Trav’lin – The 1930s Harlem Musical Romance, a joyous celebration of jazz-age love with a classic jazz and blues score, receives its Southeast regional premiere to kick off the Mainstage series at the Winter Park Playhouse from Florida. The show runs from January 27 to February 19, 2022, with previews on January 27 and 28 and the official opening on the evening of January 28. Leading the cast is Johnathan Lee Iverson, best known as the ringmaster of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey. Circus.
“Trav’lin”, has already received five successful productions. Following its sold-out debut with Brenda Braxton at the 2010 New York Musical Festival (NYMF), the show received critical and audience acclaim at the Arvada Center (Arvada, CO), Seven Angels Theater (Waterbury, CT), the Ensemble Theater (Houston, TX) and Jubilee Theater (Fort Worth, TX).
“Trav’lin” is a throwback to the Harlem Renaissance – the style was high, the jazz was hot and the bands were swinging. What happens when both sexes try to navigate romance in this new world? Gary Holmes and Allan Shapiro’s book offers a funny, dynamic and heartfelt look at love, and the score to “Trav’lin” rediscovers Harlem Renaissance songwriter JC Johnson.
JC Johnson, best known for “The Joint is Jumpin'”, wrote Bessie Smith’s signature “Empty Bed Blues” and collaborated with some of the most beloved composers and lyricists of the day, including “Fats” Waller, Andy Razaf, Chick Webb, George Whiting and Nat Schwartz. His music has been performed and recorded by many stars including Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Louie Armstrong, Fred Astaire, Duke Ellington and Count Basie, and has been heard on Broadway in Ain’t Misbehavin’ and Me and Bessie. More information about Trav’lin and sound clips are available at www.travlinthemusical.com.
The Winter Park production, helmed by regional favorite Shonn McCloud, features a seasoned professional cast that includes three Playhouse Mainstage veterans, Patrece Bloomfield (Ain’t Misbehavin’, Christmas My Way, Florida Festival of New Musicals), Faith Boles ( Ain ‘t Misbehavin’, Beehive), and Johnathan Lee Iverson (Crazy For Gershwin, Florida Festival of New Musicals), and three artists appearing at the Playhouse for the first time, Rolin Alexis, Dayja Le’Chelle and Will Scott.
Choreography is by Playhouse Artistic Director Roy Alan, and Playhouse Resident Music Director Christopher Leavy conducts the Playhouse band from the piano. The band also includes Brandon Miller on bass, Sam Forrest on percussion and Ned Wilkinson on multiple instruments.
In response to the surge of COVID-19 Omicron, the Playhouse has postponed the opening night originally scheduled for January 21 for a week and added swing ones to ensure the show continues to run in the event of a breakthrough. . Making these changes “gives us some reassurance that we can keep our show schedule intact for our clients,” said artistic director of Roy Alan Playhouse, “and as a bonus, we employ more actors from our region.”
Performances take place on Friday and Saturday evenings at 7:30 p.m. with matinees at 2 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays as well as some Wednesdays and Sundays. Ticket prices are $46 evenings, $43 senior evenings, $39 matinees, and $20 students and theater industry professionals. Preview performances are $22. Discounted group rates for 10 or more people are available. Student rush “[email protected]” offers $10 tickets (for students 25 and under) 10 minutes before a performance when seats are available. All spectators must wear a mask during the performance.
To purchase tickets, call the box office at 407-645-0145 or visit online at www.winterparkplayhouse.org.
The Winter Park Playhouse is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization and proudly affiliated with the Actors’ Equity Association and the National Alliance for Musical Theater.