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Black Panther Gets Broadway Black Star Treatment

Broadway Black

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Lupita N’yongo Opening Night Curtain Call Photo via Eclipsed Broadway

We’re barely into the year & 2017 is already more black and beautiful than ever! We opened the new year with Hidden Figures smashing the box office and the 2017 Golden Globes being rich with melanin. To top all that, we got casting news from the upcoming Black Panther movie. Now, the mere existence of a Black Panther film is enough to start my stanning, but let’s talk about the cast. The upcoming Marvel film boasts pretty big names, but we at Broadway Black would like to highlight the theatre’s finest.

In the upcoming Marvel film, Lupita N’yongo, the keeper of Grace and stealer of hearts, will star as Dora Milaje Nakia. The Milaje, or “Adored Ones,” are wives-in-training, women selected from their tribes to defend and serve the Wakandan king. Just last year, we watched as Lupita thrived in Eclipsed on Broadway. Of course, Lupita’s revolutionary performance left critics singing the praises of Lupita and the show’s all-black, all-female cast. I see this for N’yongo through and through! The Yale graduate’s natural talent and nineteen year career has gifted her with the grace and depth to bring Nakia to life. Honestly, who doesn’t want to see Lupita throw hands?

While Lupita’s character is likely to get lost in love, Danai Gurira‘s will give us the unbothered black girl Marvel needs. Gurira will play Okoye, also a Milaje, but unlike Nakia, Okoye is more concerned about the safety of the kingdom than the heart of the king. Gurira’s career is one that constantly celebrates the strength of African women. This role will be no sweat for our Broadway veteran.

Danai Gurira Opening Night of Eclipsed on Broadway Photo by: Andrew Shade

Gurira’s significance goes far beyond The Walking Dead! She is also the writer of several plays, including Eclipsed. Her fearless work has turn heads everywhere from Yale to The Great White Way. She’s already revolutionized the theatre in our real world, I can’t wait to see the damage she’ll do in Marvel’s.

N’yongo & Gurira will join Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther, Michael B. Jordan as Erik Killmonger, & Daniel Kaluuya as W’Kabi,

Angela Bassett, who made her Broadway debut in 1988 with August Wilson‘s Joe Turner’s Come & Gone, will portray Ramonda. Bassett returned to Broadway in 2011 with Katori Hall‘s The Mountain Top.

Forest Whitaker will play Zuri. You may remember that he made his Broadway debut last year with Eugene O’Neill’s Hughie.

Phylicia Rashad in Head of Passes – Photo via Public Theater

Finally, I must  give rest to the rumors. Phylicia Rashad, Mother of Blackness and Broadway alike, will not be joining the Black Panther cast. The rumors came of the heels  of Sterling K. Brown’s casting as N’Jobu and were further fueled by Rashad’s previous work with Ryan Coogler, the movie’s director, in Creed.

For a few, I loved the idea of Phylicia Rashad joining the Black Panther cast. Phylicia Rashad consistently delivers strong performances. Her 2004 portrayal of Lena Younger in A Raisin in the Sun earned her the title of the first black actress to win a Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play. Phylicia Rashad is tireless in her dedication to making bold moves and inspiring radical change. I’m sure her character will be no different.

So here we go, we’ve got some time before the 2018 release of the film. But until then, I hope I’ve done my due diligence in getting you as excited for this movie as I am. It’s the year of Black Excellence, folks. Tell us, what fearless moves are you making in 2017?

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Celebrity Takeover

Tituss Burgess Has New Music, A New Movie, & No Time For Mess + The Preacher’s Wife Musical Update

Broadway Black

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Tituss Burgess' Saint Tituss EP cover
Tituss Burgess' Saint Tituss EP cover

On Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen, Tituss Burgess gave us an update on his musical adaptation of the 1996 movie, The Preacher’s Wife – starring Denzel Washington and Whitney Houston. On the late-night talk show, a viewer called in to ask if there had been any updates regarding the show and Burgess shared that:

“ We are very close to signing with a hot-shot producer in New York, which means that the show is closer to appearing in London or here. But there’s also a recent development which could delay it for the better. You’ll find out about it later”

So not only do we know that the musical is still on its way to bless us, but there is an announcement about the show on the way! If you ask me, this is incredibly exciting. Tituss Burgess’ career has gone from stage to screen, and his abilities as an actor and singer are undeniable. Knowing that we are closer to seeing his skills as a musical theatre composer is mad exciting. Watch a clip from the interview above.

While we wait for The Preacher’s Wife Musical, listen to Burgess’ newly released EP Saint Tituss. Burgess sings his face off as he skillfully talks about issues that are personal and political — all while wrapping things up with a joyous celebration of resilience as positivity. He also has two songs that feature Daniel J. Watts including the single 45

St. Tituss is available on Spotify, apple music, and other streaming platforms.

He also has a new movie on the way. “Dolemite Is My Name” starring Eddie Murphy along with Burgess, Mike Epps, Chris Rock, & more will premiere at the Toronto Film Festival. A national release date has not been set as of yet but is sure to be on its way.

 

While discussing the new movie during the same interview, Cohen asked Burgess about his relationship with Murphy. The way Cohen presented the question insinuates there might have been a problem between the two because of a ‘problematic past with the gays’ on Murphy’s part. The response given by Burgess is swift and loaded with “you tried it, but you won’t get me”:

“He wasn’t problematic for Tituss. We had a wonderful time. We talked about Dreamgirls and he should have won the Oscasr, I believe. He was great. Any troubles he may have had with gay people I guess are gone because he loved me.”

It is the following facial expression and the interaction that comes afterward that makes live television great. You can see Burgess say something to someone off-camera which leads Cohen to ask what he’s saying. Burgess replies with a soon-to-be iconic response to everything: “Keep going, girl. Do your show.”

and this is why we live.

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Coming Soon

The Public Theater Will Present Hercules Musical & Hercules Is Black!

Drew Shade

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The Muses via Hercules film

We knew it was coming, we just didn’t know when. Back in 2017, we reported that a musical adaptation of the Disney movie Hercules would be headed to Broadway. Now we can confirm that is somewhat true.

Hercules will be the latest Disney musical to be made for the stage and will play Off-Broadway at the Public Theater’s Delacorte Theater in Central Park. As the final show of the Shakespeare in the Park season theater season performances will run August 31 through September 8 with a reading set to take place in April.

The role of Hercules will be played by a Black actor, according to the casting notice

The musical will include the Oscar-nominated “Go the Distance, along with other songs from the 1997 animated film by Alan Menken & David Zippel. Presented through an arrangement with Disney Theatrical Productions, the show will be directed by Lear deBessonet.  The creative team also includes a book by Kristoffer Diaz, & choreography by Chase Brock.

Before Hercules, Kenny Leon will direct the Much Ado About Nothing May 21 through June 23 to begin the Shakespeare in the Park season.

Casting for all both productions will be announced at a later date

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