Rehearsals are underway for the world premiere of The Harder They Come, a new musical adapted by Suzan-Lori Parks from Perry Henzell and Trevor Rhone's screenplay and featuring songs by Jimmy Cliff. With Tony Taccone and Sergio Trujillo at the helm and Edgar Godineaux choreographing, the musical begins performances February 16 at the Public's Newman Theater. Opening night is set for March 15 and the run will continue through March 26.
The cast includes Jeannette Bayardelle as Daisy, J. Bernard Calloway as Preacher, Andrew Clarke as Lyle, Dominique Johnson as Jose, Natey Jones as Ivan, Dudney Joseph Jr as Ray, Meecah as Elsa, Jacob Ming-Trent as Pedro, and Ken Robinson as Hilton. They're joined by an ensemble comprising Shawn Bowers, Jamal Christopher Douglas, Dana Marie Ingraham, Chelsea-Ann Jones, Morgan McGhee, Alysha Morgan, Housso Semon, Sir Brock Warren, and Christopher Henry Young, with understudies Eean Sherrod Cochran, Tyla Collier, Tiffany Francès, Garfield Hammonds, Dwight Xaveir Leslie, Denver Andre Taylor, and Carla Woods rounding out the company.
Go inside the rehearsal room with these photos:
The Harder They Come tells the story of Ivan, a singer who comes to Kingston, Jamaica in search of stardom. After falling in love and cutting a record deal, Ivan learns the dark side of the music industry, and enters a battle that threatens both his life and the fabric of Jamaican society.
The stage musical is adapted from the 1972 film of the same name, the soundtrack of which is credited with popularizing reggae music across the globe. Parks' attempt at bringing the property to the stage follows a British attempt in the early 2000s.
“The original film of The Harder They Come is gorgeous," said Parks in an earlier statement. "It’s a story that needs to be told, heard, and seen. I’m thrilled to help share Ivan’s story and the amazing music of Jimmy Cliff with new audiences.”
The production will feature music supervision, orchestrations, and arrangements by Kenny Seymour, music direction by John Bronston, scenic design by Clint Ramos and Diggle, costume design by Emilio Sosa, lighting design by Japhy Weideman, sound design by Walter Trarbach, projection design by Hana S. Kim, wig and makeup design by Earon Chew Nealey, prop management by Claire M. Kavanah, fight and intimacy direction yb Rocio Mendez, dialect coaching by Dwight Bacquie, and music contracting by Kristy Norter. Jeffrey Rodriguez is production stage manager, with Amanda Michaels and Alex Murphy serving as stage managers.