Pasadena Playhouse Jelly's Last Jam Opens June 2 | Playbill

Los Angeles News Pasadena Playhouse Jelly's Last Jam Opens June 2

Cress Williams, Jasmine Amy Rogers, and John Clarence Stewart lead the Jelly Roll Morton biomusical.

Cress Williams, Jasmine Amy Rogers, and John Clarence Stewart

California's Pasadena Playhouse officially opens its new staging of Jelly's Last Jam June 2, with Kent Gash at the helm. Performances began May 29, and will continue through June 23.

Leading the company are John Clarence Stewart (P-Valley, Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist) as Jelly Roll Morton, Cress Williams (Living Single, Black Lightning) as Chimney Man, and Jasmine Amy Rogers (BOOP! The Musical) as Anita, sharing the stage with Karole Foreman (1776) as Gran Mimi, Wilkie Ferguson III (Motown the Musical) as Jack the Bear, Grasan Kingsberry (The Color Purple) as Buddy Bolden, Summer Nicole Greer (Million Dollar Quartet) as Miss Mamie, Doran Butler (La La Land) as Young Jelly, Cyd Charisse Glover-Hill (Black and Blue) as Hunnie, Naomi C. Walley (West Side Story) as Hunnie, Janaya Jones (Grease) as Hunnie, Hannah Yosef (Puttin’ On The Ritz) as Too Tight Nora, Joe Aaron Reid (If/Then) as Foot-In-Yo-Ass Sam, and Eric B. Anthony (Mary Poppins) as Three Finger Jake. Ensemble members Davon Rashawn, Amber Liekhus, and Chante Carmel complete the cast.

With a book by George C. Wolfe, music by Morton, and lyrics by Susan Birkenhead (plus musical adaptation and additional music by Luther Henderson), Jelly's Last Jam is a biomusical celebrating the life and music of Ferdinand Joseph LaMothe, a.k.a. Jelly Roll Morton. The show's original production opened on Broadway in 1992 starring Gregory Hines, Tonya Pinkins, and a young Savion Glover. Hines, who contributed additional tap choreography to the production, and Pinkins both won Tony Awards for their performances, part of a successful awards season for the work.

Despite its success on the Main Stem, the musical has been seldom produced since its premiere. New York City Center Encores! staged a revival earlier this year, which together with Pasadena's production and a 2006 staging at Atlanta's Alliance Theatre, comprise the work's only major productions since its premiere.

Gash's creative team includes choreographer Dell Howlett, music director Darryl Archibald, scenic designer Edward E. Haynes, Jr., costume designer Samantha Jones, lighting designer Rui Rita, and sound designers Danny Erdberg and Ursula Kwong Brown. Casting is by RBT Casting's Ryan Bernard Tymensky. Lark hackshaw serves as production stage manager, with David S. Franklin as assistant stage manager.

Tickets are on sale at

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