Tony & Grammy Award winner and Academy & Emmy Award nominee Leslie Odom, Jr. will star in the first Broadway revival of the American comedy Purlie Victorious: A Non-Confederate Romp Through the Cotton Patch by the legendary Ossie Davis. The complete cast includes: Vanessa Bell Calloway (Dreamgirls) as “Idella Landy”, Billy Eugene Jones (Fat Ham) as “Gitlow Judson”, Noah Pyzik (Addy & Uno) as “Deputy”, Noah Robbins (To Kill a Mockingbird) as “Charlie Cotchipee”, Jay O. Sanders (Primary Trust) as “Ol’ Cap’n Cotchipee”, Heather Alicia Simms (Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike) as “Missy Judson”, Bill Timoney (Network) as “Sheriff” and Tony Award nominee Kara Young (Cost of Living, Clyde’s) as “Lutiebelle Gussie Mae Jenkins”. Direction is by Tony Award winner Kenny Leon (Topdog/Underdog, A Soldier’s Play, A Raisin in the Sun). Previews will begin on Thursday, September 7, 2023, with the opening date to be announced at a later date. The production will play at The Music Box Theatre. Tickets are now on sale to the general public at Telecharge.com or 212-239-6200. For more info, visit www.purlievictorious.com.
The creative team will feature scenic design by Tony Award winner Derek McLane (Moulin Rouge, MJ), costume design by Tony Award nominee Emilio Sosa (Trouble in Mind, A Beautiful Noise), lighting design by Drama Desk Award nominee Adam Honoré (Ain’t No Mo’, Chicken & Biscuits) and sound design by Peter Fitzgerald (American Son, KPOP).
Purlie Victorious: A Non-Confederate Romp Through the Cotton Patch is the rousing, laugh-filled comedy by Ossie Davis that tells the story of a Black preacher’s machinations to reclaim his inheritance and win back his church. The play premiered on Broadway in 1961 at the Cort Theatre (now the James Earl Jones Theatre), directed by Howard Da Silva, and starred Ossie Davis as “Purlie Victorious Judson” and his wife and frequent collaborator, Ruby Dee as “Lutiebelle Gussie Mae Jenkins.” Original cast members also included: Alan Alda, Godfrey Cambridge, Sorrell Booke and Beah Richards. For its 100th performance, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. visited the company and celebrated the milestone with them.
Davis and Dee were named to the NAACP Image Awards Hall of Fame; were awarded the National Medal of Arts and were recipients of the 2004 Kennedy Center Honors. Davis was also inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame in 1994.
“Ossie Davis gave the American theater an American hero in Purlie Judson,” said Leslie Odom, Jr. “I have loved this piece and its author, Mr. Davis, for well over half my life. His writing and acting, his integrity, the commitment he and his brilliant wife made to nurturing young talent, and the example of citizenship have meant so much to me! I am thrilled beyond measure to be part of this revival company. Mr. Davis’s pages are full of joy and rhythm, laughter and hope. We will endeavor to live up to the demands of a challenging text and the legacy of a great American.”
The Dee-Davis family stated the following: “The Dee-Davis family is so excited that Purlie Victorious will return to Broadway. Dad’s genius with words was never more evident than in the voice of Purlie Victorious Judson, who takes a humorous look at a serious subject. His call to justice is timeless and needed now more than ever. Thanks to producers Jeffrey Richards, Hunter Arnold, and Leslie Odom, Jr., and to director Kenny Leon for bringing Reverend Purlie to his feet once again. With Leslie Odom, Jr. in the role, Purlie will rise with magnificence.”
The producing team is led by Jeffrey Richards, Hunter Arnold, Irene Gandy, Willette and Manny Klausner, Kayla Greenspan and Leslie Odom, Jr., making his Broadway producing debut.