Illinoise to Open on Broadway This Spring

The critically-acclaimed new musical Illinoise, the theatrical adaptation of Grammy- and Oscar-nominated Sufjan Stevens’ concept album Illinois, has announced it will open on Broadway this spring. Stevens’ beloved cult classic “springs to epic life on stage (Washington Post)” with live music and vocals, impressionistic choreography, and narratives centering on self-exploration and community, crafted by Tony Award-winning director-choreographer Justin Peck (Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story, Carousel) and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Jackie Sibblies Drury (Fairview, Marys Seacole).

The new Broadway musical will begin performances Wednesday, April 24 at 2 p.m. at the St. James Theatre, which will also act as the engagement’s opening performance. The musical will open on Broadway just in time to be eligible for this year’s Tony Awards with the eligibility cut-off date for the 2023-2024 season being Thursday, April 25, 2024.

Illinoise moves to Broadway direct from two critically acclaimed sold-out productions at the Park Avenue Armory and Chicago Shakespeare Theater.

A company of performers brings the original story to life, set to the entirety of Stevens’ album with new arrangements by composer, pianist, and frequent Stevens collaborator Timo Andres, ranging in style from DIY folk and indie rock to marching band and ambient electronics, performed live by an 11-member band and three vocalists. Illinoise is a “mysterious, deeply moving and unforgettable dance-musical hybrid that explores the hot zone between childhood and adulthood when emotions can be at their most overwhelming. The vocalists do not seem to sing so much as pour emotion into our ears. (New York Times).”

The cast of Illinoise includes Yesenia Ayala (West Side Story film, on Broadway in West Side Story), Kara Chan (Twyla Tharp Dance, Pam Tanowitz Dance), Ben Cook (West Side Story film, on Broadway in West Side Story), Gaby Diaz (Winner of So You Think You Can Dance?; Maestro, West Side Story film, and tick, tick… BOOM!), Jeanette Delgado (Miami City Ballet, West Side Story film), Carlos Falu (West Side Story film), Christine Flores (Dance Heginbotham, Pam Tanowitz Dance), Jada German (Twyla Tharp Dance, Metropolitan Opera), Zachary Gonder (Carmen at Lyric Opera, Pam Tanowitz Dance), Rachel Lockhart (Juilliard’s Choreographic Honors program, Jacob’s Pillow), Brandt Martinez (Aladdin), Dario Natarelli (New York City Center Encores!, Maestro), Tyrone Reese (Juilliard School), Craig Salstein (American Ballet Theatre, associate choreographer for West Side Story and Maestro films, Carousel on Broadway), Ahmad Simmons (Fosse/Verdon on FX, Hadestown), Byron Tittle (Dorrance Dance, In the Heights film), Ricky Ubeda (winner of So You Think You Can Dance Season 11; FX’s Fosse/Verdon) and Alejandro Vargas (Juilliard School).

“We’re absolutely thrilled to bring Illinoise to the St. James Theatre on Broadway. This project has been ruminating in my mind for nearly 20 years, which makes this moment even more sublime,” says Justin Peck. The audience response throughout our engagement at Fisher Center at Bard, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, and Park Avenue Armory has been extraordinary, and we feel lucky that we get to continue sharing this unique show with future audiences on Broadway. Illinoise is a coming-of-age story that takes the audience on a journey through the American heartland — from campfire storytelling to the edges of the cosmos — all told in through a unique blend of music, dance, and theater. On behalf of my team, we welcome this rare opportunity with full hearts.”

Jackie Sibblies Drury said, “Supporting the craft of each of the artists involved in making up this show has been a joy and an inspiration. For me, the thing that makes Illinoise so special is how it allows incredible performers to come together with an audience and welcome emotion and connection with open arms. It is rare to have an experience, in a public space, that is moving on an elemental level, so we are all incredibly gratified to bring Illinoise to the St. James on Broadway.”

In addition to Stevens, Peck, and Drury, the creative team includes Music Director and Supervisor Nathan Koci, Music Arranger and Orchestrator Timo Andres, Scenic Designer Adam Rigg, Lighting Designer Brandon Stirling Baker, Sound Designer Garth MacAleavey, Costume Designers Reid Bartelme and Harriet Jung, Props Designer Andrew Diaz, Mask Designer Julian Crouch, Associate Director and Choreographer Adriana Pierce, Associate Music Director Sean Peter Forte, Production Stage Manager Thomas Gates, Production Management by Aurora Productions and Brian Freeland, General Management by TT Partners.

The vocalists and band for Illinoise will be announced shortly.

Learn More About Illinoise