Horne's Life Is Stormy Weather, Starring Uggams, Hoty and Gaines in Philly

News   Horne's Life Is Stormy Weather, Starring Uggams, Hoty and Gaines in Philly
Stormy Weather: Imagining Lena Horne, the new musical about actress-singer Lena Horne, starring Tony Award winner Leslie Uggams as an older Lena, opened Feb. 17 at the Prince Music Theater in Philadelphia, following previews from Feb. 10.

Performances continue to March 4.

"This innovative new musical digs deep into the life of the controversial and cataclysmic entertainer, stripping away the artifice of her fame and fortune, to grant a behind-the-scenes look into Horne's turbulent and transcendent career," according to Prince notes.

Uggams won a Tony as Best Actress in a Musical for Hallelujah, Baby! and recently starred on Broadway in Thoroughly Modern Millie.

The company of writer-conceiver Sharleen Cooper Cohen's musical, directed by Michael Bush, also includes Dee Hoty (The Will Rogers Follies, Mamma Mia!) as Kay Thompson, Davis Gaines (The Phantom of the Opera as Lennie Hayton, Kearann Giovanni (Tarzan) as Young Lena, Kevyn Morrow (London's Ragtime) as Billy Strayhorn, Carey Brown (NYCO's Candide) as Gail/Amanda, Destan Owens (Rent) as Teddy Jones, Jr., Julia Lema as Edna/Ruby, Dathan B. Williams as Teddy Horne, Sr., Jared Grimes as Aiken Bones/Medgar Evers, Daniel J. Watts as Jivin' Jones/Louis Jones, Julyza A. Commodore as Young Gail/Amy, Michael Scott as Arthur Freed/Ensemble. Julian Brightman and Katie O'Shaughnessey make up the rest of the ensemble.

The score for the show includes "The Lady Is a Tramp," "From This Moment On" and "Stormy Weather." According to Prince notes, "In 1940s Hollywood, it was illegal for a black woman to marry a white man. But that didn't stop Lena Horne from walking down the aisle with Lennie Hayton, a white, Jewish composer. They married in December 1947 in Paris, subsequently returned to the United States and kept the marriage secret for two and a half years. Horne, the first black pin-up girl and movie star, defied the societal conventions of her time, thus helping to break down racial prejudices in American popular culture — ultimately blazing a trail for African-American performers who came after her."

The creative team also includes Bruce Barnes as musical director, Randy Skinner (42nd Street) as choreographer, Daryl Waters (The Color Purple) as orchestrator and vocal arranger, Jim Noone as scenic designer, Linda Cho as costume designer, Traci Klainer (The Boy From Oz) as lighting designer and Nick Kourtides as sound designer.

Stormy Weather is being mounted as part of the Philadelphia New Play Festival: Where Theatre Begins, a program of the Theatre Alliance of Greater Philadelphia.

For information call (215) 569-9700 or visit www.princemusictheater.org.

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