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‘Trading Places’ musical to hold staged reading

A staged reading of the new musical "Trading Places," based on the eponymous 1983 Paramount Pictures film, will be held on Feb. 16 and 17.

Aneesa Folds and Bryce Pinkham (Courtesy of the Alliance Theatre)

A staged reading of the new musical “Trading Places,” based on the eponymous 1983 Paramount Pictures film, will be held on Feb. 16 and 17.

Directed by Tony Award winner Kenny Leon, the musical features a book by Thomas Lennon, music and lyrics by Alan Zachary and Michael Weiner — the team behind Broadway’s “First Date” —  and choreography by Fatima Robinson. Lennon is a well-known actor, writer and producer, who has written and appeared in such works at “Reno 911!” and the “Night at the Museum” movies.

“Trading Places” was originally written by screenwriters Timothy Harris and Herschel Weingrod.

The musical reading will feature Aneesa Folds as Billie Rae Valentine and Tony nominee Bryce Pinkham as Louis Winthorpe III, the roles originated in the movie by Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd, respectively. (This version notably flips the gender of Valentine.)

They are joined by Tony nominee Marc Kudisch as Mortimer Duke, Lenny Wolpe as Randolph Duke, Sara Chase as Penelope Van Verst, Jay Klaitz as Mr. Beeks, Michael Longoria as Phil Lopez and Don Stephenson as Coleman. The ensemble includes Jimmy Ray Bennett, Dana Costello, Kayla Marie Cruz, Benjamin Howes, Bre Jackson, Arica Jackson, Justin Gregory Lopez, James Luc, Orville Mendoza, Malaiyka Reid, Michael McCorry Rose and Kevin Zak.

“Trading Places” tells the story of a lower-class hustler, Valentine, and an upper-class Wall Street-type, Winthorpe, who switch lives when the Duke brothers make a bet to determine which prevails: nature or nurture.

“Trading Places” had its world premiere at Atlanta’s Alliance Theatre in 2022. The musical is produced by Marc Madnick.