New York City Center announces the musical productions in development as part of the next chapter of the longstanding Tony-honored Encores! series, all of which will be explored in-depth as part of the 2020-2021 season in a new digital series Encores! Inside the Revival. The five-part mini documentary series, which launches Lear deBessonet’s first season as Encores! Artistic Director, will explore the behind-the-scenes process—through conversations and performances—for the productions being developed and ultimately produced at City Center upon reopening.
In-development productions include: The Life, music by Cy Coleman, lyrics by Ira Gasman, with book by David Newman, Gasman, and Coleman, adapted and directed by Tony Award winner Billy Porter; and The Tap Dance Kid, music by Henry Krieger, lyrics by Robert Lorick, with book by Charles Blackwell, directed by Tony Award winner Kenny Leon, choreographed by Jared Grimes, and adapted by Lydia Diamond, based on the novel “Nobody’s Family is Going to Change” by Louis Fitzhugh. A third title, to be announced, will reflect Mayor La Guardia’s founding mission that New York City Center present the best of music, theater, and dance for the people of New York. While Encores! usually revives lesser known musicals, the series will usher in a new annual tradition in the spirit of La Guardia’s accessible invitation, whereby the performance of a classic title will celebrate the way musical theater connects us. In addition, the Encores! Inside the Revival digital series will include episodes on Love Life (music by Kurt Weill, book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner) and Thoroughly Modern Millie (new music by Jeanine Tesori, new lyrics by Dick Scanlan, book by Richard Morris and Dick Scanlan) which were cancelled earlier this year due to the pandemic.
New Artistic Voices welcomes Tony Award winner Clint Ramos joining the Encores! artistic team in the newly created leadership role of Encores! Producing Creative Director. Ramos, a member of the Encores! Off-Center principal design team for seven seasons and the first person of color to win a Tony Award for Costume Design of a Play (Eclipsed, 2016), will partner with deBessonet, longtime Encores! Music Director Rob Berman, and Tony Award-winning producer Jenny Gersten, who joins the team as Producer of Musical Theater for New York City Center.
In addition, Encores! will welcome Tony-nominated and Obie Award-winning choreographer Camille A. Brown, Obie Award-winning playwright and performer Eisa Davis, and Obie Award-winning director and playwright Robert O’Hara as Creative Advisors to the series. Partnering with Ramos and deBessonet, they will lend guidance on artistic work and advise in developing creative systems that uphold the commitment to anti-racism at Encores! and City Center.