Loretta Devine, Amber Riley, More Star in World Premiere of Preacher's Wife Musical Beginning May 15 | Playbill

Regional News Loretta Devine, Amber Riley, More Star in World Premiere of Preacher's Wife Musical Beginning May 15

Tituss Burgess and Azie Dungey's stage musical version of the 1996 film plays Atlanta's Alliance Theatre.

Loretta Devine and Amber Riley

Alliance Theatre's world premiere of the new musical The Preacher's Wife begins previews at the Atlanta theatre May 15 ahead of a May 24 opening night. The now-extended run will continue through June 16.

Amber Riley and Loretta Devine lead the company as Julia Biggs and Marguerite Coleman, respectively, sharing the stage with Rebecca E. Covington as Beverly, Akron Watson as Henry Biggs, Donald Webber, Jr. as Dudley, Alan H. Green as Joe Hamilton, Jahi Kearse as Deacon Lewis, Davis Matthews as Hakeem, Cameron McCrae as Jeremiah, Wayne Pretlow as Ol’ Mac, and Brad Raymond as Deacon Johnson.

Video: Watch Amber Riley and Akron Lanier Watson Perform 'It Ain't That Serious' From The Preacher's Wife Musical

Based on Robert Nathan's novel The Bishop's Wife and the films The Bishop’s Wife and The Preacher’s Wife, the work features music and lyrics by stage and screen star Tituss Burgess and a book by Azie Dungey (Harlem). Set in Harlem, the story follows Preacher Henry and his wife Julia, who struggle to keep their congregation going. When all seems lost, Henry asks God for help and receives it in the form of an angel.

Devine, who appeared in a different role in the 1996 film, has been attached to the project since at least 2016, when one of the work's earliest readings was held in Manhattan.

The ensemble includes Wesley J. Barnes, Brianna Bellamy, Angela Birchett, Laila Bollar, Melessie Clark, Cedrick Ekra, Cyniah Elise, Darius Harper, Toneisha Harris, Shaq Hester, Brianna Javis, Harper Miles, Amma Osei, Kala Ross, Drew Shade, Michael Stiggers, Alicia Thomas, Damani Van Rensalier, and Helen Marla White. Undestudy Ashley Jenkins rounds out the company. Casting is by Tara Rubin Casting and Jody Feldman.

“I’ve been waiting a long time to give this to the world,” said Burgess in an earlier statement. “I hope it brings audiences as much joy as writing it has brought me!”

Michael Arden and Tinashe Kajese-Bolden are co-directing, leading a creative team that includes choreographer Matthew Johnson Harris, music supervisor James Sampliner, scenic designers Dane Laffrey and Teresa L. Williams, costume designer Sarafina Bush, lighting designer Jennifer Schriever, sound designer Joshua D. Reid, wig designer Cookie Jordan, and illusionist Skylar Fox. Sampliner is also serving as music director, orchestrator, and arranger. Julie DeVore is the stage manager.

“I am blown away by the wealth of talent, diversity of style, and breadth of experience overflowing in this cast!” added Kajese-Bolden. “From our talented Atlanta actors to Broadway vets and Hollywood royalty, they each bring a unique sense of purpose and connection to the material that is magnetic and powerful! ... But what I believe will make this story unforgettable is the joy that radiates from each one of these inspired artists which will undoubtedly give us all a little more faith in the world!”

Visit AllianceTheatre.org.

 
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