New York City Center has announced initial casting for the 2022 Encores! season. As previously reported, the next chapter of the Tony-honored series, led by Encores! Artistic Director Lear deBessonet, Encores! Producing Creative Director Clint Ramos and Encores! Music Director Rob Berman will include The Tap Dance Kid, The Life and Into the Woods.
The 1983 Tony-nominated musical The Tap Dance Kid will play from February 2, 2022 through February 6. Led by Tony-winning director Kenny Leon, the musical tells the story of Willie, a 10-year-old boy from an upper-middle-class Black family, who dreams of becoming a professional tap dancer, despite his father’s disapproval. Original Broadway cast member Dulé Hill will join the production as Dipsey, Willie’s uncle and mentor. With music by Henry Krieger, lyrics by Robert Lorick and book by Charles Blackwell and based on the novel Nobody’s Family is Going to Change by Louise Fitzhugh, the production features new tap sequences by choreographer Jared Grimes and concert adaptation by scribe Lydia Diamond. Joseph Joubert will music direct.
Following is the Tony-nominated musical The Life from March 16 through March 20. Helmed by Emmy and Tony winner Billy Porter, the production will include Chuck Cooper as Old Jojo. Cooper won a 1997 Tony Award for his performance as Memphis in the original Broadway staging. The production will also include Mykal Kilgore as Young JoJo, Ledisi as Sonja and Ken Robinson as Fleetwood. Porter reclaims this musical as the production’s adapter and director to bring forth the gritty, dangerous and exciting decadence of 1980s New York City and an authenticity to the lives of sex workers. With music by Cy Coleman, lyrics by Ira Gasman and book by David Newman, Gasman and Coleman, the production features choreography by Tony-nominated choreographer and Encores! Creative Advisor Camille A. Brown.
The third show in the series, Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s musical Into the Woods, directed by Lear deBessonet, will feature Heather Headley as the Witch, Sara Bareilles as the Baker’s Wife, Christian Borle as the Baker and Ashley Park as Cinderella. The two-week run, which will take place from May 4 through May 15, ushers in a new annual tradition at Encores! celebrating an iconic American musical. These productions bring together Broadway’s brightest stars with a multi-generational group, including New York City public school students, to highlight the ways theater connects us across generations. Into the Woods will feature choreography by Jamal Sims and music direction by Encores! Music Director Rob Berman. The Spring Gala will take place on the opening night, May 4, and include a benefit dinner with the cast and creative team at the Plaza Hotel.
Additional casting for all Encores! productions will be announced at a later date. City Center will operate a fully vaccinated venue—artists, crew, staff and audience members will need to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination.