Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater announces the full company for the world premiere of Tazewell Thompson‘s inspirational a cappella music infused play, Jubilee. Inspired by the world-renowned Fisk Jubilee Singers, this uplifting new work chronicles the bold African American ensemble as they travel the world, captivating kings, queens and audiences with hymns and spiritual songs supported by their rich voices.
Arena Stage is excited to welcome back Thompson, who has directed over a dozen productions at Arena as the former resident director and former associate artistic director. Thompson returns to Arena after directing an extended run of Lorraine Hansberry’s groundbreaking masterpiece A Raisin in the Sun in 2017. In addition to directing, he also wrote both Constant Star and Mary T. & Lizzy K., while amassing an impressive repertoire of works during his time at Arena.
Making their Arena Stage debuts and portraying members of the singing student troupe include Shaleah Adkisson (Broadway’s Hair, Off-Broadway’s Rent) as Mabel Lewis, Lisa Arrindell (Broadway’s Cat on a Hot Tin Roof) as Ella Sheppard, Zonya Love (Geffen Playhouse’s Light Out: Nat “King” Cole, Broadway’s The Color Purple) as Georgia Gordon and Sean-Maurice Lynch (Ford’s Twelve Angry Men and Ragtime) as Frederick Loudin.
Also making their Arena debuts are V. Savoy Mcllwain (1st Stage’s A Civil War Christmas, Rep Stage’s Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street) as Thomas Rutling, Aundi Marie Moore (Metropolitan Opera’s Porgy and Bess) as Maggie Porter, Simone Paulwell (The Glimmerglass Festival’s Porgy and Bess, San Francisco Opera’s Show Boat) as America Robinson, Travis Pratt (NBC’s America’s Got Talent) as Isaac Dickerson, Katherine Alexis Thomas (Milwaukee Rep’s The All Night Strut!) as Minnie Tate and Greg Watkins (Creative Cauldron’s Thunder Knocking on the Door, Constellation’s Aida) as Benjamin Holmes.
Making their return to Arena Stage are Joy Jones (Arena’s A Raisin in the Sun and Mary T. & Lizzy K.) as Jennie Jackson, Bueka Uwemedimo (Ford’s Twelve Angry Men, Arena’s A Raisin in the Sun) as Greene Evans and Jaysen Wright (Imagination Stage’s Dickens’s Davy Copperfield, Arena’s Smart People) as Edmund Watkins.
Written and directed by Thompson with vocal arrangements and music direction by Dianne Adams McDowell, Jubilee runs April 26 – June 2, 2019 in the Kreeger Theater.