Jelly's Last Jam Begins at New York City Center Encores! February 21 | Playbill

Encores! News Jelly's Last Jam Begins at New York City Center Encores! February 21

Nicholas Christopher leads the cast as legendary jazz pianist Jelly Roll Morton.

Okieriete Onaodowan, Billy Porter, Nicholas Christopher, Joaquina Kalukango, John Clay III, Tiffany Mann, and Leslie Uggams Jenny Anderson

New York City Center Encores! continues its 2024 season with a new production of Jelly's Last Jam, beginning performances at the Manhattan venue February 21. The run will continue through March 3.

Nicholas Christopher leads the cast as Jelly Roll Morton, alongside John Clay III as Jack the Bear, Alaman Diadhiou as Young Jelly, Joaquina Kalukango as Anita, Tiffany Mann as Miss Mamie, Okieriete Onaodowan as Buddy Bolden, Billy Porter as Chimney Man, and Leslie Uggams as Gran Mimi. Original cast members Mamie Duncan-Gibbs, Stephanie Pope Lofgren, and Allison M. Williams are reprising their roles as the Hunnies.

The ensemble features Raymond Baynard, Shawn Bowers, Amanda Castro, Joshua Dawson, John EdwardsAri Groover, Morgan McGhee, Jodeci Milhouse, Ramone Nelson, Paul Niebanck, James Patterson, Antonia Raye, Salome Smith, Taylor Mackenzie Smith, Funmi Sofola, Jordan Simone Stephens, Renell Anthony Taylor, Nasia Thomas, Sir Brock Warren, and Chanse Williams.

WATCH: See Billy Porter and Joaquina Kalukango Perform the Songs of Jelly's Last Jam

Rounding out the company are Jelly Roll Morton standby Reese Britts and swings Topher J. Babb, Crystal Burton, and Charlotte McKinley. Casting is by The Telsey Office's Destiny Lilly.

The seldom-produced biomusical celebrates the life and music of Ferdinand Joseph LaMothe (a.k.a. Jelly Roll Morton), featuring a book by George C. Wolfe, music by Morton, and lyrics by Susan Birkenhead, plus musical adaptation and additional music by Luther Henderson. The Encores! staging is one of two major new productions for the work, with another revival set for California's Pasadena Playhouse beginning in May.

Robert O'Hara is directing, leading a creative team that includes choreographer Edgar Godineaux, tap choreographer Dormeshia, music director Jason Michael Webb, scenic designer Clint Ramos, costume designer Dede Ayite, lighting designer Adam Honoré, sound designer Megumi Katayama, and hair and wig designer J. Jaren Janas. Daryl Water is serving as score consultant, and Karen Moore is production stage manager.

The revival is the second in Encores' 2024 season, with each of this year's titles playing an extended two-week run in celebration of the series' 30th anniversary. Once Upon a Mattress, starring Sutton Foster and Harriet Harris, kicked off the season in January, and Titanic will follow Jelly's Last Jam in June.


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