Verdict: Are the Critics Taking a Chance on Encores! Cabin in the Sky?

The Verdict   Verdict: Are the Critics Taking a Chance on Encores! Cabin in the Sky?
Tony Award winners Chuck Cooper and LaChanze as well as Tony nominee Norm Lewis star in the City Center Encores! staging of the 1940 Vernon Duke-John Latouche musical Cabin in the Sky, which opened Feb. 11.
Norm Lewis
Norm Lewis

The cast also includes J. Bernard Calloway, Marva Hicks, Carly Hughes, Forrest McClendon and J.D. Webster. Tony Award winner Ruben Santiago‐Hudson directs with choreography by Camille A. Brown.

The critics are filing their reviews, and will continue to update them for our readers.


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According to Encores!, "Cabin in the Sky followed Porgy and Bess in celebrating African‐American music and dance traditions. The musical tells the story of 'Little Joe' Jackson, a charming ne'er‐do‐well who dies in a saloon brawl and is given six months on earth to prove his worth to the Lord's General (Norm Lewis) and his long‐suffering wife Petunia (LaChanze), while resisting the temptations of the Devil's Head Man (Chuck Cooper)."

The original 1940 production starred Ethel Waters, Todd Duncan, Dooley Wilson, Katherine Dunham, Georgia Burke and Dick Campbell. The original orchestrations no longer exist and have been recreated by Tony Award winner Jonathan Tunick. The score includes the standard "Taking a Chance on Love."

Encores! single tickets and subscription packages can be purchased by calling (212) 581-1212 or by visiting

Tony winner Chuck Cooper
Tony winner Chuck Cooper Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

The Encores! season will continue with a multi‐ethnic production of Sherman Edwards’ Tony Award‐winning classic 1776 (March 30-Apr 3), directed by Garry Hynes, with guest music direction by Ben Whiteley and choreography by Chris Bailey. The show has a book by Peter Stone.

The final production of the Encores! season, Richard Rodgers and Stephen Sondheim’s 1965 musical Do I Hear a Waltz? (May 11-15), will be directed by Evan Cabnet, with musical direction by Encores! music director Rob Berman and choreography by Chase Brock.

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