Daniel Koye, lighting design by Rocky Noel, makeup led by Alcone Company’s Kyle Krueger with Ruthie Weems and Christina Vida. Katie Rosin serves as line producer, and production coordination is by Emily Ballou. Set decoration is by Michael Lee Scott and Ty Hunter Taylor with props by Alec Addalia. Roberto Araujo, Ling Mai, Juan Roque, and David Spadora serve as directors of photography. Animation is by Nathan Love Productions. Dancer casting is by Jason Styres.
I Put a Spell on You: The Sanderson Variant is produced by Kampfire Films' Katie Rosin, Con Limón Productions' Danny Marin, DW, and Johnson. Sponsors include Times Square Alliance, Feinstein's/54 Below, The Mansion Inn, Open Jar Studios, La Palapa, Promobile, Groove with Me, and Our Wicked Lady.