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Underwood plays ‘Purlie’

Pasadena Playhouse show has high hopes for B'way

Encores! has cast its upcoming production of the musical “Purlie,” running March 31-April 3 at City Center.

Blair Underwood takes the title role of the Southern preacher. Others in the ensemble include Anika Noni Rose (Lutiebelle), Lillias White (Missy), John Cullum (Ol Cap’n) and Doug E. Doug (Gitlow).

Based on Ossie Davis’ 1961 play “Purlie Victorious,” the musical had its Broadway premiere in 1970 and won the Tony Award for musical.

“Purlie” will be directed by Sheldon Epps, who is restaging the show this summer for his home-base theater, the Pasadena Playhouse. That production then travels to Chi’s Goodman Theater.

Epps last month told Daily Variety he hopes to retain the Encores! cast for the Pasadena and Goodman productions. He also spoke of a possible Broadway revival.

Epps could not be reached to offer an update of those plans.

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