Grammy Award nominee Ledisi, who recently dipped her toe in musical theatre waters with an appearance at Wicked’s 15th anniversary special and readings of Tituss Burgess' The Preacher's Wife musical, will take the stage in the West Coast premiere of Witness Uganda.
The musical, penned by couple Matt Gould (Lempicka) and Griffin Matthews (season three of Netflix’s Dear White People), will begin performances February 5 at Los Angeles’ Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, where performances will run through February 24.
Ledisi (Let Love Rule) will play the Rain Lady, with Amber Iman (Hamilton) as Joy, Jamar Williams (Wild Goose Dreams) as Griffin, Jai’Len Josey (SpongeBob SquarePants) as the Female Vocalist, Emma Hunton (Wicked) as Ryan, Kameron Richardson (Aladdin) as Jacob, Naarai Jacobs as Grace, Sha’leah Nikole as Eden, Dexter Darden (Joyful Noise) as Ibrahim, and Jordan Barrow (The Tempest) as Ronny, with Antwone Barnes, Keenan D. Washington, and Thurzday in the ensemble.
The show, inspired by Matthews’ service trips to Uganda and his unlikely companionship and mentorship with a group of orphaned teenagers, previously played Off-Broadway’s Second Stage Theater (under the name Invisible Thread) and the American Repertory Theater. The show has subsequently incorporated new numbers and material. The character of Ryan (played at the A.R.T. and the Wallis by Hunton), for instance, was changed from a friend traveling with Griffin to a boyfriend for the Off-Broadway bow.
Matthews himself will direct the production (Diane Paulus helmed the previous incarnations), with Gould serving as music director. The production will also feature choreography by Abdur-Rahim Jackson, music supervision by Remy Kurs, sets by Connor MacPhee, lighting by David Hernandez, costumes by Carlton Jones, and sound design by Martin Carrillo.