What Do Critics Think of New Musical Bella: An American Tale?

The Verdict   What Do Critics Think of New Musical Bella: An American Tale?
Kirsten Childs’ wild musical adventure opened at Playwrights Horizons June 12 with direction by Robert O’Hara.

Playwrights Horizons’ production of Bella: An American Tale officially opened Off-Broadway June 12. Set in the 1870s, Kirsten Childs’ musical adventure takes the audience on the trip of a lifetime through the Wild West, complete with a train robbery and buffalo soldiers.

The story follows the epic adventures of Bella, a wanted woman of mythic proportions, as she attempts to escape her scandalous past and find her buffalo soldier. Ashley D. Kelley (The Wiz) stars in the title role.

Bella features a book, music, and lyrics by Childs. Performances of the new musical began May 19 with direction by two-time Obie Award winner Robert O’Hara (Bootycandy, The Brother/Sister Plays) and choreography by Camille A. Brown (The Fortress of Solitude).

The limited engagement is currently scheduled to play through July 2 in the Mainstage Theater, in a production co-presented with Dallas Theater Center, where Bella debuted last fall.

Read reviews for the co-world premiere:

The New York Times (Ben Brantley)

Time Out New York (Raven Snook)

The Times Square Chronicles (Suzanna Bowling)

The Wrap (Thom Geier)

Playbill will continue to update with reviews as they are published.

The cast also includes Yurel Echezarreta (Aladdin, La Cage aux Folles), Drama Desk Award winner Kenita R. Miller (The Color Purple, Xanadu), Paolo Montalban (Pacific Overtures, The King and I), Gabrielle Reyes (Dreamgirls, Ragtime), Marinda Anderson (A Life, Far From Heaven), Brandon Gill (Holler if Ya Hear Me, Neighbors), Olli Haaskivi (Baghdaddy, I Battled Lenny Ross), Kevin Massey (A Gentleman’s Guide…, Tarzan), Jo’Nathan Michael (Ragtime, Dreamgirls), Britton Smith (Shuffle Along, After Midnight), and NaTasha Yvette Williams (Chicago, Porgy and Bess).

The production features scenic design by Tony winner Clint Ramos, costume design by Dede M. Ayite, lighting design by four-time Tony nominee Japhy Weideman, sound design by Lindsay Jones, projection design by Jeff Sugg, and hair, wig, and makeup design by Dave Bova and J. Jared Janas. Orchestrations are by Tony winner Daryl Waters, vocal arrangements are by Childs, music direction and additional arrangements are by Rona Siddiqui, and music coordinator is John Miller. Production stage manager is Erin Gioia Albrecht.

Tickets may be purchased online via phnyc.org and Facebook.com, by phone at (212) 279-4200, and in person at the Ticket Central Box Office, located at 416 West 42nd Street, New York.


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