The Wallis Annenberg Center for Performing Arts presents the West Coast premiere of The Wallis’ production of WITNESS UGANDA, a groundbreaking documentary musical by Matt Gould and Griffin Matthews starring twelve-time Grammy nominee Ledisi, Jamar Williams (Wild Goose Dreams), Amber Iman (Hamilton) and Emma Hunton (Wicked), directed by Matthews with music direction by Gould, from Tuesday, February 5 – Saturday, February 23, 2019, in The Wallis’s Lovelace Studio Theater. After a successful Off-Broadway run, this new and revised production documents the story of a man battling to find his place in a world full of injustice and inhumanity.
In addition to Ledisi (Rain Lady/Church Lady), Jamar Williams (Griffin), Amber Iman (Joy) and Emma Hunton (Ryan), the cast features Kameron Richardson (Jacob), Naärai (Grace), Sha’leah Nikole (Eden), Dexter Darden (Ibrahim), Jordan Barrow (Ronny), Jai’Len Josey (Vocalist/Understudy for Rain Lady/Church Lady) and Antwone Barnes, Kennan D Washington and Thurzday in the Ensemble. Ledisi will not perform on the evening of Friday, February 15 and for both shows on Sunday, February 17. In her absence, Jai’Len Josey will play the roles of Rain Lady/Church Lady. Witness Uganda is choreographed by Abdur-Rahim Jackson, with music supervision by Remy Kurs, set design by Connor MacPhee, lighting design by David Hernandez, costumes by Carlton Jones and sound design by Martin Carillo. Assistant Director is Mark Jacob Chaitin and Stage Manager is Sara Sahin. Casting is by Chad Murnane of Binder Casting.
Based on a true story, Witness Uganda follows Griffin, a New York City-based American volunteer, as he arrives in Uganda to help build a village school and escape his church’s condemnation of his sexuality. When he falls into a complicated relationship with a group of destitute, orphaned teenagers, he finds himself driven by a mission that will change his and their lives forever. From the rolling hills of the Ugandan countryside to a stifling apartment in New York City, from a joyous celebration of African youth to a terrifying abduction 8,000 miles away, Witness Uganda explores the question, “is changing the world even possible?”