Additional company members and several new producers have been announced for the upcoming revival of the Ossie Davis-penned play “Purlie Victorious.”
Joining the cast are understudies Melvin Abston, Willa Bost, Brandi Porter and Donald Webber, Jr. In addition, the newly announced co-producers include Tony Award-nominated actor Alan Alda, actor-producer Nnamdi Asomugha, director and Tony-nominated actor LaTanya Richardson Jackson, Tony-nominated actor Samuel L. Jackson, two-time Tony-winning actor Phylicia Rashad and actor-producer Kerry Washington.
“Sixty-one years ago, when ‘Purlie Victorious’ last played on Broadway, I was in the cast as Charlie Cotchipee,” Alda said in a statement. “Every performance was a new lesson in my theater education: getting to play Ossie Davis’s brilliant writing; standing in the wings watching Ossie and Ruby, and learning acting from them; listening to the knowing laughter from church congregations who came to our Saturday matinées. They took the roof off the theater, and I saw how theater could galvanize people.”
“The whole run of ‘Purlie’ was an important moment in my life,” Alda continued. “And now an extraordinary cast will bring this American classic to life again. I think it will be an important moment for them, too — and for all the rest of us.”
In terms of that cast, “Purlie Victorious” will mark Bost’s Broadway debut. Abston most recently appeared as an understudy in the 2022 revival of “Death of a Salesman” and was previously in Broadway’s “Sister Act.” Porter’s Main Stem credits include “A Bronx Tale” and “Clyde’s.” Webber has appeared in “Motown The Musical,” “Holler If Ya Hear Me” and “Hamilton.”
They will be joining previously announced stars Leslie Odom, Jr., Kara Young and more. Casting is by Will Cantler and Destiny Lilly of the Telsey Office.
Directed by Tony winner Kenny Leon and starring Tony winner Leslie Odom, Jr., “Purlie Victorious” will begin previews on Sept. 7 and open on Sept. 27 at the Music Box Theatre. The play tells the story of a Black preacher’s scheme to reclaim his inheritance and win back his church.
“Purlie Victorious” is being produced by Jeffrey Richards, Hunter Arnold, Irene Gandy, Willette and Manny Klausner, Kayla Greenspan and Odom, Jr.