Pre-Broadway: A WONDERFUL WORLD, THE LIFE AND LOVES OF LOUIS ARMSTRONG / A New Musical (New Orleans & Chicago)

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by Lamont Williams on January 24, 2023

in Theater-New York,Theater-Regional


It has been announced that A Wonderful World, A New Musical about the Life and Loves of Louis Armstrong will play a pre-Broadway engagement in New Orleans and Chicago this fall with James Monroe Iglehart (Aladdin) starring as Armstrong. 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 for a strictly limited engagement from October 11-29, 2023, at Broadway In Chicago’s Cadillac Palace Theatre.

A Wonderful World is the singular story of jazz legend 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.

James Monroe Iglehart

Conceived by Christopher Renshaw (Broadway’s The King and ITaboo), and novelist Andrew DelaplaineA 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).

Miami New Drama produced the World Premiere production of A Wonderful World on December 11, 2021 at the Colony Theatre in Miami Beach, FL.BIOGRAPHIES James Monroe Iglehart (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 ChicagoHamilton 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, 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.

Michael 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 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. 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.

Annastasia Victory (Original MusicArranger, 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/Conductor/MD/Pianist); “3 Mo’ Divas” on PBS (Music Director/Conductor/Pianist, NAACP Image Award Nominee); Ayodele Casel: Chasing Magic at The Joyce Theater (Composer/Pianist, Bessie Award Nominee); “Late Night With Seth Meyers” with Caroline, or Change (Conductor/Pianist). Broadway credits include Caroline, or Change (Associate Conductor/Piano/Organ); Once on This Island (Conductor/Piano); MJ the Musical (Conductor/keys); Tina – The Tina Turner Musical (keys1); The Color Purple (keys/organ); Mean Girls (lead piano); Violet (piano/organ); Nice Work If You Can Get It (lead piano); Billy Elliot the Musical (lead piano); An American In Paris (lead piano); Jersey Boys (keys2). Select collaborations include Leslie Odom, Jr., Cynthia Erivo, Billy Porter, Renée Fleming, Tituss Burgess, Deborah Cox, Joshua Bell, Savion Glover, Joe Iconis, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Brooke Shields. Music available on all platforms

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 YouZorro, 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/Choreographer: RENT, Boston Conservatory at Berklee and The Temptations Tribute. Choreographer: A Raisin in the Sun (Public Theater, NYC) Kinky Boots (Broadway at Music Circus), X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X (Detroit Opera, Opera Omaha), RENT (Signature Theater), A Wonderful World, World Premiere (Miami New Drama), In the Heights (Dallas Theatre Center), and Hairspray (DTC-Winspear Opera).

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