Highlights from the new musical Dorothy Dandridge will be presented at Carnegie Hall's Zankel Hall July 17 and 18. The Songs of Dorothy Dandridge! The Musical will feature selections from the musical, with a book and lyrics by Trey Ellis and music and lyrics by Shelton L. Becton. The concert will be directed by Tamara Tunie.
Dandridge, who was the first African American woman to be nominated for Best Actress at the Academy Awards, was an actor, dancer, and vocalist who died at the age of 42. The musical, which explores her life through a mixture of American Songbook classics and a contemporary score, stars N'Kenge as Dandridge.
N’Kenge, who is also the musical’s conceiver and lead producer, says, “My inspiration for bringing this iconic story to Carnegie Hall is that Dorothy Dandridge was a trailblazer, and it is really important to me to shine a spotlight on her activism, her talent and her endurance as an actress and mother–which are empowering!”
N’Kenge, who recently appeared in the Tony-nominated revival of Caroline, or Change, will appear alongside Tony nominee John Cariani (Fiddler on the Roof, Something Rotten!) as Earl Mills, Aisha de Haas (Bring in Da Noise, Bring in Da Funk; Rent) as Ruby Dandridge, and Phillip Attmore (Shuffle Along; Hello, Dolly!) as Harold Nichols.
The cast will also include Jeremy Webb as Otto Preminger, MAC Award winner Dawn Derow as Marilyn Monroe, Dominic Nolfi as Jack Dennison, Trisha Jeffrey as Vivian Dandridge, Natalie Renee as Etta Jones, Dewitt Fleming Jr. as Phil Moore, and Grace Field as the Marilyn Monroe standby.
Producers are Richard Bell, N’Kenge, Park Row Equity Partners, Tegan Summer, Sam Williams, Michael Loeb, and Derow Enterprises in association with Coalition for African Americans in the Performing Arts.