CABIN IN THE SKY
February 10 - 14, 2016
New York City Center - New York, NY
Originally produced in 1940, Cabin in the Sky followed Porgy and Bess in celebrating African-American music and dance traditions. The musical tells the story of “Little Joe” Jackson (Michael Potts), a charming ne’er-do-well who dies in a saloon brawl and is given six months on earth to prove his worth to the Lord’s General (Tony Award nominee Norm Lewis) and the Devil’s Head Man (Tony Award winner Chuck Cooper)—all while struggling to remain true to his loving wife Petunia (Tony Award winner LaChanze) and resist the wiles of temptress Georgia Brown (Carly Hughes). Long considered a lost treasure, the score of Cabin in the Sky—which includes jazz hits like “Taking a Chance on Love” and “Happiness Is a Thing Called Joe”—will be restored to its original glory for Encores!
Associate Choreographer: Rickey Tripp
Assistant Choreographer: Catherine Foster
"...Camille A. Brown, given the daunting task of choreographing the many dance interludes, does her best to keep things moving. Her fantasy ballet fizzles, but when the action moves to the nightclub where Little Joe flashes his cash, Ms. Brown’s dances jump to life and are performed with brio."
- New York Times
"Along with sinewy and spirited dances by Camille A. Brown, the standouts in this staging directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson are the perhaps lesser-known "Do What You Wanna Do," sung by Cooper and devilish aides who lend dazzling harmonies, and Hughes' saucy "Honey in the Honeycomb."
- New York Daily News
"One understands the appeal such an eclectic score would have had for a multifaceted choreographer like Balanchine. While his original dances forCabin have been lost to history (unlike the ubiquitous and aggressively licensed work of Jerome Robbins), we get a sense of what they might have looked like through the imaginative choreography of Camille A. Brown. Dancers jeté across the stage in a ballet of vice meant to tempt Joe. Couples bump and grind in the local watering hole. A sexy, sweaty rumba brings a little Havana to the Latin-infused song "Savannah." It's very sophisticated and impressively executed by the ensemble."
"Perhaps ironically, given City Center’s continuing fiction that (despite top ticket prices that rival Broadway’s) Encores is a concert series, the production stands out most for its dancing. Choreographer Camille A. Brown commands her sliver of the stage with movement that variously slinks and shimmies and soars."
- DC Theatre Scene
"Happily, the choreography, by Camille A. Brown, did, too. It was really only in her vivid and unusual dances, based on contemporary social forms but feeling at the same time oddly angled and modern, that the world of A Cabin in the Sky achieved a specific physical life. She tells her own story, not someone else’s — and, ultimately, that may be the best reason for Encores! to keep exploring the difficult tradition from which A Cabin in the Sky arose. Appropriated stories should eventually be taken back."