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Bella: An American Tall Tale to Receive Original Cast Recording

Kirsten Childs's Western musical made its New York premiere in 2017 at Playwrights Horizons.

Ashley D. Kelley, Yurel Echezarreta, and Kenita R. Miller in a scene from the 2017 Playwrights Horizons production of Bella: An American Tall Tale.
(© Joan Marcus)

Playwrights Horizons and Yellow Sound Label have announced the release of an original cast recording of Kirsten Childs's Bella: An American Tall Tale, produced by Michael Croiter. Hard copies of the album can be purchased at yellowsoundlabel.com and phnyc.org beginning February 22, when it will also become available digitally on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, and Apple Music. Preorders are available now via iTunes.

In Bella — whose New York-premiere production opened in Playwrights Horizons' Mainstage Theatre May 19, 2017 — the title character (Ashley D. Kelley) takes us on the trip of a lifetime out West to escape her scandalous past and bounce into the arms of her awaiting Buffalo Soldier (Clifton Oliver). Childs infuses this Western tall tale with soulful tunes and madcap antics, all the while centering the story of a black woman within a genre (and mythologized time/place in American historical memory) from which they have often been erased. Childs told Tim Sanford that she wanted to "flip the script, to create a new myth celebrating the power and beauty of the black female body, with all the joy, fun, silliness and sorrow, heartbreak and triumph of the black woman's experience of America." The production was directed by Robert O'Hara and choreographed by Camille A. Brown.

Featured on the recording are cast members Marinda Anderson as Ida Lou, Aunt Dinah; Yurel Echezarreta as Diego Moreno, C.P. Conyers; Brandon Gill as Nathaniel Beckworth; Olli Haaskivi as Gabriel Conyers, Scooter; Ashley D. Kelley as Bella; Kevin Massey as Snaggletooth Hoskins, Bonny Jonny; Jo'Nathan Michael as Mr. Dinwiddie, Scumbucket; Kenita R. Miller as Miss Cabbagestalk, Mama; Paolo Montalban as Tommie Haw, Skeeter; Clifton Oliver as Aloysius T. Hunnicut; Gabrielle Reyes as Mrs. Dinwiddie, Nurse; and NaTasha Yvette Williams as Grandma, Spirit of the Booty.