Music

Sufjan Stevens Musical ‘Illinoise’ Sets Broadway Debut

Sufjan Stevens is bringing the noise to Broadway. The acclaimed singer/songwriter’s new musical, Illinoise, is slated to graduate to the Great White Way after sold-out productions at New York’s Park Avenue Armory and the Chicago Shakespeare Theater when it opens at New York’s St. James Theatre on April 24.

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The show is set to the songs from Stevens’ fifth studio LP, 2005’s concept album Illinoise (also known as Sufjan Stevens Invites You to: Come on Feel the Illinoise) which features songs and characters based on the Prairie state as the follow-up to his previous “state” album, 2003’s Michigan.

The show will be directed and choreographed by Tony-winner Justin Peck (Carousel, West Side Story), with an original story by Peck and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Jackie Sibbles Drury (Fairview, Marys Seacole).

The cast of Illinoise includes: Yesenia Ayala (West Side Story film), Kara Chan (Twyla Tharp Dance), Ben Cook (West Side Story film), Gaby Diaz (So You Think You Can Dance? winner, Maestro), Jeanete Delgado (Miami City Ballet), Carlos Falu (West Side Story film), Christine Flores (Dance Heginbotham), Jada German (Twyla Tharp Dance) and Zachary Gonder (Carmen at Lyric Opera), among others. The vocalists and band for the show will be announced soon.

According to an announcement, the show “brings the original story to life, set to the entirety of Stevens’ album with new arrangements by composer, pianist, and frequent Stevens collaborator Timo Andres, ranging in style from DIY folk and indie rock to marching band and ambient electronics, performed live by an 11-member band and three vocalists.”

“We’re absolutely thrilled to bring Illinoise to the St. James Theatre on Broadway. This project has been ruminating in my mind for nearly 20 years, which makes this moment even more sublime,” said Peck in a statement. “The audience response throughout our engagement at Fisher Center at Bard, Chicago Shakespeare Theater and Park Avenue Armory has been extraordinary, and we feel lucky that we get to continue sharing this unique show with future audiences on Broadway.”

Peck described the show as a coming-of-age story that “takes the audience on a journey through the American heartland — from campfire storytelling to the edges of the cosmos — all told in through a unique blend of music, dance, and theater. On behalf of my team, we welcome this rare opportunity with full hearts.”

Playwright Sibblies Drury added, “Supporting the craft of each of the artists involved in making up this show has been a joy and an inspiration. For me, the thing that makes Illinoise so special is how it allows incredible performers to come together with an audience and welcome emotion and connection with open arms. It is rare to have an experience, in a public space, that is moving on an elemental level, so we are all incredibly gratified to bring Illinoise to the St. James on Broadway.”

The musical’s limited engagement will run through August 10, with tickets on sale now here. The show is produced for Broadway by Orin Wolf, John Styles and David Binder in association with Seaview and executive produced by Nate Koch and co-produced by Thomas O. Kriegsmann and the Fisher Center at Bard.

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