World Premiere Musical
THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES
Book by LYNN NOTTAGE
Music by DUNCAN SHEIK
Lyrics by SUSAN BIRKENHEAD
Based on the Novel by SUE MONK KIDD
Directed by SAM GOLD
Linda Gross Theater, 336 West 20th Street
South Carolina, 1964. Lily Owens, a restless white teenager, struggles with her merciless father and the haunting memory of her mother’s death. When Rosaleen, her black caregiver, is beaten and jailed for asserting her right to vote, Lily’s rebellious spirit is ignited. She and Rosaleen escape on an adventure where they are taken in by a trio of black beekeeping sisters. While Lily tries to unlock the secrets of her past, she and Rosaleen find solace in the mesmerizing world of bees and spirituality in this extraordinary tale of awakening, fellowship and healing.
The Secret Life of Bees is a world premiere musical written by two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage (Sweat), with music by Tony and Grammy Award winner Duncan Sheik (Spring Awakening), lyrics by two-time Tony nominee and Drama Desk winner Susan Birkenhead (Jelly’s Last Jam), and directed by Tony winner Sam Gold (Fun Home); based on the best-selling novel by Sue Monk Kidd.
A world premiere musical from a powerhouse creative team that brought you some of the greatest works of the past three decades: Sweat, Spring Awakening, Working and Fun Home.
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Single tickets go on sale 12/12 at noon.
The Secret Life of Bees is supported, in part, by the National Fund for New Musicals, a program of National Alliance for Musical Theatre, with funding from The Hollywood Pantages, a Nederlander organization – www.namt.org.
Madonna painting by Gail Stoughton.
ROMELDA TERON BENJAMIN (Ensemble). Broadway: Brooklyn The Musical (Paradise). Off-Broadway: Bare A Pop Opera (Sister Chantell). NY/ National Tours: Chicago (Matron Mama Morton), Catch Me If You Can, Smokey Joe’s Cafe (BJ), The Wiz, Ain’t Misbehavin’, Big River, IDAHO!, Hair. IG: @romeldateron.
JOE CASSIDY (Ensemble). On Broadway, Joe most recently played Cal in Waitress. Other Broadway/NYC credits: If/Then; Catch Me If You Can; Next to Normal; Dirty Rotten Scoundrels; 1776; Show Boat; Les Miserables; Working (Drama Desk Award); Joe Cassidy: Rockstar at 54 Below, Joe’s Pub, and Ars Nova; and A Christmas Carol at Madison Square Garden. TV/Film: A Very Nutty Christmas; Madam Secretary; The Good Fight; Blue Bloods; Elementary; Law & Order; and Submissions Only. Regionally, Joe’s worked coast to coast. He’s also been a concert soloist with dozens of symphonies around the US & Canada. Love and thanks always, to Ashley. www.joecassidy.net
VITA E. CLEVELAND (Ensemble). Originally from Cleveland, OH., Vita E. has been surrounded by the power of art since childhood. From then on, they made a pledge that they would use the art that inspired them to influence thought, change, and freedom to exist without apology. This pledge would lead to her life as a percussionist, educator, poet, vocalist, and activist. Vita’s passion as a Black Trans Femme artist has led to many milestones. She’s recently finished a summer-long role as percussionist, mentor, and vocalist for the Creede Repertory Theatre, and drummer for the full-stage debut of the hip-hop musical, Once Upon a Rhyme.
EISA DAVIS (June). New York theater includes: Kings (Drama League nomination), Julius Caesar (Shakespeare in the Park 2017), Preludes, This, The Call, Luck of the Irish, her own play Angela’s M Mixtape, and Passing Strange. Select television: “God Friended Me,” “Rise,” “The Looming Tower,” “Succession,” “House of Cards,” “Smash,” “Hart of Dixie,” “The Wire.” She has written for Netflix’s “She’s Gotta Have It” and Cirque du Soleil’s “Crystal.” Albums: Something Else, Tinctures. Current music works: Flowers Are Sleeping and Devil In A Blue Dress with Walter Mosley. Awards include Obie for Sustained Excellence in Performance, Herb Alpert Award in Theatre, Pulitzer Prize finalist for her play Bulrusher.
MATT DeANGELIS (Ensemble). Broadway: Waitress (Earl), Hair (Woof); West End: Hair (Woof); 1st Nat’l Tours: Hair (Woof), American Idiot (Rep. from Jingletown), Once (Svec), Waitress (Earl). TV: “Person of Interest,” “Madam Secretary,” “Daredevil.” The role he is most looking forward to is husband to his fiancée Christine Dwyer!! Be Kind To One Another. GO RED SOX!! @MattDeAngelis22 www.MattDeAngelis.com
MANOEL FELCIANO (T-Ray) was most recently seen as Don John in Kathleen Marshall’s Much Ado About Nothing and Caliban in Joe Dowling’s The Tempest both at The Old Globe, where he previously played Feste in Rebecca Taichman’s Twelfth Night. His Broadway credits include Sweeney Todd (Tony Award nomination), Amélie, Disaster!, Brooklyn, Jesus Christ Superstar, and Cabaret. He has appeared Off Broadway in The Changeling (Red Bull Theater), Trumpery (Atlantic Theater Company), Shockheaded Peter and Much Ado About Nothing (NYSF). Regional credits include the world premiere of Terrence McNally’s Mothers and Sons with Tyne Daly, The Outsider (Paper Mill Playhouse), The Exorcist with Brooke Shields (Geffen Playhouse), Andrei in Michael Greif’s Three Sisters (Williamstown Theatre Festival), and George in Sunday in the Park with George directed by Jason Alexander.
BRETT GRAY (Zach) is an actor and musician who stars as ‘Jamal Turner’ in “On My Block,” a half-hour comedy series co-created by “Awkward” creator Lauren Iungerich, currently streaming on Netflix. The show won the Teen Choice Award for TV Breakout Show in 2018. Brett released his debut EP, Easy Daze after premiering his hit single, Old Thing Back, on Sway’s Universe. His music has been described as “a sunshine-drenched slice of laid-back R&B.” The Philadelphia-native currently splits his time between New York and Los Angeles. After participating in the reading and the workshop, Brett looks forward to continuing his journey with The Secret Life of Bees.
JAI’LEN CHRISTINE LI JOSEY (Ensemble) is an Atlanta, GA native who just made her Broadway debut as Pearl Krabs in SpongeBob SquarePants at the Palace Theatre. For 8 shows a week, Jai’Len blew the roof off the theatre with her amazing voice – receiving standing ovations nightly. Jai’Len is a proud winner of the 2014 Jimmy Awards. Her television credits include Tyler Perry’s “Love Thy Neighbor.” She is currently in the studio recording her first album of original music.
LaCHANZE (August) currently stars as Diva Donna in Summer: The Donna Summer Musical at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre. She landed nominations for the 2018 Tony Award nomination for Leading Actress in a Musical, 2018 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Actress in a Musical and 2018 Drama League Award for Distinguished Performance Award. In film, she stars in writer/director Marishka Phillips’ upcoming suspense filled film Melinda. She appeared in the award-winning film The Help landing a SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture. Other films Side Effects, Heartbreak Hotel, For Love Or Money, Leap Of Faith and My New Guns. She will be seen in a recurring role in the CBS All Access hit show The Good Fight and appeared in the award-winning HBO special The Night Of, Person Of Interest, “Law & Order: SVU,” “One Life To Live,” “Lucy,” “Sex And The City,” “Hercules,” “The Cosby Show,” “The Cosby Mysteries,” and “New York Undercover”. Theatre credits include The Color Purple (2006 Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Lady in Musical), Once On This Island (nominations, Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle), If/Then, Ragtime, Company, and Uptown It’s Hot. Some of her Off-Broadway credits include The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin (Drama Desk nomination), Dessa Rose (Obie Award), Inked Baby, Spunk and From The Mississippi Delta.
ANASTACIA McCLESKEY (May). Broadway: Waitress (Nurse Norma), Violet (Mabel), The Book of Mormon, PQD (Diva), HAIR (Abraham Lincoln), Tarzan. Off-Broadway/NYC: Mighty Real, a Fabulous Sylvester Musical (Izora Rhodes/Off B’way Alliance Award nom, Audelco Award Nom. for her choreography), Radio City (Tracy), York Theater: Last Dance (Gaynor). Tours: Waitress (Becky), Hairspray (1st national), Menier Chocolate Factory: What’s It All About (London), West End: Close To You. Regional: Baltimore Center Stage: STAX (Deanie Parker) & Marcus Gardley’s “A Wonder in My Soul” (Cherry Hill/ Young Swann) Studio Theater: Murder Ballad (Narrator/Helen Hayes nom. Best Supporting Actress), & much more. Film/TV: “fka”, TURNING POINT,” “Madam Secretary,” Marvel’s “Daredevil,” “Public Morals,” “I Take Thee Zoe,” “SNL,” Sex and the City 2. She’s Sung with Burt Bacharach and Patti LaBelle; back-up for Phil Collins, Martha Wash, Bette Midler & Mariah Carey.
SAYCON SENGBLOH (Rosaleen) is a powerful, Tony nominated Broadway performer and has created memorable performances in both musicals and plays. She can be seen as ‘Jules,’ a tough, no-nonsense homicide detective in the upcoming CW series, “In the Dark”, airing in 2019. She came to national TV attention with her recurring role in the ABC/Shonda Rhimes’ drama “Scandal” as FBI Director Angela Webster. She starred as Hester La Negrita in Pulitzer Prize winner Suzan-Lori Parks’ In The Blood at The Signature Theatre Company in New York, directed by Sarah Benson. Prior to this, she appeared in Merrily We Roll Along at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Los Angeles. Saycon received a Drama Desk Award and was Tony Award-nominated for her role opposite Lupita Nyongo in Danai Gurira’s Eclipsed on Broadway. She was the lead in the Tupac musical, Holler If Ya Hear Me, and was also showcased in Tony Award-nominated, Motown The Musical. Furthermore, Saycon was featured in the original cast of the hottest and only afro-beat Broadway musical FELA!, as well as The Color Purple, HAIR and Wicked. Saycon has appeared in numerous films including Aimee Long’s The Chiese Cop, Ridley Scott’s American Gangster, Ernest Dickerson’s Double Play and Julie Taymor’s Across The Universe. Other television appearances include guest star appearances on “The Night Of” for HBO, “Ten Days In The Valley” for ABC and “The Good Wife” for CBS.
ELIZABETH TEETER (Lily) joins this exciting ATC production after being seen on Broadway as “Betty” in the 2016 Tony nominated revival of The Crucible, “Young Elizabeth” in The Audience, starring Helen Mirren, and “Jane Banks” in Mary Poppins. Other NYC credits include workshops of Merman’s Apprentice (recording on iTunes), The Hard Problem (Lincoln Center), Lord Tom (with Phillip Boykin), Ever After (director Kathleen Marshall), and more. Regional credits include performances with The Muny, The Rep, Opera Theatre St. Louis, The Tennessee Williams Festival, and Variety Theatre.
LYNN NOTTAGE (Book) is a playwright and a screenwriter, and the first woman in history to win two Pulitzer Prizes for Drama. Her play Sweat (Pulitzer Prize, Obie Award) moved to Broadway after a sold out run at The Public Theater. Other plays include By the Way, Meet Vera Stark (Lilly Award, Drama Desk Nomination), Ruined (Pulitzer Prize, Obie Award), Intimate Apparel (American Theatre Critics and New York Drama Critics’ Circle Awards for Best Play), Fabulation, or the Re-Education of Undine (Obie Award), Crumbs from the Table of Joy, Las Meninas, Mud, River, Stone, Por’knockers and POOF!. In addition, she is working with composer Ricky Ian Gordon on adapting her play Intimate Apparel into an opera. She has also developed This is Reading, a performance installation at the Franklin Street, Reading Railroad Station in Reading, PA. She was writer/producer on the Netflix series “She’s Gotta Have It” directed by Spike Lee. Nottage is a member of the Dramatists Guild, an Associate Professor at Columbia University School of the Arts, and the recipient of a MacArthur “Genius Grant” Fellowship, Steinberg “Mimi” Distinguished Playwright Award, and PEN/Laura Pels Master Playwright Award among others.
DUNCAN SHEIK (Music). Performer/Composer. Theatre credits include: Spring Awakening (2006) Tony Awards for Best Original Score and Best Orchestrations, 2008 Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album; Because of Winn-Dixie (Alabama Shakespeare Festival 2017, Delaware Theatre Company 2015); Whisper House (London 2017, Old Globe Theater 2011), American Psycho (2016), Alice by Heart (upcoming 2018), Nero (Another Golden Rome) (currently in development), The Nightingale (currently in development) Noir (currently in development). Recordings include; American Psycho (Original London Cast Recording) (2016), Legerdemain (2015), Covers 80s (Sneaky Records 2011), Whisper House (Sony 2009), Spring Awakening (Original Broadway Cast Recording) (2006), White Limousine (Rounder 2006), Daylight (Atlantic Records 2002), Phantom Moon (Nonesuch 2001), Humming (Atlantic Records 1998), Duncan Sheik (Grammy Nomination “Best Male Vocal”, RIAA Certified Gold) (Atlantic Records 1996).
SUSAN BIRKENHEAD (Lyrics) received a Tony Nomination and a Drama Desk Award for her lyrics for Jelly’s Last Jam. She was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for Triumph of Love, was nominated for a Tony Award for Working, and won an Outer Critics Circle Award for What About Luv? She won an L.A. Drama Critics Award for Minsky’s. In addition to The Secret Life of Bees, she is currently working on Betty Boop, with David Foster and Sally Robinson, and Jerry Mitchell.
SAM GOLD (Director) is a Tony Award-winning director based in Brooklyn, NY. His Broadway credits include: A Doll’s House, Part 2 (Tony Award nomination); The Glass Menagerie; Fun Home (Tony Award); The Real Thing; The Realistic Joneses; Picnic; Seminar. Recent productions include: Hamlet (The Public Theater); Othello (New York Theatre Workshop); The Flick (Barrow Street Theatre, Playwrights Horizons, National Theatre; Lortel Award nomination); The Glass Menagerie (Toneelgroep Amsterdam); John (Signature Theatre; Obie Award, Lortel and Drama Desk Award nominations); The Village Bike (MCC); Uncle Vanya (Soho Repertory Theatre; Drama Desk nomination); The Realistic Joneses (Yale Repertory Theatre); The Cradle Will Rock (Encores! Off-Center); Kin (Playwrights Horizons); The Big Meal (Playwrights Horizons; Lortel); Look Back in Anger (Roundabout Theatre Company; Lortel nomination); Circle Mirror Transformation (Playwrights Horizons; Obie, Drama Desk nomination); The Aliens (Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre; Obie Award). Training: The Juilliard School.
Photo by Atisha Paulson.