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New Haarlem Arts Theatre to Present Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, Re-conceived Sweet Charity logo
Johnnie Mae as Ma Rainey
(© Jonathan Slaff)
New Haarlem Arts Theatre will present productions of August Wilson's Ma Rainey's Black Bottom and a re-conceived, Latino version of the musical Sweet Charity as part of their summer season at Aaron Davis Hall.

Directed by Eugene Nesmith, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom will star Johnnie Mae as Ma, and will run June 14 to July 8, with an opening on June 16. The cast also includes Reginald L. Wilson, Joresa Blount, Rollessia Hurd-Rosa, Branden Baskin, Michael Anthony, Luther Wells, Peter Jay Fernandez, Steve Macari, Dennis Jordan, Mikell Pinkney and Mike Metzel.

Julio Agustin will direct a re-conceived revival of Cy Coleman, Dorothy Fields, Neil Simon, and Bob Fosse's Sweet Charity, to run July 26 to August 19, with an opening on July 28. Press notes describe that Agustin "saw similarities between this endearing protagonist and a succession of Latina stars, including Jennifer Lopez, Christina Aguilera, Eva Longoria, Eva Mendez, Shakira and Rita Hayworth, each of whom, through tumultuous relationships and (for the most part) public divorces, maintained a public image of innocence and held out hope for a love that is happily-ever-after." The production, in which Charity will be called "Caridad," will feature a "surprising plot twist at the end that gives the female protagonist a strength she hasn't had in past productions."

The cast of Sweet Charity will be led by Edlyn Gonzalez as Charity, Cedric Leiba, Jr. as Vittorio Vidal, and Dennis Wit as Herman. Lainie Munro will provide choreography.

From July 14-27, the company will produce Flying Fables,a production for all audiences based on classic fables adapted by Stephanie Berry and directed by John Martin Green.

Additionally, readings of new plays Down in Mississippi by Carlyle Brown (June 18) and Clean and Press by Corwin Moore (June 25) will be presented. A reading on July 2 is yet to be announced.


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