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This summer, City Center’s acclaimed Encores! Off-Center series will return with concert revivals of Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman’s Assassins (July 12-15), Kirsten ChildsThe Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin (July 26-27), and Carole King and Maurice Sendak’s Really Rosie (August 2-5). We asked incoming Off-Center artistic director Michael Friedman to share a few thoughts about why these musicals matter.

For the last four years, as a happy audience member at Encores! Off-Center, I couldn’t wait to find out what unexpected delights would come each season. What unmissable performance, what glorious score? Off-Center, City Center’s summer series of landmark Off-Broadway musicals, has grown from a brilliant idea to an essential institution, a program as generous, ferocious, surprising, beautiful, and brilliant as its first artistic director, Jeanine Tesori. Jeanine, like everyone who brought this program to life, believes in the musical as one of the central American art forms, and one that encompasses a much larger, more inclusive body of work than we usually remember.

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February 27, 2017 by New York City Center

Casting announced for the Encores! production of The New Yorkers

We’re delighted to announce the cast of the Encores! production of The New Yorkers, the madcap Prohibition musical that introduced such Cole Porter standards as “Love for Sale” and “I Happen to Like New York.” Virtually unseen since its 1930 premiere, the show centers on featherbrained socialite Alice Wentworth (Olivier Award nominee Scarlett Strallen), whose bootlegger beau Al Spanish (Tam Mutu, Doctor Zhivago) leads her on a madcap romp from Park Avenue to Sing Sing and back again. Along the way, the couple encounters a parade of Depression-era archetypes: the vaudevillian Jimmie Deegan (three-time Tony Award nominee Kevin Chamberlin), the gangster Feet McGeegan (Arnie Burton, The 39 Steps), and a lady of the evening (Cyrille Aimée, A Bed and A Chair).

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February 23, 2017 by New York City Center

We’re delighted to announce casting for the Encores! production of Big River, Roger Miller’s Tony Award-winning musical about friendship, freedom, and the untamed Mississippi. Fresh off his Theatre World Award-winning turn as Arpad in She Loves Me, Nicholas Barasch will make his Encores! debut as the scrappy, restless dreamer Huckleberry Finn, who flees “sivilization” by way of a makeshift raft on the Mississippi River. His copilot: the runaway slave Jim (The Color Purple’s Kyle Scatliffe, also making his Encores! debut). Along the way, they encounter 1840s America in all its beauty and savagery—as epitomized by the mourning innocent Mary Jane Wilkes (Lauren Worsham) and the deliciously seedy theatricals known as the Duke (Christopher Sieber) and the King (Tony Sheldon).

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December 15, 2016 by New York City Center

Tony Award winner Annaleigh Ashford joins SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE

Soon she can add Georges Seurat to her history of wrong guys: Tony Award winner Annaleigh Ashford will join the previously announced Jake Gyllenhaal in City Center’s Gala concert performance of Sunday in the Park with George on October 24. In response to overwhelming demand for performance-only tickets, we’ve added two additional benefit performances of Sunday on October 25 and 26. Click here to get tickets.

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July 14, 2016 by New York City Center

Meet the Runaways blog header

One boy came to auditions wearing gold nail polish and sang Amy Winehouse’s “Back to Black.” A girl sang “Amazing Grace” and explained that she couldn’t come to callbacks on Sunday because she had church. Some were tap dancers and some were football players; some have starred in Broadway shows and some have never performed professionally before. “I wanted to assemble a wolfpack of 25 people who I adored, who were utterly different and utterly real,” says director Sam Pinkleton of the casting process for Runaways.
 
Well, he got his wolfpack. When Encores! Off-Center revives Elizabeth Swados’ landmark musical in July, the City Center stage will explode with 25 performers who embody the ferocious kinetic energy of today’s New York—just as the original cast reflected the New York of 1978. The Off-Center cast includes ASL interpreters, tattoo artists, transgender youths, unicyclists, and Jimmy Page fans. All but two are between 12 and 19 years of age. And a lot of them are obsessed with Hamilton. But we thought we’d let the cast speak for themselves.
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May 25, 2016 by New York City Center
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