LaChanze and Rachel York Begin Previews in Dessa Rose at Mitzi Newhouse, Feb. 17

News   LaChanze and Rachel York Begin Previews in Dessa Rose at Mitzi Newhouse, Feb. 17
La Chanze plays the title role, a runaway slave, and Rachel York is a woman who helps her in Dessa Rose, the new musical by lyricist-librettist Lynn Ahrens and composer Stephen Flaherty, beginning previews at Lincoln Center Theater on Feb. 17
LaChanze (left) and Rachel York
LaChanze (left) and Rachel York

The show, based on the novel by Sherley Anne Williams, and directed and choreographed by Graciela Daniele, will officially open at the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theatre on March 21.

Also in the cast are Rebecca Eichenberger, Tina Fabrique, Michael Hayden, David Hess, Kecia Lewis, Norm Lewis, William Parry, Soara-Joye Ross, James Stovall and Eric Jordan Young.

The musical has sets by Loy Arcenas, costumes by Toni Leslie-James, lighting by Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhauer, sound by Scott Lehrer, musical direction by David Holcenberg and orchestrations by William David Brohn and Christopher Jahnke.

La Chanze plays runaway slave Dessa Rose and York is Ruth, the abandoned wife of a white farmer, who forms a bond with Dessa.

"It's a piece based on a novel called 'Dessa Rose,'" composer Flaherty previously told, “and it's set over the course of the 1800s and it's based on two historical women: A runaway slave and a woman who helps her to freedom, and in doing so becomes 'free' herself. The characters get to play themselves at different points in their lives, so La Chanze gets to be an 85-year-old woman and a 15-year-old girl." In the past, Lincoln Center Theatre has produced such Ahrens and Flaherty works as My Favorite Year and A Man of No Importance.

Ahrens and Flaherty worked with Daniele on Once on This Island and Ragtime.

Dessa Rose is one of two original musicals to play LCT this season. The other is Adam Guettel and Craig Lucas' The Light in the Piazza.

Performances play Tuesday-Saturday evenings at 8 PM and Sunday evenings at 7 PM, with matinees Wednesday and Sunday at 2 PM. Tickets are priced at $70-$75 and are available at the Lincoln Center Theater box office, via at (212) 239-6200 or by visiting

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