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Audra McDonald Returns To Broadway In Frankie & Johnny Revival

Drew Shade

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Six-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald (Shuffle Along, Lady Day) will return to Broadway to star in a revival of Terrence McNally’s Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune, this May, according to Deadline. She will be joined by Michael Shannon as her “Johnny”; the two-hander production will be directed by Arin Arbus who is making her Broadway directorial debut.

The strictly limited engagement will hit the Broadway stage at a Shubert theater that has yet to be announced and will play for 16-weeks beginning previews in May. The engagement marks McNally’s 80th birthday.

The play, a two-hander, is about a pair of co-workers trying to figure out how they wish to relate to each other after a satisfying sexual encounter.

The previous Broadway staging in 2002 starred Edie Falco, and Stanley Tucci and the movie version starred Al Pacino and Michelle Pfeiffer in 1991. The play originally premiered Off-Broadway in 1987 starring Kathy Bates and F. Murray Abraham.

The Frankie and Johnny creative team will include Riccardo Hernandez (Sets), Emily Rebholz (Costumes), Natasha Katz (Lighting), Nevin Steinberg (Sound), J. Jared Janas (Hair, Wig, and Makeup), Laurie Goldfeder (Production Stage Manager) and 101 Productions, Ltd. (General Manager).

Founder/Editor-In-Chief of BroadwayBlack.com | Actor | Artist | 1/3 of @OffBookPodcast | Theatre connoisseur | All Audra Everything | Caroline over Change | I'm Not Charl Brown | Norm Lewis is my play cousin | Producing an all-black production of Mame starring Jenifer Lewis in my head

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Broadway Bound

Jeremy O. Harris’ Slave Play Will Transfer To Broadway & Put Him in the History Books

Drew Shade

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Jeremy O. Harris photo by Jenny Anderson via NYTW
Jeremy O. Harris photo by Jenny Anderson (via NYTW)

Slave Play by Jeremy O. Harris will transfer to Broadway making the 30-year-old playwright the youngest black man in history to have a play produced on Broadway and only the sixth Black writer to have a new play on Broadway in the last decade.

A recent graduate of the Yale School of Drama, Harris wrote Slave Play his first semester in the graduate playwriting program there. New York Theatre Workshop produced the world premiere in 2018 that lead to controversy and critical acclaim from those who had and hadn’t seen it.

Producers Greg NobileJana Shea, Troy CarterLevel Forward and Nine Stories Productions announced the play will transfer to the Golden Theatre this fall.

The limited 17-week engagement beginning performance previews September 10th with an official opening scheduled for October 6th. Robert O’Hara will reprise his role as director with casting for the Broadway run announced at a later date.

The Old South lives on at the MacGregor Plantation — in the breeze, in the cotton fields…and in the crack of the whip. It’s an antebellum fever-dream, where fear and desire entwine in the looming shadow of the Master’s House. Jim trembles as Kaneisha handles melons in the cottage, Alana perspires in time with the plucking of Phillip’s fiddle in the boudoir, while Dustin cowers at the heel of Gary’s big, black boot in the barn. Nothing is as it seems, and yet everything is as it seems.

You can currently read the published play in the July/August issue of American Theatre Magazine

The creative team for the production includes Clint Ramos (scenic design), Dede Ayite (costume design),  Jiyoun Chang (lighting design), Lindsay Jones (sound design and original music), Byron Easley (movement), Claire Warden (intimacy and fight director), Doug Nevin (production counsel), and Taylor Williams (casting director). Mark Shacket serves as Executive Producer.

Harris said, “During my very short time being a professional writer, the world I thought I’d inhabit was one at odds with a commercial theatrical landscape; so to see that this play, Slave Play, that interrogates the traumas Americans have inherited from the legacy of chattel slavery and colonization has a place in the canon of work that has made its way to the Great White Way is both exhilarating and humbling. It also articulates that the leaps the community made in the past Broadway season might not have been a fad but the beginning of a new moment for the theatre to once again attempt to represent discursive American theatrical expression not situated solely within the imaginaries of cis white men, but the imaginaries of all Americans.”

Jeremy O. Harris & Robert O'Hara photo by Jenny Anderson

Jeremy O. Harris & Robert O’Hara photo by Jenny Anderson

O’Hara said, “I’m thrilled as a black queer artist to be collaborating with another black queer artist on what will be both of our Broadway debuts. I think the idea that I can say that openly and proudly is rather profound given the history of our country and of the American theater, but more specifically Broadway which has had and continues to have a general lack of diversity and diverse stories. I feel that Jeremy is joined today by a whole host of exciting young artists who are telling stories outside the main stem which can now hopefully be presented on the main stem. As the margin slowly becomes the center, I believe a cavalcade of voices one would never expect to be heard on Broadway can be and should be demanded. Slave Play is a complex, challenging and exhilarating piece of work and I look forward to presenting it this fall on Broadway.”

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Broadway Bound

Michael Jackson Bio-Musical Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough Will Open in Chicago Ahead of Broadway

Drew Shade

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The musical inspired by the life of the deceased pop icon Michael Jackson has found its title, Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough. Still in development after a reading in June of last year, the musical, named after Jackson’s classic song from the 1979 album Off The Wall, will incorporate the Jackson music catalog.

Focusing on Jackson’s career in his 20s–30s, Two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage is attached as the book writer and Christopher Wheeldon will direct and choreograph.

Announced by the Michael Jackson Estate and Columbia Live Stage, the highly anticipated musical will have an out of town run in Chicago starting October 29th and running through December 1st, 2019 at Chicago’s James M. Nederlander Theatre (formerly the Oriental Theatre) before transferring to Broadway in 2020.

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