Producers Thomas E. Rodgers Jr., Renee Rodgers, Andrew Delaplaine, and Martian Entertainment (Carl D. White and Gregory Rae), are thrilled to announce A Wonderful World, A New Musical about the Life and Loves of Louis Armstrong will play a series of pre-Broadway engagements this fall.
Mirroring Armstrong’s own musical path from New Orleans to Chicago, A Wonderful World will premiere at the Saenger Theatre in New Orleans, LA from October 1-8, 2023 before coming to Chicago, IL for a strictly limited engagement from October 11-29, 2023, at Broadway In Chicago’s Cadillac Palace Theatre.
Starring in the role of Armstrong is Tony Award® winner James Monroe Iglehart (Aladdin). A Wonderful World is the singular story of jazz legend, Grammy Award® winner, and American icon Louis Armstrong, as told by the women in his life. Armstrong’s innovative musicianship and incredible charisma as trumpet player and vocalist would lead him from the early days of jazz in his native New Orleans to five decades of international stardom.
“We’re especially looking forward to hosting A Wonderful World, which tells the story of Louis Armstrong, a native New Orleanian and musical pioneer,” said David Skinner, general manager of the Saenger Theatre. The production is part of the Broadway in New Orleans 2023/2024 season subscription, announced earlier today.
Conceived by Drama Desk Award winner and Tony Award nominee, Christopher Renshaw (Broadway’s The King and I, Taboo), and novelist Andrew Delaplaine, A Wonderful World has an original book by author Aurin Squire (“This is Us,” “The Good Fight,” “Evil”) and features songs recorded and made popular by Armstrong. Wife and husband team Annastasia Victory (Caroline, or Change; Once on This Island) and Michael O. Mitchell (MJ the Musical, Motown), provide original music, arrangements, orchestrations and music direction. Renshaw directs the production, with choreography by Rickey Tripp (Associate Choreographer for Broadway’s Once on This Island and Choir Boy). Christina Sajous serves as Associate Director and Aurelia Michael as Associate Choreographer.
For Chicagoans, A Wonderful World will be part of the 2023 Fall Season and will go on sale to subscribers later this spring. Tickets are available now for groups of 10 or more by calling Broadway In Chicago Group Sales at (312) 977-1710 or emailing GroupSales@BroadwayInChicago.
JAMES INGLEHART (Louis Armstrong) won the Tony Award for Best Featured Actor for his comedic turn as the Genie in Disney’s Aladdin and has appeared on Broadway in Chicago, Hamilton and Freestyle Love Supreme. His television and film credits include the Netflix series “Maniac,” “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” “Elementary,” “Law & Order: SVU,” “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” Disney’s Disenchanted. Iglehart has lent his voice to many animated characters for Disney, Nickelodeon and Apple TV. Iglehart has written stories for Marvel Comic Books and lent his voice to many animated characters for Disney, Nickelodeon, DreamWorks, and Apple TV.
Aurin Squire (Book) is a playwright, reporter, and television writer from South Florida. Squire is a co-executive producer on the tv dramas “The Good Fight” and “Evil.” He has been nominated for two NAACP Image Awards for Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series, a BlackReel Award, and a WGA Award for his work on “This is Us.” In theatre, Squire’s plays have been produced in London, Toronto, and around the United States. He has been awarded the Helen Merrill Award for Emerging Playwrights, Seattle Public Theatre’s Emerald Prize for new plays, and National Black Theatre’s “I Am Soul” playwriting fellowship. Squire was also a writer on Miami New Drama’s 7 Deadly Sins, which won a Drama League Award for Outstanding Interactive Theatre. He is a New Dramatists resident playwright, member of the Dramatists Guild of America, and the Writers Guild of America. He graduated from The Juilliard School and Northwestern University.
Michael O. Mitchell (Original Music, Arranger, Orchestrations & Music Director), an award winning pianist, music director, composer, arranger and orchestrator – endorsed Yamaha – is currently the Associate Conductor for the Tony winning, Grammy nominated Broadway hit MJ the Musical. He is also the Music Director for “Amateur Night at the Apollo” at Harlem’s Apollo Theater. Michael is on the composing team for a new musical Lucky Numbers, the story of the Nicholas Brothers. Select Broadway credits include Motown: The Musical (associate conductor); The Color Purple (keys/organ), Nice Work If You Can Get It (piano/accordion), Memphis (keys/organ. Select tour/regional credits include: Jesus Christ Superstar (starring Ted Neeley); Jesus Christ Superstar Gospel (conductor/music director – Suzi Bass Award winner for ‘Best Musical Director’); Dreamgirls (Dallas Theater Center – MD/conductor). Michael was a part of the music team for NBC’s award winning production of “The Wiz Live!” Michael arranged and recorded “Un Peu Plus Haut, Un Peu Plus Loin” (“A Little Higher, A Little Further”) for the 2010 Winter Olympics (Vancouver). He was commissioned to arrange and orchestrate “The Closer I Get To You/Where Is The Love,” premiered by the Houston Pops Orchestra. Michael’s arrangements and orchestrations have been performed by The Boston Pops, Philly Pops, San Diego Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony, and many others. Michael has arranged, performed, and/or recorded with artists like Lisa Fischer, Rickey Minor, Michael Bublé, India Arie, Billy Porter, Ledisi, Michael J. Fox, Jennifer Holiday, Leslie Odom, Jr., Hinton Battle, Jazmin Sullivan, Christian McBride, Joshua Henry, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Mario Cantone, Johnny Gill, and many more. Michael is a member of AFM:Local 802; SAG/AFTRA. www.michaelmitchellmusic.com
Annastasia Victory (Original Music, Arranger, Orchestrations & Music Director) is an internationally-acclaimed pianist, composer, arranger, conductor, orchestrator and recording artist. Her TV and Film credits include “Live from Lincoln Center: Stars in Concert” feat. Cynthia Erivo (Arranger/Orchestrator/
Christopher Renshaw (Co-Conceiver/Director). Tony Award nominee Christopher Renshaw has directed theater and operas all over the world from the Sydney Opera House to the Royal Opera House Covent Garden. He has directed plays and musicals in London’s West End and on Broadway, most notably the Tony Award-winning revival of The King and I. Additional productions include Taboo with Boy George, We Will Rock You, Zorro, and Carmen La Cubana.
Andrew Delaplaine (Co-Conceiver) is a novelist with some 30 books to his credit in a variety of genres. He’s also written several screenplays, winning the Milan International Film Festival award for best original screenplay for Meeting Spencer.
Rickey Tripp (Choreographer)Director/