Unchain My Heart, the Ray Charles Musical to Open on Broadway in November

News   Unchain My Heart, the Ray Charles Musical to Open on Broadway in November
Sheldon Epps, artistic director of the Pasadena Playhouse, will direct Unchain My Heart, the Ray Charles Musical, on Broadway. It will begin previews Oct. 8 at a Shubert theatre to be announced with an official opening scheduled for Nov. 7.
Ray Charles
Ray Charles

The new musical will feature a score by Grammy winner Ray Charles and a book by Pulitzer Prize winner Suzan-Lori Parks. Casting has yet to be announced.

Stuart Benjamin, who worked with Charles for 15 years and produced the Oscar-nominated film "Ray," will produce.

The creative team will also include choreographer Kenneth L. Roberson, associate choreographer Edgar Godineaux, music supervisor and arranger Rahn Coleman, orchestrator Harold Wheeler, set designer Riccardo Hernandez, costume designer Paul Tazewell, lighting designer Donald Holder, sound designer Carl Casella and hair and wig designer Charles LaPointe.

Unchain My Heart, the Ray Charles Musical, according to the March 11 announcement, "explores the strength, humor and musical genius of the legendary Ray Charles. One of the greatest pioneering musical artists of all time, Ray Charles mastered everything from soul and rhythm & blues to gospel, jazz, country and pop. Set in his last live recording session, Unchain My Heart reveals Charles' remarkable life story through his music. Pulitzer Prize winner Suzan-Lori Parks (Topdog/Underdog) weaves together true tales that reveal the spirit of the man whose life and music helped to define soul, and inspired people the world over."

The production will feature such Ray Charles hits as "Georgia on My Mind," "What'd I Say," "Mess Around," "Hit the Road, Jack," "Unchain My Heart," "I Got a Woman" and "Hallelujah, I Love Her So." A developmental production was produced at the Pasadena Playhouse in 2007 under the title of Ray Charles Live!

Parks is a playwright, screenwriter, novelist, essayist, actor and songwriter, who is currently celebrating her eighth show, The Book of Grace, at the Public Theater. The others include Venus (OBIE Award), In The Blood (Pulitzer Prize finalist), Fucking A, The America Play, Father Comes Home From The Wars, Part 1: The Union of My Confederate Parts, Topdog/Underdog (Pulitzer Prize) and 365 Days/365 Plays.

Sheldon Epps conceived the musicals Play On! and Blues in the Night, which both received Tony Award nominations. He directed productions of both of those shows on Broadway, in London and at theatres throughout the world.

Tickets will be available in summer 2010 by visiting Telecharge.com or by calling (212) 239-6200.

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