New York City Center's 2022 Encores! season kicks off February 2 as The Tap Dance Kid begins performances at City Center's MainStage. Trevor Jackson, Adrienne Walker, and Joshua Henry lead the cast of the Kenny Leon-helmed production, which continues through February 6.
Based on Louise Fitzhugh's novel Nobody's Family is Going to Change, The Tap Dance Kid centers on Willie, a 10-year-old boy from an upper-middle-class Black family who dreams of becoming a professional tap dancer despite his father’s disapproval. Jackson as Uncle Dipsey, Walker as Ginnie, and Henry as William are joined by Alexander Bello as Willie, Tracee Beazer as Carole, DeWitt Fleming as Daddy Bates, Shahadi Wright Joseph as Emma, and Chance K. Smith as Winslow.
Rounding out the company are Brinae Ali, Kurt Csolak, Aniya Danée, Zachary Downer, Francine Espiritu, Izaiah Montaque Harris, Madison Hilligoss, Ben Lanham, John Manzari, Jodeci Millhouse, Dario Natarelli, Janelle Neal, Justin Prescott, and Bethany Tesarck.
Working from Henry Krieger and Robert Lorick's score and Charles Blackwell's book, Encores!'s production features a concert adaptation penned by Stick Fly playwright Lydia Diamond. Joining Leon and Diamond on the creative team are choreographer Jared Grimes and guest music director Joseph Joubert, along with scenic designer Derek McLane, costume designer Dede Ayite, lighting designer Allen Lee Hughes, and sound designer Kai Harada. Casting is by The Telsey Office.
The Tap Dance Kid premiered on Broadway in 1983, with a production starring Hinton Battle, Hattie Winston, and Samuel E. Wright; later Fresh Prince of Bel-Air star Alfonso Ribeiro, then just 12 years old, appeared as Willie, succeeded in 1984 by a then 10 year–old Savion Glover. With a new director and a revised songlist, the work played a national tour in 1985 and 1986, after which the musical has been largely unseen.
Encores! is led by Artistic Director Lear deBessonet, working alongside Music Director Rob Berman and Producing Creative Director Clint Ramos. Josh Clayton is supervisor of music administration and score restoration, and Adrian Alea is creative associate. Camille A. Brown, Eisa Davis, and Robert O'Hara serve as creative advisors, and Jenny Gersten is producer of musical theater.
City Center requires all artists, crew, staff, and audience members—both adults and children—provide proof of receiving a full COVID-19 vaccination, plus proof of receiving a COVID-19 booster for all those eligible. Approved masks must also be worn by audience members, staff, and crew while in the building. For more, visit NYCityCenter.org.