Actor-pianist Tom Frey joins the cast in Hartford Stage's World Premiere of Breath & Imagination - The Story of Roland Hayes, directed by Darko Tresnjak, on stage from tonight, January 11 through February 3.
Jubilant Sykes (Sacred Music USA's Vocalist of the Year) will portray Roland Hayes, while Kecia Lewis-Evans (Broadway's Leap of Faith) will portray Roland Hayes' mother, Angel Mo'. Tom Frey will complete the cast as The Accompanist/Officer/Pa/Preacher/Mr. Calhoun/Miss Robinson/ Frenchman/King George V.
Tom Frey has been involved with the touring musical production, 2 Pianos/4 Hands, for over 10 years and has performed the show over 750 times, including a performance here at Hartford Stage. His other credits include Ancestral Voices, Arms and the Man, Admirable Crichton, 39 Steps, Dirty Blonde, Souvenir, Woman in Black, Free Man of Color, Anything Goes, Billy Bishop Goes to War, and A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline.
Before Marian Anderson and Paul Robeson, there was Roland Hayes - the first world-renowned African-American classical vocalist. Born the son of a slave, Roland discovered his voice as a young boy singing spirituals in church. This world premiere, musical play, Breath & Imagination - The Story of Roland Hayes, chronicles his amazing journey from a plantation in Georgia, to singing before kings and queens in Europe. Breath & Imagination - The Story of Roland Hayes explores the life of an American pioneer through words, movement, spirituals and classical music.
The production also features set design by David P. Gordon; costume design by Fabio Toblini; lighting design by York Kennedy; music direction by Mike Ruckles; and sound design by Jane Shaw.
Breath & Imagination - The Story of Roland Hayes is produced in association with City Theatre in Pittsburgh. Principal production support for Breath & Imagination - The Story of Roland Hayes by Travelers, with additional support from Robinson & Cole, LLP and Fairview Capital.
Tickets for Breath & Imagination - The Story of Roland Hayes are available by calling the Hartford Stage box office at 860-527-5151 or by visiting www.hartfordstage.org.
Hartford Stage, since its founding in 1963, has been known for innovative revivals of classics and the development of important new works, including 65 World or American premieres. Recent work includes Quiara Alegria Hudes' Water by the Spoonful, winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Drama; Horton Foote's The Orphans' Home Cycle which had a celebrated run at the Signature Theatre in New York during the 2009-2010 season; a landmark production of Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird; the premieres of Michael Kramer's Divine Rivalry; and Daniel Beaty's Resurrection (later retitled Through the Night, which had a successful run off-Broadway during the 2010-11 season). In 1998 the theatre launched an unprecedented ten-year retrospective of Tennessee Williams, which included the premiere of three plays. Other new work includes the premieres of Eve Ensler's Necessary Targets, Edward Albee's At Home at the Zoo, Matthew Barber's Enchanted April (which transferred to Broadway), Matthew Lombardo's Tea at Five, and many others. The theatre has earned numerous distinguished honors, including a Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre, the Margo Jones Award, OBIE awards, New York Critics Circle and Drama Desk awards. In 2005 Hartford Stage was awarded The Hartford Courant's Tapestry Award recognizing its outstanding work in diversity, and in 2008 it was awarded the Bank of America Neighborhood Builder's Award recognizing its excellence in building community in Greater Hartford. Hartford Stage is currently under the leadership of Artistic Director Darko Tresnjak and Managing Director Michael Stotts.