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Signature Theatre Gets Its Cast for Jelly's Last Jam

Mark G. Meadows will star as jazz icon Jelly Roll Morton.

Jazz pianist Mark G. Meadows will star as Jelly Roll Morton in the Signature Theatre production of Jelly's Last Jam.
(photo via

Arlington, Virginia's Signature Theatre has announced casting for its upcoming production of Jelly's Last Jam, directed by Signature associate artistic director Matthew Gardiner and choreographed by Jared Grimes. The show will open the theater's 2016-17 season, with performances running from August 2-September 11 in the MAX Theatre.

Featuring the music of Jelly Roll Morton and penned by George C. Wolfe, Susan Birkenhead, and Luther Henderson, the musical tells the story of the notorious jazz entertainer. "George C. Wolfe and Susan Birkenhead's musical was a game changer in the American musical theater when in premiered on Broadway in 1992," said director Matthew Gardiner. "It's a musical that I've loved for years and it has one of the most beautifully rendered and complex characters ever written for the musical theater in Jelly Roll Morton."

The production will star acclaimed jazz pianist and vocalist Mark G. Meadows as Jelly Roll Morton, as well as Tony Award winner Cleavant Derricks (Dreamgirls) as the Chimney Man, and Felicia Boswell (Motown The Musical) as Anita. The cast will also feature Iyona Blake as Gran Mimi, Guy Lockard as Jack the Bear, VaShawn McIlwain as Buddy Bolden, and Elijah Mayo as Young Jelly, along with Nova Y. Payton, Kara-Tameika Watkins, and Eben Logan as the Hunnies.

Rounding out the ensemble will be Chris Broughton, DeWitt Fleming, Olivia Russell, DeMoya Watson Brown, Joseph Monroe Webb, and Stephen Scott Wormley.

The creative team includes musical direction by Darius Smith, scenic design by Dan Conway, costume design by Dede M. Ayite, lighting design by Grant Wilcoxen, sound design by Lane Elms, wig design by Leah Loukas, and fight choreography by Casey Kaleba.

For tickets and more information, click here.