New York City Center Encores! announces two musicals for 2020-21 season

The popular series focuses on restaging overlooking musicals in a concert setting. 

The original Broadway production of The Life (Photo by Carol Rosegg)

New York City Center has announced its 2020-21 Encores! season, which will include two musicals centered on Black stories. The season will include The Life directed by Billy Porter and The Tap Dance Kid directed by Kenny Leon. No dates have been announced for either production. A third musical will be announced at a later date. 

This season marks the first under the leadership of Lear deBessonet as the Encores! artistic director, and Clint Ramos will also step into the new role of producing creative director.

The Life first premiered on Broadway in 1997, featuring Chuck Cooper and Lillias White. Tony winner Porter will direct the Encores! production, which will be an update to the original story about a young prostitute named Queen and the people who walk the streets with her in the drug-and-crime-filled streets of New York. The musical features a book by David Newman and Ira Gasman, with a score by Cy Coleman and lyrics by Gasman.

The Tap Dance Kid opened on Broadway in 1983 and is based on Louise Fitzhugh's novel Nobody's Family Is Going to Change. Written by Charles Blackwell and Robert Lorick, the musical follows a young Black boy who dreams of becoming a tap dancer despite his family's influence. Leon will direct the Encores! production. 

The season will also include the documentary series "Encores! Inside the Revival," which will begin airing on October 14. The episodes will be available on the Encores! YouTube channel and website

Photo credit: The original Broadway production of The Life (Photo by Carol Rosegg)