Pittsburgh Public Theater has announced the full cast and creative team of its upcoming world-premiere musical Billy Strayhorn: Something to Live For, running September 19th thru October 8th at the O’Reilly Theater in downtown Pittsburgh..
The new jazz musical, which follows composer Billy Strayhorn from his impoverished beginnings in Pittsburgh to his lifelong collaboration with Duke Ellington, is written by Rob Zellers with Kent Gash (who also directs), and features music and lyrics by Billy Strayhorn. The show also includes a nine-piece jazz band led by Yamaha-sponsored artist and jazz phenom Matthew Whitaker.
The cast will be led by Darius de Haas (best known as the singing voice of Shy Baldwin in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel) as legendary jazz composer Billy Strayhorn, along with J.D. Mollison (Octet) as Duke Ellington. The company also features Tony nominee Charl Brown (Motown: The Musical) as Aaron Bridgers, Keziah John-Paul (The Book of Mormon) as Lillian Strayhorn and jazz singer Ivie Anderson, Arielle Roberts as Lena Horne and Billie Holiday, Richard McBride as Mercer Ellington, Joseph McGranaghan as Lennie Hayton (and other roles), Saige Smith as ensemble and understudy, and Joseph Fedore as ensemble and understudy. The cast additionally includes concert dancers Tracy Dunbar and Taylor Collier.
The creative team of Billy Strayhorn: Something to Live For features choreographer Dell Howlett, scenic designer Jason Sherwood, lighting designer Rui Rita, costume designer Jahise LeBouef, projections designer Shawn Duan, sound designer Zach Moore, and hair and dig designer Tenel Dorsey. Arrangements are by musical director Matthew Whitaker, who also conducts and plays piano and organ. Orchestrations are by Tony Award winner Bruce Coughlin. Photo: (Darius de Haas. Provided by the production.)