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Dessa Rose - casting announced

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

CYNTHIA Erivo (I Can’t Sing!, The Color Purple) will play the title role in the European premiere of Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty’s 2005 musical Dessa Rose, which runs at Trafalgar Studios from July 29 to August 30, 2014 .

Erivo will be joined by Jon Robyns (Avenue Q, Spamalot, Les Miserables) as Adam Nehemiah.

The two are currently staring in The Great British Musicals – in Concert at St James Theatre – on July 4 and July 5.

The cast will also include Cassidy Janson (Avenue Q, Wicked, Lend Me A Tenor – The Musical, Tick Tick …Boom!), John Addison, Edward Baruwa, Sharon Benson, Miquel Brown, Alexander Evans, Cameron Leigh, Fela Lufadeju, Gabriel Mokake and Abiona Omonua.

Previously Posted: Dessa Rose, with lyrics by Lynn Ahrens and music by Stephen Flaherty (Ragtime, Once On This Island, Seussical and Rocky The Musical), will receive its European premiere at Trafalgar Studios, where it runs from July 29 to August 30, 2014.

Based on the book by Sherley Anne Williams, Dessa Rose is described as a powerful and moving story. Set in 1846 in the ante-bellum South, it follows two young women on their journey to acceptance. With elements of blues, folk, hymns and gospel, Dessa Rose perfectly blends history and fiction.

Passionate and innocent Dessa Rose is a young slave faced with a barrage of hardships because of the colour of her skin. While Ruth, a young white mother, faces difficulties because of her gender.

Ruth and Dessa ‘hand down the story’ to their grandchildren, reliving the adventure they experienced together. Through their extraordinary tale we see their deep and lasting bond and how this makes them part of a long, strong line of women.

Dessa Rose is directed by multi award-winning director Andrew Keates, who said: “In our current political climate, I can think of no better time to tell this visceral story of how we can learn from those that are different to us and also form lifelong relationships indiscriminate of age, gender and race.”

Dessa Rose is produced by Arion Productions, whose previous work includes Passing By, As Is, Rooms – A Rock Romance and Howard Goodall’s A Winter’s Tale.

Also at Trafalgar Studios: Theatre503’s West End SeasonA Handful of Stars with Keith Duffy (until July 25, 2014) and the acclaimed debut play by Chris Urch, Land of Our Fathers (September 2 to October 4, 2014).