Get a first look and listen to the upcoming Louis Armstrong biomusical A Wonderful World from the rehearsal room as Ta’Rea Campbell, Brennyn Lark, Jennie Harney-Fleming, and Khalifa White sing "St. James Infirmary" in the video above.
A Wonderful World, A New Musical about the Life and Loves of Louis Armstrong is set to play pre-Broadway runs at New Orleans' Saenger Theatre October 1-8 and Chicago's Cadillac Palace October 11-29. Tony winner James Monroe Iglehart leads the company as the jazz legend, opposite Campbell (The Lion King, The Book of Mormon) as Lucille Wilson, Harney-Fleming (The Color Purple, Hamilton) as Lil Hardin, Lark (Six, Les Misérables) as Alpha Smith, and White (Caroline, or Change; Little Shop of Horrors) as Daisy Parker.
The cast also includes DeWitt Fleming, Jr. (Encores! The Tap Dance Kid) as Lincoln Perry, Gavin Gregory (The Color Purple) as King Joe Oliver, Matthew Greenwood (1923) as Johnny Collins, Lindsey Corey (Miami New Drama's A Wonderful World) as Ensemble/Rachel the Reporter, and Matt Wolpe (Finding Neverland) as Joe Glaser, with ensemble members Ronnie Bowman, Eean Cochran, Jamal Christopher Douglas, Alexandra Frohlinger, Afra Hines, Alan Kelly, Ashley McManus, Aurelia Michael, Alysha Morgan, Jarran Muse, Aaron Michael Ray, Khadijah Rolle, Dave Schoonover, Brett Sturgis, Renell Taylor, and Dori Waymer rounding out the company.
The producing team features stage and screen star Vanessa Williams, as well as Thomas E. Rodgers, Jr., Renee Rodgers, Andrew Delaplaine, Liz Curtis, and Martian Entertainment (Carl D. White and Gregory Rae).
Conceived by Tony nominee Christopher Renshaw (The King and I, Taboo), who also directs, and novelist Andrew Delaplaine, A Wonderful World has an original book by author Aurin Squire (This Is Us) and features songs made popular by Armstrong. The new musical tells the story of jazz legend Louis Armstrong, from his early days in New Orleans through five decades of international stardom, through the eyes of the women in his life.
Annastasia Victory (Caroline, or Change) and Michael O. Mitchell (MJ the Musical) provide original music, arrangements, orchestrations, and music direction with choreography by Rickey Tripp (Once on This Island, Choir Boy). Christina Sajous is the associate director, and Aurelia Michael is the associate choreographer with DeWitt Fleming, Jr. providing specialty tap choreography.
The production features scenic and projection design by Adam Koch and Steven Royal, costume design by Toni-Leslie James, hair and wig design by Cookie Jordan, lighting design by Cory Pattak, and sound design by Kai Harada. Casting is by ARC Casting's Duncan Stewart.
Miami New Drama produced the world premiere of A Wonderful World in December 2021 at the Colony Theatre. Private industry readings of A Wonderful World were presented in September 2022 in Manhattan, also starring Iglehart.