This world premiere musical features the music of Ray Charles and a book by Suzan-Lori Parks. Sheldon Epps directs.
The strength, the humor, the musical genius, and the event-filled life of the man are all dynamically explored in Ray Charles Live! - A New Musical. Suzan-Lori Parks has written a book, which weaves together tales from his past as Ray Charles is depicted in his last live recording session. That session uses the great music of his career to tell the "in studio" audience the story of his life with all of the good, the bad, the ugly, and the sublime. Parks' approach to these stories, to the characters who shaped his character and his musical sound, and to this incredibly wide ranging array of musical material, brings the man and his music to theatrical life in a way that is compelling and original.
Ray Charles touched perhaps more bases than any other performer in American musical history, mastering everything from rhythm and blues, to gospel, to jazz, to country music and pop-delivering them all with equal expertise. The musical will bring to the stage this incredible variety of musical styles capturing the energy, the hard driving musicality, and the excitement and electricity of Charles live onstage. Beyond that it will examine the emotional forces which shaped the man who made the music, and depicts his struggles and challenges, the fascinating people in his life, as well as his incredible triumphs and his joy. As he forces himself to dig deeper and deeper over the course of this momentous recording session, it will allow us to reveal not just his story, but the true soul of the man whose life and music actually helped to define soul.
The musical features many of Charles' hits including: "Georgia on My Mind," "What'd I Say," "Mess Around," "Hit The Road, Jack," "Unchain My Heart," "I Got a Woman" and "Hallelujah, I Love Her So."
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