"Josephine": World premiere musical gives new life to a legend at Asolo Rep

“Josephine”: World premiere musical gives new life to a legend at Asolo Rep

Musicals are not created overnight. Just ask producer Ken Waissman, who has been developing a new show about legendary entertainer and humanitarian Josephine Baker for more than a dozen years.

Waissman, the producer who helped turn “Grease” into a record-breaking hit, is putting the new show together the old-fashioned way. He had an idea, found writers for the book and then selected a songwriting team, hired director and choreographer Joey McKneely and chose Grammy-nominated singer and Broadway actress Deborah Cox for the title role.

A dream that began developing more than 20 years ago comes to fruition with Friday’s opening of the world premiere of “Josephine” at the Asolo Repertory Theatre. Waissman is determined that the musical will debut on Broadway within a year.

It would be the third musical, after “A Tale of Two Cities” and “Bonnie & Clyde,” to go from Asolo Rep to Broadway. Wissman and his creative team have high hopes that “Josephine” has the ingredients to enjoy a warmer reception than the month-long runs of the previous two musicals. Continue reading here

(Herald-Tribune staff photo by Nick Adams)

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