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Arts Watch: Cush Jumbo Brings “Josephine and I” to Joe’s Pub

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cush jumbo josephine and i

Olivier-nominated actress, Broadway star and now writer, Cush Jumbo (The River, Julius Caesar, “Getting On”)  has scored a five-week run of her one-woman show Josephine and I at Joe’s Pub.  The show interweaves a modern-day story of an ambitious young woman (a.k.a. Jumbo) with the fascinating life of the notorious actor/dancer/singer Josephine Baker.

The show is hopping continents after a successful run in London in 2013.  Phyllida Lloyd (Julius Caesar, The Iron Lady, Mamma Mia!), who directed the London production directs the Joe’s Pub production as well.

Baker’s life story is full of intrigue, as the show notes point out: Josephine Baker became one of the most famous and groundbreaking stars of the 20th century. The first African-American performer to rise to international prominence, she was a French Resistance spy and civil rights activist who was married twice by age 16 and served as muse to Pablo Picasso, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway, who called her “the most sensational woman anyone ever saw.”

As far as creating the show and writing about Baker — “You couldn’t make this stuff up,” — Jumbo told the Times in a recent profile piece.

“Josephine and I” runs through April 5 at 425 Lafayette St., Tues. – Sun., 7 p.m., $50 (no food/drink min.)

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