Devanand Janki to direct Off-Broadway production on Nina Simone

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Devanand Janki, award-winning director, choreographer, and teacher based in new York City. Photo: courtesy SMC Solutions

Award-winning director, choreographer, and teacher Devanand Janki will direct the soon to open musical, Little Girl Blue, written and starring, Laiona Michelle.

Little Girl Blue (LGB), (littlegirlblue.nyc) a musical inspired by Nina Simone’s life, written by and starring Laiona Michelle (Amazing Grace, Book of Mormon, American Hero), will have its first preview on March 5, and opening night will be Off-Broadway at the Shubert Organization’s New World Stages (Stage V) on March 14, 2022, it was announced by  the show’s lead producer, Rashad V. Chambers (co-producer of American Son, Tony Award-winning Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of The Temptations, the critically acclaimed 2019 revival of Betrayal, and The Inheritance, The Music Man).

The show was originally scheduled to open on February 28th, but due to New York City’s holiday spike in Omicron Covid-19, it was pushed back.  “My top priority is keeping everyone safe and ensuring that our show can have a lengthy and prosperous run,” said Mr. Chambers

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According to an email from publicists, Janki has been a part of the project since it was workshopped and picked up by the George Street Playhouse in 2018.

Currently a resident of New York City, Janki is originally from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, and graduated from the American Musical and Dramatic Academy (AMDA) in New York.

A great advocate for diversity and inclusion in the arts, Janki is the founder and artistic director of Live & In Color, according to his biography on the eponymous website devanandjanki.com. He is currently the director of the Musical Theatre Division at The Stella Adler Studio for Ating in New York City and has taught in several art colleges of repute.

He began as a performer, appearing in numerous productions including Broadway’s Miss Saigon. Cats, The King & I, and Side Show.

For the past 15 years, he has been a freelance director, working regionally and in New York on more than 50 shows including Off-Broadway’s Zanna Don’t for which he won the Lucille Lortel Award as well as the Joseph A. Callaway and GLAAD media awards.

Other New York credits include Junie B. Jones, Henry & Mudge, Skippy Jon Jones, a musical, The Yellow Brick road, a bilingual retelling of The Wizard of Oz, The Berenstain Bears-Family Matters, Cupid & Psyche, Judy Speaks, This One Girls Story, Loe and Real Estate, Bye Bye Big Guy, Shine!, and several others, for many of which he received nominations.

His Lincoln Center credits include the opera Amahl and the Night Visitors, Babes in Toyland, Anything Goes.

Through the year, Janki holds several Theatre for Young Audiences shows touring the country. He has developed numerous shows through workshops and readings, and has worked on numerous corporate events.

For nine years he was a choreographer, artistic associate and dancer for Broadway Bares for a benefit, and has been involved in mounting ‘innumerable’ high profile charity events, his bio says.

As a performer, he has appeared on and off Broadway. His film and TV credits include “The Guru” as well as “Scenese from a Mall” and “H.O.L.E.- The Disillusionment of Mide & Eva.”

He has performed throughout Canada as well with the Edmonton Opera Company, Citadel Theater, Alberta Ballet Company, Ballet North, National Ballet of Canada and the Banff Festival of the Arts.

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