The Public Theater has announced initial casting for the world premiere of The Harder They Come, a musical adaptation of the classic Jamaican film. Tony Taccone directs the adaptation, with co-direction by Tony winner Sergio Trujillo and choreography by Edgar Godineaux.
The cast of The Harder They Come will include Jeannette Bayardelle as Daisy, Andrew Clarke as Lyle, Dominique Johnson as Jose, Dudney Joseph Jr. as Ray, Meecah as Elsa, Jacob Ming-Trent as Pedro, and Ken Robinson as Hilton. The ensemble will include Shawn Bowers, Jamal Christopher Douglas, Dana Marie Ingraham, Chelsea-Ann Jones, Morgan McGhee, Alysha Morgan, and Housso Semon, with Dwight Xaveir Leslie rounding out the company as an understudy.
Additional casting, including that of lead character Ivan, will be announced at a later time.
The new musical is adapted by Pulitzer Prize winner Suzan-Lori Parks from the screenplay co-written by producer-director Perry Henzell and Trevor Rhone, with songs by Jimmy Cliff. The soundtrack of the 1972 film is credited with popularizing reggae music across the globe, and was preserved by the Library of Congress as "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant." This is the second adaptation of the film to the stage, following a British attempt in the early 2000s.
Said Parks, “The original film of The Harder They Come is gorgeous. It’s a story that needs to be told, heard, and seen. I’m thrilled to help share Ivan’s story and the amazing music of Jimmy Cliff with new audiences.”
The Harder They Come tells the story of Ivan, a singer who comes to Kingston, Jamaica in search of stardom. After falling in love and cutting a record deal, Ivan learns the dark side of the music industry, and enters a battle that threatens both his life and the fabric of Jamaican society.
The musical will premiere in The Public’s Newman Theater, with a book by Parks, music supervision, orchestrations, and arrangements by Kenny Seymour, choreography by Edgar Godineaux, co-direction by Tony winner Sergio Trujillo, and direction by Tony nominee Tony Taccone. The creative team will include scenic designer Clint Ramos, costume designer Emilio Sosa, sound designer Walter Trarbach, projection designer Hana S. Kim, prop manager Claire M. Kavanah, and music director John Bronston.
Performances will begin with a Joseph Papp Free Performance on February 16, prior to an official opening on March 15. The production will run through March 26.
For more information, visit PublicTheater.org.