This month, as part of its Encores! series, New York City Center premieres Cabin in the Sky, the 1940 musical choreographed by George Balanchine and Katherine Dunham and performed by an all-black cast. Inspired by George Gershwin’s 1935 musical Porgy and Bess, Cabin in the Sky tells the story of a youth named Little Joe who has six months to prove his worth before Judgment Day. It was one of Balanchine’s few forays into the world of musical theater (other credits include On Your Toes and Where’s Charley?), and for its opening, he asked Dunham to play the seductress Georgia Brown. She agreed and recruited her company members as the musical’s dancers.
Cabin in the Sky runs at New York City Center, February 10–14.
Photo by Fraver, courtesy of New York City Center