Cast Set for NYTW and the National Black Theater World Premiere of Somi Kakoma’s Dreaming Zenzile Musical

Lileana Blain-Cruz will direct the co-production about South African performer and civil rights activist Miriam Makeba.

Casting complete for New York Theater Workshop and National Black Theater co-production of Grammy-nominated Somi Kakoma Dream Zenzile. Previews for the new work begin May 17 at the New York Theater Workshop with an opening night set for June 1. The broadcast is scheduled until June 26.

The musical is based on the life of South African musical artist and civil rights activist Miriam Makeba, delving into her work and how she connected with the people of the moment and the ancestors who called her .

Phumzile Sojola


The cast will be led by Kakoma as Miriam Makeba with Aaron Marcellus, Naledi Masilo and Phumzile Sojola as Sangoma Chorus. Additional casting will be announced at a later date.

The production group will also be present, including Toru Dodo on piano, Pathé Jassi on bass, Hervé Samb on guitar and Sheldon Thwaites on percussion; the musicians will play original music as well as interpretations from the Makeba catalog.

Director Lileana Blain-Cruz leads a creative team that also includes set designer Riccardo Hernandez, costume designer Mimi Plange, lighting designer Yi Zhao, sound designer Justin Ellington, projection designer Hannah Wasileski, choreographer Marjorie Forté-Saunders, Talvin Wilks playwright and musical director. Hervé Samb. Abigail jean-baptiste is the associate director and Egypt Dixon is the stage manager.

For culture, affinity events have also been announced for select shows, including Black Theater Night in partnership with Black Boys Do Theater on May 25, Black Theater Night in partnership with Black Girls Do Theater on June 7, Apollo Night in partnership with the Apollo Theater on June 16. , and Open Street: Open Mic on June 23 in partnership with Poetic Theater Productions, FABnyc.

Kakoma also released a companion album to the show titled Zenzile: the reimagining of Miriam Makeba.

CHEAPTIX performances have been announced for May 17 and 18. CHEAPTIX is NYTW’s affordable ticket program developed to open access to the surrounding community and people with limited incomes. CHEAPTIX emergency tickets and free tickets through an initiative for members of the theater community who have lost their jobs during the pandemic will also be available.

The world premiere features seven producers: Octopus Theatricals, National Black Theatre, Repertory Theater of St. Louis, McCarter Theater Center, Arts Emerson, Apollo Theater and New York Theater Workshop.

Visit NYTW.org.

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