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HomeBollywoodSufjan Stevens Musical 'Illinoise' Heading To Broadway As Late-Season Entry

Sufjan Stevens Musical ‘Illinoise’ Heading To Broadway As Late-Season Entry

Illinoise, the acclaimed dance-musical stage adaptation of Sufjan Stevens’ 2005 concept album Illinois, will transfer from Off Broadway‘s Park Avenue Armory to Broadway’s St. Jame Theatre next month, arriving just a day before this season’s Tony Award eligibility cut-off date.

The musical, with direction and choreography from Justin Peck and a book by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Jackie Sibblies Drury, begins performances with a matinee at the St. James on Wednesday, April 24, which will serve as the engagement’s Tony-qualifying opening performance. Broadway reviews will be embargoed to Friday, April 26, a day after the April 25 Tony cut-off.

In a busy late-season Broadway schedule unrivaled in memory, Illinoise becomes the 14th show scheduled to open between April 11 and April 25. Three of those dates will see not one but two shows open: Patriots and The Heart of Rock and Roll on April 22; Illinoise and Uncle Vanya on April 24; and Mother Play and The Great Gatsby on April 25.

Illinoise has received overwhelmingly positive reviews in prior sold-out stagings at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater and the current Park Avenue Armory production on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Those reviews (and ticket sales) no doubt emboldened Broadway producers Orin Wolf, John Styles, and David Binder (in association with Seaview, and Executive Producer Nate Koch) to squeeze the dance-musical hybrid into the Tony season with cast and crew intact.

The strictly limited Broadway engagement will run through Saturday, August 10.

“We’re absolutely thrilled to bring Illinoise to the St. James Theatre on Broadway,” said director-choreographer Peck in a statement. “This project has been ruminating in my mind for nearly 20 years, which makes this moment even more sublime. The audience response throughout our engagement at Fisher Center at Bard, Chicago Shakespeare Theater and Park Avenue Armory has been extraordinary, and we feel lucky that we get to continue sharing this unique show with future audiences on Broadway.”

Peck described Illinoise is “a coming-of-age story that takes the audience on a journey through the American heartland — from campfire storytelling to the edges of the cosmos — all told in through a unique blend of music, dance, and theater. On behalf of my team, we welcome this rare opportunity with full hearts.”

The publicity shy Stevens, whose most recent album, 2023’s Javelin is the latest in a decades-long string of acclaimed works, has kept an even lower, virtually non-existent public profile since his surprising dual announcements last summer that a Guillain-Barré syndrome diagnoses had left him relearning to walk, and that his romantic partner had died the previous spring.

Stevens is credited as being part of the Broadway production’s creative team, although his specific involvement has not been made public.

Book writer Sibblies Drury said, “Supporting the craft of each of the artists involved in making up this show has been a joy and an inspiration. For me, the thing that makes Illinoise so special is how it allows incredible performers to come together with an audience and welcome emotion and connection with open arms. It is rare to have an experience, in a public space, that is moving on an elemental level, so we are all incredibly gratified to bring Illinoise to the St. James on Broadway.”

The cast of dancer-actors in Illinoise includes Yesenia Ayala, Kara Chan, Ben Cook, Gaby Diaz, Jeanette Delgado, Carlos Falu, Christine Flores, Jada German, Zachary Gonder, Rachel Lockhart, Brandt Martinez, Dario Natarelli, Tyrone Reese, Craig Salstein, Ahmad Simmons, Byron Tittle, Ricky Ubeda, and Alejandro Vargas.

The vocalists and band for Illinoise will be announced shortly.

In addition to Stevens, Peck, and Drury, the creative team includes Music Director and Supervisor Nathan Koci; Music Arranger and Orchestrator Timo Andres; Scenic Designer Adam Rigg; Lighting Designer Brandon Stirling Baker; Sound Designer Garth MacAleavey; Costume Designers Reid Bartelme and Harriet Jung; Props Designer Andrew Diaz; Mask Designer Julian Crouch; Associate Director and Choreographer Adriana Pierce; and Associate Music Director Sean Peter Forte.

Illinoise will be co-produced by Thomas O. Kriegsmann and the Fisher Center at Bard. The musical was originally developed, produced and premiered at the Fisher Center at Bard. Illinoise is a co-commission of the Fisher Center at Bard, Park Avenue Armory, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Southbank Centre, TO Live, and the Perelman Performing Arts Center (PAC NYC).

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