Go behind the scenes with this new digital series—Encores! Inside the Revival.
This mini documentary series—produced in partnership with filmmaker Juan L. Espinal—takes you inside the next chapter of the beloved Tony-honored Encores! where the unique creative process of musical theater productions in development is led by Encores! Artistic Director Lear deBessonet and Producing Creative Director Clint Ramos.
Enjoy live performances and hear one-on-one conversations with the directors and artists invested in bringing these productions to you as soon as it is safe to do so.
Encores! Inside the Revival | The Tap Dance Kid
Tony Award-winning director Kenny Leon (A Raisin in the Sun) and concert adaptor Lydia Diamond give audiences an up-close look at the percussive heart of The Tap Dance Kid with the help of choreographer Jared Grimes and cast member from the original Broadway production Dulé Hill (The West Wing) in a performance of “Fabulous Feet.” The 1983 Tony-nominated musical centers around the life of an upper-middle class Black family and a 10-year-old’s dream of being a professional tap dancer despite the challenges posed by his lawyer father and society.
Music by Henry Krieger, lyrics by Robert Lorick, book by Charles Blackwell, based on the novel Nobody’s Family is Going to Change by Louise Fitzhugh
Concert Adaptation by Lydia Diamond
Choreography by Jared Grimes
Music Director Joseph Joubert
Directed by Kenny Leon
Encores! Inside the Revival | The Life
Emmy and Tony Award-winning artist Billy Porter (FX’s Pose, Kinky Boots) takes audiences through his reimagining of the 1997 twelve-time Tony-nominated musical (including Best Musical) The Life. Punctuated with performances by recording artist and Encores! Off-Center alum Mykal Kilgore (“Use What You Got”) and Grammy-nominated artist Ledisi (“The Oldest Profession”), Encores! Producing Creative Director Clint Ramos and Porter discuss his vision for an updated take on the story of Queen, a prostitute, and her fellow sex workers, who strive for a better life against all oppressive forces in Times Square in 1980. By re-envisioning the main character of Queen, Porter transforms and evolves the story into one of hope and survival, honoring the characters’ given circumstances, and revealing their universal humanity.
Music by Cy Coleman, lyrics by Ira Gasman, and book by Coleman, Gasman, and David Newman
Choreography by Camille A. Brown
Adapted and directed by Billy Porter
Encores! Inside the Revival | Into the Woods
Mayor La Guardia founded New York City Center for the people of New York to experience the best of music, theater, and dance. While Encores! usually revives lesser-known musicals, we will usher in a new annual tradition at City Center in the spirit of this founding mission: annual celebrations of iconic American musicals whereby the performance of a classic title will celebrate the ways musical theater connects us across generations.
This Inside the Revival episode explores how the many rich layers of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s Into the Woods brings this new tradition to life with insights from Encores! Artistic Director Lear deBessonet and Encores! Producing Creative Director Clint Ramos. As an illustration of the breadth of community to be reflected in the production, the episode features performances by New York City public school students, as well as Broadway’s Todd Almond, Laura Benanti, Philip Boykin, Judy Kuhn, Ruthie Ann Miles, and Donald Webber, Jr.
Music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, book by James Lapine
Choreography by Jamal Sims
Encores! Music Director Rob Berman
Directed by Lear deBessonet
Encores! Inside the Revival | Love Life
Tony Award winner Victoria Clark (director), Consulting Producer for Musical Theater and previous Encores! Artistic Director Jack Viertel, and Music Director Rob Berman discuss their process of imagining Kurt Weill and Alan Jay Lerner’s rarely seen 1948 musical Love Life. Featuring performances by Kate Baldwin, John Edwards, Brian Stokes Mitchell, and more,the team explores how Love Life—a musical depicting more than a century and a half of American history through the eyes of a family who never ages and the challenges they face in a rapidly changing world—resonates more than ever as its values, social satire, and activism comment on the national divorce we currently find ourselves in.
Discover more about Love Life in this virtual guide from The Kurt Weill Foundation for Music.
Book by Alan Jay Lerner, music and lyrics by Kurt Weill and Alan Jay Lerner
Directed by Victoria Clark
Excerpts of Love Life are included under license from The Kurt Weill Foundation for Music, Inc. and the Alan Jay Lerner Testamentary Trust
Note: This spring 2020 Encores! production was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Encores! Inside the Revival is produced in partnership with filmmaker Juan L. Espinal.
Encores! Artistic Leadership
Lear deBessonet | Artistic Director
Rob Berman | Music Director
Clint Ramos | Producing Creative Director
Josh Clayton | Assistant Music Director
Adrian Alea | Creative Associate
Camille A. Brown, Eisa Davis, and Robert O'Hara
Producer of Musical Theater
As you enjoy this behind-the-scenes look into how our beloved Encores! series is produced, we hope you will consider making a gift to provide direct, meaningful support to the artists and staff that are working to bring these productions to life.
Major Support for Encores!
Stacey and Eric Mindich Fund for Musical Theater
Additional Major Support
Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation
Lisa and Richard Witten
Encores! Season Sponsors
Roz and Jerry Meyer
The Shubert Foundation
Stephanie and Fred Shuman Fund for Encores!
Joseph S. and Diane H. Steinberg Charitable Trust
Additional support for Encores! is provided by
Marta Heflin Foundation
The Kaplen Brothers Fund
The Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation
The Frederick Loewe Foundation
The Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation, Inc
The SHS Foundation
Leo Shull Foundation for the Arts
The Ted Snowdon Foundation