Manhattan Theatre Club’s production of Tarell Alvin McCraney’s Choir Boy will welcome a new cast member. Ryan Jamaal Swain of the FX series Pose, will make his Broadway debut in the play running at the Friedman Theatre on February 26, 2019. He will join the ensemble and understudy the role of Pharus. Swain is also known in theatre circles for writing and starring in his one-man play A Negro Writer. Additional stage credits include Kill Move Paradise and 13 Alabama Ghosts andJeffrey.
Initially a limited-engagement, Choir Boy has now extended through March 10, 2019. The show’s star Jeremy Pope will depart the production on February 24. He will join the cast of the forthcoming Broadway musical Ain’t Too Proud—The Life and Times of The Temptations. Jonathan Burke will take over the role of Pharus for the remainder of the show’s run.
Choir Boy is directed by Trip Cullman with choreography by Camille A. Brown. The cast is composed of Nicholas L. Ashe as Junior Blake, John Clay III as Anthony Justin “AJ” James, Chuck Cooper as Headmaster Marrow, Caleb Eberhardt as David Heard, J. Quinton Johnson as Bobby Marrow, Austin Pendleton as Mr. Pendleton, and Jeremy Pope as Pharus. The ensemble of Choir Boy is composed of Daniel Bellomy, Burke, Gerald Caesar, and Marcus Gladney.
According to the MTC website, Choir Boy is explained as follows: “For half a century, the Charles R. Drew Prep School for Boys has been dedicated to the education of strong, ethical black men. One talented student has been waiting for years to take his rightful place as the leader of the legendary gospel choir. But can he make his way through the hallowed halls of this institution if he sings in his own key?”
Mark Robinson is the author of the two-volume encyclopedia The World of Musicals, The Disney Song Encyclopedia, and The Encyclopedia of Television Theme Songs. He maintains a theater and entertainment blog at markrobinsonwrites.com.
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