All Articles Tagged "Broadway"

Bippity, Boppity, Boo: Sherri Shepherd & NeNe Leakes Vy For Fairy Godmother Role In Broadway’s Cinderella

July 24th, 2014 - By Veronica Wells
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Sherri Shepherd & NeNe Leakes Vy For Fairy Godmother Role feat


Could TV personality and comedienne Sherri Shepherd or reality TV star and sometime actress NeNe Leakes be coming to Broadway? Rumor has it that both of the ladies are competing for the role of Fairy Godmother in the Broadway musical Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella. 

According to Radar Online, sources claim that both Shepherd and Leakes really want the part and have already auditioned for the next casting of the musical, which was revived in 2013 for the stage.  Typically, this version of Cinderella has always appeared as a TV movie special. First with Julie Andrews in 1957, then with Lesley Ann Warren in 1965 and finally with Brandy in 1997.

In this most recent Broadway revival, the role of fairy godmother has been played by Rebecca Luker and Victoria Clark, who is currently playing the part.

Having seen this production, which I highly recommend, I remember that this part called for quite a bit of singing. The fairy godmother sings the song “There’s Music in You.” And if you heard Whitney sing it back in 1997, you know that that is no small feat. I don’t think either Sherri or NeNe could pull that off. They would have to cut that whole number entirely–and believe me, it’s chill inducing.

Reportedly, Keke Palmer is also in talks to become the next Cinderella, which we would totally support.

If I put my concerns about their singing to the side, I think I’d prefer to see Sherri over NeNe. But that’s just me.

What do you think, would you want to see either Sherri or NeNe in this role?

And just because it’s so great, I’ve embedded Whitney singing “There’s Music in You” from the 1997 version of “Cinderella.” She was absolutely amazing.

Those are some big shoes to fill.

Broadway Musical ‘After Midnight’ Will Perform Its Final Show On June 29

June 16th, 2014 - By Tonya Garcia
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after midnight final weeksDespite seven Tony nominations, a win for best choreography and an opening performance on Tony night that brought the house down, the Broadway jazz revue “After Midnight will perform its final show on Sunday, June 29.

The show opened on October 18, 2013 to strong reviews. By the time it ends, it will have had 19 previews and 272 regular performances. The show consists of about two dozen musical numbers and 17 musicians from Jazz at Lincoln Center, all inspired by music of the 1930s. There’s also been a rotating group of star singers such as Fantasia Barrino, k.d. lang, Toni Braxton, Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds and Vanessa Williams. Dule Hill, of TV’s Psych, is the emcee. Patti LaBelle will appear on stage through the 29th.

Box office take was the big issue. According to The Hollywood Reporterthe show had its biggest box office receipts during Christmas week with $891,410. As of Sunday, June 8, the show’s total take was $19.2 million. Producer Scott Sanders told The New York Times that there will be an effort to take the show on the road for a traveling tour. (We spoke with Sanders about diversity on Broadway for a pre-Tonys feature story here.)

The Tony Awards was important to the fortunes of a number of shows, which normally see a bump after a win. “A Gentlemen’s Guide to Love and Murder” saw increased ticket sales after taking home four trophies, taking in reportedly $900,000 the week after. The week before the awards were handed out, “Beautiful,” the Carol King show, “A Gentleman’s Guide,” “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” starring award winner Neil Patrick Harris, and “Aladdin” all had tremendous weeks, with each show besides “A Gentleman’s Guide” taking in more than $1 million.  All of those shows were nominated for multiple awards and won on awards night.

“With the Tonys out of the way, it now remains to be seen just how much momentum the winning shows will be able to hold onto in the coming weeks,” Variety wrote a couple weeks back.

In the weeks since, one other show has announced it will be closing after failing to get a boost from the awards. “Mothers and Sons” starring Tyne Daly will close on June 22 after two months of only playing to a half-full theater. Daly had been nominated for her performance, and it was nominated for Best Play.

Separately but related, “Holler If Ya Hear Me,” the new musical inspired by Tupac Shakur’s music has been trying to stand out in previews post-Tonys. That show opens officially on June 19. In that aforementioned story about diversity on Broadway, we also spoke with Tony-winning director (for the “A Raisin in the Sun”) Kenny Leon. Click that story for more from Leon.

h/t The Huffington PostAnn Brown contributed to this story.

It’s Time For The Tony Awards! Celebrities Who Starred On Broadway

June 4th, 2014 - By Ashley Page
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Celebrities Who Starred On Broadway

Ivan Nikolov/

For the most part, a lot of the celebrity names and faces we know are from movies, television shows, or music, and while these celebrities typically stick to their own niche, there are some who have ventured out into other realms of entertainment such as Broadway — or who actually got their start there. In honor on the Tony Awards airing this Sunday, we take a look at 14 celebrities who starred on Broadway and deserve major kudos.

Is Broadway The Next Stop For ‘Soul Train’?

April 18th, 2014 - By Ann Brown
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Image Source:

Image Source:

The legendary music and dance show Soul Train is in the news a lot lately. Nelson George’s new book The Hippest Trip in America: Soul Train and the Evolution of Culture & Style, covering the influences of the program that ran from 1971 to 2006, is well on its way to bestseller status. And now comes word the world that Soul Train may become fodder for Broadway.

Stage and film producer Matthew Weaver has acquired the theatrical stage rights to the TV show, reports The Grio. He’s says he wants to repeat the success he had with his last production, Rock of Ages.

“I’m nervous and I’m humbled and I’m excited,” said Weaver, heads of production firm MediaWeaver Entertainment. “I do think we’re the right people to do it because I think it’s got to have that spirit of ‘Rock of Ages,’ which is part old-fashioned musical but also part party.”

For 35 years people tuned in not only to see popular artists, mainly R&B, perform but also to checkout the fashions of the Soul Train dancers and of course to be up on the latest dances. Everyone from James Brown, to Ike and Tina Turner and Hall & Oates, to Whitney Houston, David Bowie, and Run D.M.C. appeared on the program.

Don Cornelius debuted the show in 1970 in Chicago and served as its host until 1993. Soul Train went into syndication from 1971 until 2006 and branched off an awards show that is still produced. Cornelius committed suicide in 2012.

Weaver, who says while growing up in New York he watched Soul Train every Saturday morning, plans to  hire a writer and get music rights.

“To me, that’s the heart of Soul Train — a great story and great characters. The music will be great, the fashion will be great, the ambiance, the vibe. But if you don’t have a good story, none of that means anything,” says Weaver, who also produced such films as We’re the Millers and The Heartbreak Kid. His Rock of Ages is now an international brand, with a film version, three national tours and productions of the show in Las Vegas, London, Australia, Toronto, Japan and South Korea.

Would you like to see Soul Train as a Broadway production?

“Holla If You Hear Me!” Cast Revealed For Upcoming Tupac Musical

April 9th, 2014 - By Madame Noire
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Source: WENN

Source: WENN

From BlackVoices 

The upcoming Broadway musical inspired by Tupac Shakur songs will star Saul Williams, the poet and singer best known for the film “Slam.”

Producers said this week the rest of the cast of “Holler If Ya Hear Me” will include Tonya Pinkins, Christopher Jackson, Saycon Sengbloh, Ben Thompson and John Earl Jelks.

The musical is not a biography of Shakur but uses his songs to explore the story of two friends who live in a low-income neighborhood in the Midwest. It will feature “California Love,” ”Keep Ya Head Up,” and “Me Against the World.”

Read more about Tupac’s Musical at 

Broadway Gets Its First Black ‘Phantom Of The Opera’

March 27th, 2014 - By Ann Brown
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Actor Norm Lewis has done something no one else has done. Lewis has become Broadway’s first black “Phantom Of The Opera.” He will officially take over the title role in the Broadway production of The Phantom of the Opera at Majestic Theatre on May 12.

“People have been very excited about it,” Lewis told The Vulture, “and I think it will get people — especially producers and directors and the creative staff — to look deeper into a role, especially in a show that’s universal and doesn’t talk about race.”

Scandal fans may recognize Lewis. He most recently played Olivia Pope’s ex-fiancé Edison Davis on the show. Of Phantom, Lewis says it’s “a dream role and for a couple of reasons. Mainly I love the show, but actually [it sets] a precedent. Out of 26 years, there’s never been an African-American or someone of color to play the role on Broadway.” While Lewis will be the first black actor in the role on Broadway, Robert Guillaume played the role in the Los Angeles production in 1990. “I know there’s a lot of talented African-Americans, and even if it wasn’t me, I wanted someone to be able to do it,” said Lewis.

This, however, is a major first. The Phantom of the Opera has been running on Broadway for more than 25 years, reports The Los Angeles Times. The mega popular Andrew Lloyd Webber musical started its Broadway run in 1988. During this time, Phantom has completed more than 10,000 performances on Broadway.

Lewis isn’t new to The Great White Way. He starred as Porgy in the recent Tony Award-winning production of The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess and has appeared in the Broadway casts of Les Miserables and Disney’s The Little Mermaid.

Lady Day On Broadway: Audra McDonald To Play Billie Holiday

February 26th, 2014 - By Veronica Wells
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audra mcdonald to play billie holiday feat

Remember we told you that Oprah and Audra McDonald would star in the revival of the Broadway play, night, Mother? We told you that the play wouldn’t hit the stage until 2015 or 2016 because both women had already been committed to other things in the coming years.

Turns out, McDonald will be taking on the role of legendary singer Billie Holiday in the play Lady Day at Emerson Bar & Grill. 

The play relives Holiday’s last performance which took place four months before her death at just 44 years old.

McDonald has had a very successful Broadway career that has included not only work but recognition. She’s won give Tonys for her roles in Porgy and Bess, Ragtime, Carousel and A Raisin in the Sun, Master Class. If critics appreciate this performance she could win a whole new award, best leading actress in a play. If she does win, she’ll become the most honored woman on Broadway.

The run dates for the show have yet to be announced but they expect it will play at the Circle in the Square Theatre.

Does this sound like a play you’d be interested in seeing?

Salli Richardson Developing Lena Horne Project For Broadway

February 13th, 2014 - By Brande Victorian
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For years there’s been talk of a possible Lena Horne biopic. In fact, in 2003 Janet Jackson was the lucky lady selected to play Miss Horne, but after her 2004 Superbowl wardrobe malfunction Lena Horne demanded that she not play her. Since that time, talk of any sort of Lena Horne project appeared to have been tabled, but when we caught up with actress Salli Richardson at the African American Film Critics Association Awards she told us she actually has a project in the works.

The 46-year-old told us on the red carpet that she’s currently shopping a Lena Horne project for Broadway and that the script has already been completed. She also says she’s been singing a lot lately in preparation for the role which means Richardson just may living up to the status of Miss Lena Horne herself who starred in her own one-woman show, Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music,which ran for more than 300 performances on Broadway. Do you think Salli might be able to pull off the same run?

Check out what she had to say about the project and her thoughts on black women in film and “12 Years a Slave” in the video above. Are you excited?

When Does She Sleep? Oprah To Make Her Broadway Debut

February 7th, 2014 - By Rich
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oprah to make broadway debut

According to The New York Times, Oprah Winfrey is in talks to make Broadway debut in the Pulitzer Prize winning play, night, Mother, starring Audra McDonald as a woman struggling to stop her daughter from killing herself.

Tony winning director, George C. Wolfe would direct the production set to hit the stage in 2015-2016. Two theater executives spoke anonymously to share details about the production that is currently hush-hush. Kind of.

Scott Sanders, a lead producer of the project said, “Oprah has had a longstanding desire to act on Broadway. She understands how unique and challenging performing live on stage will be as an actress. She and I have been looking at a number of plays and roles in order to find material and a character that truly resonate with her. We’ve recently read something that we’re both excited about but are not yet ready to officially announce the specifics.”

According to the anonymous executives, Winfrey and Audra McDonald, who starred in the revival of Porgy and Bess, met at Mr. Sanders’ apartment to do a reading of the play and all involved were happy with the results.

The 2015-16 time frame was put in place to accommodate everyone’s hectic schedule. Oprah just got finished promoting Lee Daniels’ The Butler and is running a network. Mr. Sanders is set to produce another revival of The Color Purple and Audra McDonald, a five time Tony winner, also has theater projects in the 2014-2015 season.

night, Mother was written by Marsha Norman who worked with both Winfrey and Sanders as the book writer for The Color Purple.

Originally, night, Mother opened on Broadway in 1983 and ran for a year earning Tony nominations for best play and best actresses for Anne Pitoniak and Kathy Bates. There was also a revival of the play during the 2004-2005 season starring Edie Falco.

Sounds interesting. Would you check out Lady O on Broadway?

Living Legends Unite! Are Denzel & Diahann Carroll Returning To Broadway?

July 31st, 2013 - By Veronica Wells
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diahann and denzel

Rumors were swirling for some time that Denzel Washington was returning to his first love: Broadway. Now, Denzel himself has confirmed that he’s headed back to the stage for a revival of Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun. 

The play centers a family and their shared dream to use money to achieve a better life. Though all members of the family all want to become wealthy, they each have a different way to achieve this dream. The dream eventually crumbles due to conflicting ideas, betrayal and racism.

Denzel will play the role of Walter Younger. A struggling limousine driver who desperately wants to be rich.

In the original speculative post, published by Showbiz411, actresses Sophie Okonedo and Anika Noni Rose.

Now, the same publication’s author Roger Friedman, says while no one has confirmed this, he feels in his gut that Diahann Carroll will also join the cast as Denzel’s mother Lena Younger (or Mama).

Carroll was last seen on Broadway 30 years ago in 1983.

We’ll see if Friedman’s gut feeling is accurate and if we’ll be seeing these two living legends together on one stage.