Principal casting for the Kennedy Center's semi-staged concert presentation of Carmen Jones — starring Vanessa Williams — has been announced.
Joining Williams in the Nov. 15-17 sold-out mounting of Oscar Hammerstein's 1943 musical are Tom Randle (Joe), Harolyn Blackwell (Cindy Lou), Gregg Baker (Husky Miller), Roberta Laws (Myrtle), Thomas R. Beard, Jr. (Corporal Morrel), Michele Gutrick (Frankie), Larry Marshall (Rum), Larry D. Hylton (Dink) and Alan T. Reed as Sergeant Brown. Baayork Lee will direct, and Placido Domingo will conduct the National Symphony Orchestra for the concert, which features music by Georges Bizet and book and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II. The Howard University Choir and the Boys Choir of Harlem will also take part in the evening.
Produced by Roman Terleckyj, the creative team includes Oscar de le Renta (costume designer), Richard Winkler (lighting designer) Emil de Cou (assistant conductor) and Elsen Associates (make-up and hair design).
Based on Meilhac and Halevy’s adaptation of Prosper Merimee’s Carmen, the musical Carmen Jones opened at the Broadway Theatre on Dec. 2, 1943. Staged by Hassard Short with choreography by Eugene Loring, the musical played 502 performances, closing Feb. 10, 1945. Carmen Jones concerns the story of the passionate but self destructive Carmen, who is smitten with army corporal Joe until she fixes her sights on a prizefighter named Husky Miller.
A star of stage and screen, Vanessa Williams currently portrays the Witch in the Tony-winning revival of Into the Woods. Williams received a Tony nomination for her work in that Stephen Sondheim-James Lapine revival, and her other Broadway credits include Kiss of the Spider Woman and the City Center Encores! presentation of St. Louis Woman. Williams' screen credits feature roles in "Soul Food," "Eraser," "Dance With Me," "Shaft," "Bye Bye Birdie," "The Odyssey" and "The Courage to Love." Tickets for the concerts, priced between $25 and $160, were available by calling (800) 444-1324. Though all seats have been sold, patrons may check the box office for last-minute cancellations and returns. The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is located at 2700 F. Street, NW in Washington, D.C. Go to www.kennedy center.org for more information.
—By Andrew Gans