A new musical about a runaway slave who becomes one of America's first Black Cowboys will debut this fall when CROSS THAT RIVER is presented by The New York Musical Theatre Festival and Patricia Harris, starting October 12, 2009 at TBG Theatre (312 West 36th Street - 3rd Floor) in New York City.
A trio of eminent artists collaborate on this premiere production of CROSS THAT RIVER: music, lyrics and original concept are by the celebrated jazz vocalist Allan Harris, book and direction are by 4-time Emmy winner Andrew Wilk, and choreography is by the legendary Donna McKechnie, a Tony Award winner for the original landmark production of A CHORUS LINE on Broadway. She will again team up with James Kinney as associate choreographer.
With infectious music ranging from country and bluegrass to soul, blues and rock gospel - CROSS THAT RIVER depicts the sometimes tragic, sometimes humorous life and times of Blue, a run-away slave who escapes to Texas to become one of America's first Black Cowboys.
The cast of CROSS THAT RIVER features: Whitney Bashor (last seen Off-Broadway in THE FANTASTICKS), Brandon Gill ("Sorcerers Apprentice" opposite Nicholas Cage), Soara-Joye Ross (Broadway: LES MISERABLES, DANCE OF THE VAMPIRES), Wendy Fox (National Tour of RENT), Joseph Melendez (Broadway: JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR), Tony Perry (the World-Premiere of A SHELTER IN OUR CAR), and Charles Wallace (Broadway: MISS SAIGON, SMOKEY JOE'S CAFÉ, etc).
CROSS THAT RIVER has music, lyrics and an original concept by Allan Harris, book and direction by Andrew Carl Wilk, choreography by Donna McKechnie, musical direction by David John Madore, set and costume design by Anne Patterson, sound design by Timmothy Brannigan, lighting design by Matt Frey, and projection design by Michael Clark.
Composer Allan Harris is a jazz vocalist, songwriter and actor, a three-time winner of the New York Nightlife Award for "Outstanding Jazz Vocalist." Tony Bennett calls him "my favorite singer." CROSS THAT RIVER debuted at the O'Neill Theater Center in July 2008 and has been performed at the Kennedy Center. Mr. Harris' recordings include "Setting the Standard," "It's a Wonderful World," "Here Comes Allan Harris and the Metropole Orchestra," "Love Came, the Songs of Strayhorn," "Long Live the King," etc.
Book writer and director Andrew Wilk has been nominated for 12 Emmy Awards, winning four times. His numerous credits in television as producer, director, writer includes 12 years with National Geographic Channel and PBS broadcasts of George C. Wolfe's "The Colored Museum," "Meeting with Mandela," "Inside the Pentagon" and "Inside the Great Pyramid Live." He has conducted countless musicals and symphony concerts as musical director of Paper Mill Playhouse.