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Nikki M. James, Ann Harada, and More to Star in Encores!'s I Married an Angel

Joshua Bergasse directs and choreographs the Rodgers and Hart musical, originally choreographed by George Balanchine.

Tony winner Nikki M. James joins the Encores! cast of I Married an Angel.
(© Tricia Baron)

New York City Center has announced casting for I Married an Angel, the second Encores! production of the City Center 75th Anniversary Season. The show will run for seven performances from March 20-24.

Joining the previously announced Sara Mearns (playing the title angel), the production will feature Phillip Attmore (Peter Mueller), Max Baker (General Lucash), Mark Evans (Count Willy Palaffi), Ann Harada (Duchess of Holstein-Kuloff), Nikki M. James (Countess Peggy Palaffi), Hayley Podschun (Anna Murphy), and Tom Robbins (Harry Mischka Szigetti).

Rounding out the ensemble will be Rachel Coloff, Barton Cowperthwaite, Jōvan Dansberry, Alexa De Barr, Christine DiGiallonardo, Erica Dorfler, Kellie Drobnick, Julia Estrada, Ta'Nika Gibson, Stephen Hanna, Andrea Jones-Sojola, Naomi Kakuk, Francis Lawrence, Cory Linger, Robin Masella, Gia Mongell, Lindsey O'Neil, Michelle Mercedes Russell, Ryan Steele, Christian Tworzyanski, and Kathy Voytko.

Rodgers and Hart's third major collaboration with choreographer George Balanchine (a decade before he would establish New York City Ballet at City Center), I Married an Angel is one of a handful of shows from the 1930s that was yearning to find the key to a new kind of musical. More sophisticated and innately theatrical than the average vaudeville-inspired productions of the Jazz Age, the originality of this show comes from the blending of a drawing-room comedy with serious and extended dance sequences.

The angel of the title is just that, an emissary from heaven who descends to earth to melt the dyspeptic heart of an unscrupulous banker, Count Willy Palaffi. Balanchine cast his soon-to-be-wife Vera Zorina (the two were married onstage following a New Year's Eve performance) as the Angel and created a series of spectacular dances to show her off. In a happy bit of symmetry, and perfectly suited for City Center's 75th Anniversary Season, the Encores! production will be directed and choreographed by Joshua Bergasse for his wife, New York City Ballet principal dancer Sara Mearns, who will be making her theatrical debut. Encores! founding music director Rob Fisher returns to lead the Encores! Orchestra for the production.

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