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Joshua Henry, Shereen Pimentel & More Join Upcoming Encores! Season

December 3rd, 2021 | By Lindsey Sullivan

New York City Center has announced additional casting for the 2022 Encores! season. As previously reported, the next chapter of the series, led by Artistic Director Lear deBessonet, Producing Creative Director Clint Ramos and Music Director Rob Berman will include The Tap Dance Kid, The Life and Into the Woods.

The 1983 Tony-nominated musical The Tap Dance Kid will play from February 2, 2022 through February 6. Led by Tony-winning director Kenny Leon, the musical tells the story of 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. Joining the cast are Tracee Beazer as Carole, DeWitt Fleming as Daddy Bates, Joshua Henry as William, Shahadi Wright Joseph as Emma, Chance K. Smith as Winslow, Adrienne Walker as Ginnie and Alexander Bello as Willie. Trevor Jackson will now step into the role of Uncle Dipsey. Dulé Hill, who was previously announced in the role, is no longer able to perform due to scheduling conflicts. With music by Henry Krieger, lyrics by Robert Lorick and book by Charles Blackwell and based on the novel Nobody’s Family is Going to Change by Louise Fitzhugh, the production features new tap sequences by choreographer Jared Grimes and concert adaptation by scribe Lydia Diamond. Joseph Joubert will music direct.

Next up is the Tony-nominated musical The Life from March 16 through March 20. Emmy and Tony winner Billy Porter will adapt the story and direct. Alexandra Grey, Antwayn Hopper and Erika Olson join previously announced cast members Mykal Kilgore, Ledisi and Ken Robinson. Destan Owens will now step into the role of Old Jojo in place of Chuck Cooper, who was previously announced in the role. The Life will feature choreography by Tony-nominated choreographer AC Ciulla, stepping in for Encores! Creative Advisor Camille A. Brown. Broadway’s James Sampliner will guest music direct.

Shereen Pimentel (Photo by Emilio Madrid for

The third show in the series, Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s Into the Woods, directed by Lear deBessonet, will feature Heather Headley as the Witch, Sara Bareilles as the Baker’s Wife, Christian Borle as the Baker and Ashley Park as Cinderella. Jordan Donica and Shereen Pimentel join the cast as Rapunzel’s Prince and Rapunzel, respectively, alongside newcomers Julia Lester as Little Red Riding Hood and Cole Thompson as Jack. The two-week run, which will take place from May 4 through May 15, ushers in a new annual tradition at Encores! celebrating an iconic American musical. These productions bring together Broadway’s brightest stars with a multi-generational group, including New York City public school students, to highlight the ways theater connects us across generations. Into the Woods will feature choreography by Jamal Sims and music direction by Encores! Music Director Rob Berman. The Spring Gala will take place on the opening night, May 4, and include a benefit dinner with the cast and creative team at the Plaza Hotel.

Additional casting for all Encores! productions will be announced at a later date. City Center will operate a fully vaccinated venue—artists, crew, staff and audience members will need to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination.


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