Cabin in the Sky OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS

Photo: Sara Krulwich
  • NY TIMES

  • Opening Night:
    February 10, 2016
    Closing:
    February 14, 2016

    Theater: New York City Center / 130 West 55th Street, New York, NY, 10019

    Synopsis: 

    Originally produced in 1940, "Cabin in the Sky" followed "Porgy and Bess" in celebrating African-American music and dance traditions. The musical tells the story of “Little Joe” Jackson (Michael Potts), a charming ne’er-do-well who dies in a saloon brawl and is given six months on earth to prove his worth to the Lord’s General (Tony Award nominee Norm Lewis) and the Devil’s Head Man (Tony Award winner Chuck Cooper)—all while struggling to remain true to his loving wife Petunia (Tony Award winner LaChanze) and resist the wiles of temptress Georgia Brown (Carly Hughes). Long considered a lost treasure, the score of Cabin in the Sky—which includes jazz hits like “Taking a Chance on Love” and “Happiness Is a Thing Called Joe”—will be restored to its original glory for Encores!

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  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF Cabin in the Sky

    God and Devil Gamble on a Soul in ‘Cabin in the Sky’

    Charles Isherwood

    February 11, 2016: The Devil and the Lord fight a war by proxy for the soul of a sweet but feckless fellow in “Cabin in the Sky,” an all-black musical from 1940 that kicks off the Encores! season at City Center. A central mission of this beloved series, now more than two decades old, is resurrecting musicals whose scores still shine even as their books have faded into irrelevance. This production — musically vibrant, dramatically a dud — for better and worse offers a prime example of the genre. Michael Potts plays the nominally central figure, Little Joe Jackson, who is on his deathbed — literally — as the musical begins. A powerfully sung a cappella version of the spiritual “God’s Gonna Trouble the Waters” (anyone who’s seen Alvin Ailey’s “Revelations” more than once could probably sing along) kicks the show into high gear on the musical front. Although the ample score is by Vernon Duke (music) and John LaTouche (lyrics), “Cabin in the Sky” features a couple of traditional spirituals, and this production also includes “Happiness Is a Thing Called Joe,” a much-recorded standard written by Harold Arlen and E. Y. Harburg for the movie version, which jettisoned many of the original songs.

    READ THE REVIEW

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