New Musical Shake Loose to Premiere at MetroStage This Winter

Jan 16, 2016
Shake Loose

Producing Artistic Director Carolyn Griffin is pleased to announce that the world premiere of a new musical SHAKE LOOSE: An Evening of Moods Blues & Icons, featuring the music and lyrics of Thomas W. Jones, William Hubbard and William Knowles will be on stage at MetroStage beginning Jan. 28, 2016. Thomas W. Jones II will direct and choreograph, William Knowles will music direct and conduct and William Hubbard will co- music direct.

A musical odyssey of African American people in the 20th century, SHAKE LOOSE celebrates music born of the gospel tradition, and African American icons, who invented the jazz, blues, and rhythm and blues of this past century. It will feature the music and themes from many of their shows that have been produced at MetroStage in the past 15 years, marking the extraordinary collaboration amongst these artists. Three of the four cast members have also been part of the featured shows that are represented in the current production, which includes music and narrative from Harlem Rose, Three Sistahs, Cool Papa's Party, Bessie's Blues, Two Queens One Castle, Pearl request, Ladies Swing the Blues and others not seen here including SLAM!, Frankie Lyman and Holler.

At MetroStage playwright, lyricist, director and choreographer, Thomas W. Jones II has written and directed Harlem Rose, Three Sistahs, Two Queens One Castle, Bricktop, Cool Papa's Party, Pearl request, Ladies Swing the Blues, Bessie' Blues, as well as directing Gee's Bend for which he received a Helen Hayes nomination, and earlier this season the rolling world premiere of Uprising.

Music Director and composer William Knowles is also a mainstay at MetroStage having music directed Uprising, Gee's Bend (Helen Hayes nomination), Bricktop, His Eye is on the Sparrow, All Night Strut, Ella Fitzgerald: First Lady of Song, Cookin at the Cookery, Ladies Swing the Blues and Cool Papa's Party (Helen Hayes Award). He has also received Helen Hayes nominations for Dinah Was (Arena Stage), SLAM! (Studio Theatre), and Tambourines to Glory (Lincoln Theatre). He arranged the thirty-nine songs and will conduct and accompany on piano the five piece band in SHAKE LOOSE.

Co-music director and composer William Hubbard was first seen on our stage in Harlem Rose, written by Mr. Jones with music composed by Mr. Hubbard. In addition Hubbard has performed in MetroStage productions All Night Strut, Mahalia, Bricktop, and Pearl request, and music directed Harlem Rose, Gee's Bend (HH nomination) and Three Sistahs.


Roz White returns to MetroStage having been most recently seen here in Uprising this past fall and last season in Bessie's Blues. At MetroStage she has also appeared in Bricktop, Two Queens, One Castle, Cool Papa's Party, Pearl request, Glimpses of the Moon, Josephine Tonight, Ladies Swing the Blues, and Ella Fitzgerald: First Lady of Song. She received a Helen Hayes nomination for her role in Gee's Bend (Lead Actress and Ensemble). She has also appeared on our stage as Mamie Till in Anne and Emmett, a role she has performed in Indianapolis, Chicago and NYC. She graduated from Duke Ellington School of the Arts and Howard University.

Lori Williams was last seen at MetroStage in Bessie's Blues. She played Ella Fitzgerald in Ladies Swing the Blues (Helen Hayes nomination) and has also appeared on stage in Cool Papa's Party, Glimpses of the Moon and All Night Strut at MetroStage. This past summer she performed in jazz festivals in Austria and Germany, followed by Switzerland, and a 10 city tour this fall throughout Russia. She most recently performed in the U. S. Virgin Islands, Mexico, and in DC at Blues Alley. She teaches vocal music at Wilson High School and her Concert Choir has performed at the Kennedy Center, the Washington National Cathedral, DAR Constitution Hall and many other DC venues. She graduated from Hampton University.

Anthony Manough was last seen at MetroStage in the rolling world premiere of Uprising where he played the lead role of Ossie in both the Atlanta (Horizon Theatre) and MetroStage productions. He has also performed at MetroStage in Gee's Bend (Helen Hayes nomination for Ensemble), Cool Papa's Party (HH nomination for Supporting Actor), Bricktop, and as Charlie Parker in Ladies Swing the Blues. Currently living in L.A., he has appeared on Broadway in The Lion King and Jesus Christ Superstar, and most recently in NYC in Lonesome Traveler at 59E59. He graduated from Duke Ellington School of the Arts and Howard University.

Rayshun Lamarr is new to MetroStage. He was last seen on stage in DC at Ford's Theatre in Freedom's Song. He has toured all over the world with his band Sound Connection, most recently, in Thailand. This was followed by a five city tour in Italy with his group, Composition of Praise. He graduated from Duke Ellington School of the Arts and the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. He returned to Ellington as a guest artist in Black Nativity, and he performed as The Wiz in the play at George Mason.

Musicians are: William Knowles, piano; Greg Holloway, drums; Yusef Chisholm, bass; Grant Langford, sax; and Alvin Trask/ DeAndre Shaifer, trumpet.

Designers are: Carl Gudenius, set; Robbie Hayes, projections; Janine Sunday, costumes; Alex Keen, lights; Gordon Nimmo-Smith, sound. David Elias is the Production Stage Manager.

Performances for SHAKE LOOSE will be Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays at 8, Saturdays at 3 and 8, Sundays at 3 and 7, Jan. 28-Mar. 6. Tickets are $55-60 with student and active military discounts available. Press night is Sunday Jan. 31 at 7 pm. For ticket reservations call the theatre at 703-548-9044 or go online to For information and group sales call 703-548-9044. MetroStage is located at 1201 North Royal St. in North Old Town Alexandria. There is a free parking lot and fine dining nearby. The theatre is handicap accessible.