Broadway Veterans to Star in Berkeley Rep’s World Premiere of Goddess | Playbill

Regional News Broadway Veterans to Star in Berkeley Rep’s World Premiere of Goddess

The new musical, conceived and directed by Saheem Ali, features music and lyrics by Michael Thurber, and a book by Jocelyn Bioh.


Berkeley Repertory Theatre has revealed the cast and its full creative team for the upcoming world premiere of Goddess. The new musical will begin previews at the regional theatre August 13, with opening night set for August 24, and a run through September 25.

The production will star Abena, Melessie Clark, Rodrick Covington, Zachary Downer, Amber Iman, Grasan Kingsberry, Kingsley Leggs, Kecia Lewis, Isio-Maya Nuwere, Aaron Patterson, Destinee Rea, Phillip Johnson Richardson, Awa Sal Secka, Lawrence Stallings, Teshomech, Quiantae Thomas, Wade Watson, and Reggie D. White.

Inspired by the myth of Marimba, the Goddess who creates music from her heartbreak, Goddess begins with the arrival of a mysterious new singer at Afro-jazz club Moto Moto in Mombasa, Kenya. Entrancing and intriguing, she crosses paths with a freshly returned young man, creating a crossroads that leaves the young man’s plans of living up to a legacy and marrying his fiancée into the balance. Conceived and directed by Saheem Ali (Merry Wives, Fat Ham), Goddess features music and lyrics by Michael Thurber (Merry Wives), and a book by Jocelyn Bioh (Merry Wives, School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play).

Goddess features direction by Saheem Ali, music and lyrics by Michael Thurber, a book by Jocelyn Bioh. Mkhululi Z. Mabija provides additional material. The creative team includes choreographer Darrell Grand Moultrie, music director Marco Paguia, scenic designer Arnulfo Maldonado, costume designer Dede Ayite, lighting designer Bradley King, sound designer Nevin Steinberg, projections and video designer Brittany Bland, and wig designer Nikiya Mathis. Illusions are by Steve Cuiffo, and casting is by Stewart/Whitley.

“This beautiful and intriguing story, set in Kenya and inspired by the African myth of Marimba, the Goddess of Music, dispels Western impressions of what Africa is, and allows contemporary and ancient stories to live side by sid,” said Bioh, Ali, and Thurber in a joint statement. “We cannot wait for audiences to jam out to our incredibly eclectic score that blends influences from the continent like jazz, Afrobeat, R&B, taarab, bhangra, and soul.”

For tickets and more information, visit


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