Amber Riley ("Glee") joins original cast members Brandon Victor Dixon, Jared Grimes and Adriane Lenox in New York City Center's acclaimed production of Duke Ellington's Cotton Club Parade, returning to City Center for seven performances from November 14–18, 2012. Conceived by Jack Viertel and presented under the auspices of City Center's Tony Award–winning Encores! series, Cotton Club Parade will once again be directed and choreographed by Warren Carlyle, with music direction by Jazz at Lincoln Center Artistic Director Wynton Marsalis. The show will feature the Jazz at Lincoln Center All Stars under the direction of Daryl Waters.
Cotton Club Parade opened at City Center on November 18, 2011 for a limited, six-performance run and received unanimous rave reviews. It was hailed as "90 minutes of singing, dancing, orchestral oomph and, in short, pure joy" by The Daily News and named Best Jazz Moment of 2011 by The Wall Street Journal. The New York Times said it "made period jazz come to life with a focused intensity and rhythmic savvy that left me open-mouthed with wonder."
In addition to Brandon Victor Dixon, Jared Grimes, Adriane Lenox and Amber Riley (who is making her N.Y. stage debut), the Cotton Club Parade cast includes Alexandria "Brinae Ali" Bradley, Andrew "Dr.Ew" Carter, Kyra Da Costa, Carmen Ruby Floyd, La Tanya Hall, Jeremiah "Supaman" Haynes, Christopher Jackson, Monroe Kent III, Karine Plantadit, T. Oliver Reid and Britton Smith, with Tanya Birl, Christopher Broughton, Wilkie Ferguson, Chanon Judson, Marielys Molina, Erin Moore, Jason Samuels Smith, Monique Smith, Daniel J. Watts and J.L. Williams.
Cotton Club Parade is a Broadway-style revue celebrating Ellington's years at the famed Harlem nightclub in the 1920s and '30s, when the joint was jumping with revues featuring big band swing and blues. As in the original shows, Cotton Club Parade will feature singers, dancers and variety acts, with songs by the greatest jazz composers of the time, including Jimmy McHugh and Dorothy Fields ("I Can't Give You Anything But Love" and "Digga Digga Doo"), a young Harold Arlen ("Stormy Weather," "I've Got the World on a String," "Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea,"), and of course, Duke Ellington ("Rockin' in Rhythm," "Cotton Club Stomp," "Black and Tan Fantasy," and "Creole Love Call").