Goddess Opens World Premiere at Berkeley Rep August 24 | Playbill

Regional News Goddess Opens World Premiere at Berkeley Rep August 24

The new musical starring Broadway veterans was conceived and is directed by Saheem Ali, with music and lyrics by Michael Thurber and a book by Jocelyn Bioh.


Officially opening August 24, the world premiere of Goddess continues performances at Berkeley Repertory Theatre. Previews for the new musical began August 13, with a run scheduled through September 25 at the California theatre.

Featured in the cast are are Abena, Melessie Clark, Rodrick Covington, Zachary Downer, Amber Iman, Grasan Kingsberry, Kingsley Leggs, Kecia Lewis, Isio-Maya Nuwere, Aaron Patterson, Destinee Rea, Phillip Johnson Richardson, Awa Sal Secka, Lawrence Stallings, Teshomech, Quiantae Thomas, Wade Watson, and Reggie D. White.

Goddess begins with a mysterious new singer's arrival at Afro-jazz club Moto Moto in Mombasa, Kenya. Inspired by the myth of Marimba, the Goddess who creates music from heartbreak, the musical follows the new woman and a freshly returned young man she crosses paths, creating a crossroads that leaves his plans of living up to a legacy and marrying his fiancée in the balance. 

Saheem Ali (Merry Wives, Fat Ham) conceived and directs Goddess, which features music and lyrics by Michael Thurber (Merry Wives), and a book by Jocelyn Bioh (Merry Wives, School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play). Mkhululi Z. Mabija provides additional material. 

Also featured on the creative team are choreographer Darrell Grand Moultrie, music director Marco Paguia, scenic designer Arnulfo Maldonado, costume designer Dede Ayite, lighting designer Bradley King, sound designer Nevin Steinberg, projections and video designer Brittany Bland, and wig designer Nikiya Mathis. Illusions are by Steve Cuiffo, and casting is by Stewart/Whitley.

“This beautiful and intriguing story, set in Kenya and inspired by the African myth of Marimba, the Goddess of Music, dispels Western impressions of what Africa is, and allows contemporary and ancient stories to live side by sid,” said Bioh, Ali, and Thurber in a joint statement. “We cannot wait for audiences to jam out to our incredibly eclectic score that blends influences from the continent like jazz, Afrobeat, R&B, taarab, bhangra, and soul.”

For tickets and more information, visit BerkeleyRep.org.


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