Tony Winner Anika Noni Rose Sets Musical Theater Return With ‘Carmen Jones’

Nathan Johnson

EXCLUSIVE: Anika Noni Rose is coming back to musical theater. The actress will star in an off-Broadway production of Carmen Jones, her first appearance in a musical since winning a Tony Award for 2004’s Broadway production of Tony Kushner’s Caroline, or Change.

Directing for the Classic Stage Company will be CSC’s artistic director John Doyle, with choreography by Bill T. Jones. Beginning a limited engagement June 8, the production marks the first major New York revival of the the 1943 musical.

Since winning the Tony for Best Featured Actress 14 years ago, Rose co-starred in the film Dreamgirls, voiced African-American princess Tiana in Walt Disney Pictures’ 2009 animated film The Princess and the Frog, played Kizzy in the History Channel remake of Roots and appeared on Broadway in the non-musical plays A Raisin in the Sun (co-starring Denzel Washington) and, with James Earl Jones and Phylicia Rashad, Cat On A Hot Tin Roof. More recently she starred in the BET series The Quad.

Though she participated in a 2011 New York Philharmonic concert of Stephen Sondheim’s Company with Neil Patrick Harris, Carmen Jones, with book and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II and music by Georges Bizet, will be her first musical theater production since Caroline, or Change.

Joining Rose in the cast are David Aron Damane, Erica Dorfler, Andrea Jones-Sojola, Justin Keyes, Lindsay Roberts, Soara-Joye Ross, Lawrence E. Street and Tramell Tillman. The role of Joe will be cast shortly.

The limited engagement runs through July 29, and will be the finale of CSC’s 50th anniversary season. Scenic design is by Scott Pask, costumes by Ann Hould-Ward, lighting by Adam Honoré and sound by Dan Moses Shreier. Music supervision and orchestrations are by Joseph Joubert.

As described by CSC: Set in the South as World War II rages overseas, Carmen Jones tells the story of a tempestuous parachute factory worker who ignites her own battle in a tragic love triangle with an airman and a prizefighter. Adapted from Bizet’s legendary opera Carmen, Hammerstein shifted the story from Spain to World War II America, featuring an all African-American cast. The original production premiered on Broadway in 1943, and a 1954 film version, directed by Otto Preminger, starred Dorothy Dandridge (whose Oscar nomination for the role was the first for an African-American actress) and Harry Belafonte.

Rose is repped by Innovative, David Williams Management, Kenny Goodman at GoodManagement, and Schreck Rose Dapello Adams Berlin & Dunham.

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