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Broadway Is The New Black: 2015-16 Season Line-Up

Jazmine Harper-Davis

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It seems as though Broadway is taking a page out of televisions’s book and bringing more actors of color front and center–where they belong. The upcoming 2015-16 season has a plethora of roles for Black actors and actresses to get some shine on the Broadway stage. To help get you prepared for the season, Broadway Black has a line up of all the shows you will definitely need to see. Some original, some revivals, some plays, some musicals, some Broadway Black legends and some soon to be. Either way, these are shows you don’t want to miss.

Amazing Grace 

  • Theatre: Nederlander Theatre
  • First Preview: June 25, 2015
  • Opening: July 16, 2015
  • Written by Arthur Giron (Book), Arthur Giron and Christopher Smith (Music & Lyrics)
  • Director: Gabriel Barre
  • Cast: Josh Young, Erin Mackey, Chuck Cooper, Harriet D. Foy, Laiona Michelle, Rachael Ferrera
  • A new-original musical based on the awe-inspiring true story behind the world’s most beloved song. A tale of romance, rebellion and redemption that follows one man whose incredible journey ignited a historic wave of change.
  • Website: http://amazinggracemusical.com/

Hamilton  

  • Theatre: Richard Rodgers Theatre
  • First Preview: July 13, 2015
  • Opening: August 6, 2015
  • Written by Lin-Manuel Miranda (Book, Music & Lyrics)
  • Director: Thomas Kail
  • Cast: Lin-Manuel Miranda, Renee Elise Goldsberry, Christopher Jackson, Leslie Odom Jr., Phillipa Soo
  • Originally premiered Off-Broadway at The Public Theatre, Hamilton makes its move to the Great White Way. From bastard orphan to Washington’s right hand man, rebel to war hero, loving husband caught in the country’s first sex scandal to Treasury head who made an untrusting world believe in the American economy, Hamilton is an exploration of a political mastermind.
  • Website: http://www.hamiltonbroadway.com/

The Gin Game 

  • Theatre: Golden Theatre
  • First Preview: Sept. 21, 2015
  • Opening: Oct. 13, 2015
  • Written by D.L. Coburn
  • Director: Leonard Foglia
  • Cast: James Earl Jones, Cicely Tyson
  • An elderly couple at a nursing home play an increasingly tense series of gin rummy games as they expose truths about their failures, disappointments and insecurities.

The Color Purple

  • Theatre: Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre
  • First Preview: November 9, 2015
  • Opening: December 10, 2015
  • Written by Marsha Norman (Book), Brenda Russell, Allee Willis & Stephen Bray (Music & Lyrics), Alice Walker (Novel)
  • Director: John Doyle
  • Cast: Cynthia Erivo, Jennifer Hudson, Danielle Brooks
  • Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Alice Walker, The Color Purple follows the inspirational Celie as she journeys from childhood through joy and despair, anguish and hope to discover the power of love and life. Tickets go on sale June 30.
  • Website: http://colorpurple.com/

Shuffle Along 

  • Theatre: Music Box Theatre
  • First Preview: March 14, 2016
  • Opening: April 21, 2016
  • Written by Eubie Blake and Noble Sissle (Music), George C. Wolfe (Book)
  • Director: George C. Wolfe, Savion Glover (Choreography)
  • Cast: Audra McDonald, 
  • A backstage musical about the events that led to the creation of the groundbreaking Eubie Blake-Noble Sissle 1921 musical Shuffle Along that starred Josephine Baker and Paul Robeson

Children of a Lesser God

  • Theatre: TBA
  • Target Opening: 2015-16 Season
  • Written by Mark Medoff
  • Director: Kenny Leon
  • Cast: TBA
  • The story of James Leeds, a new teacher at a school for the deaf, and Sarah Norman, the school’s one-time star student who has stayed behind as its cleaning woman rather than venturing out into the hearing world. James immediately takes a keen interest in Sarah, and tries to persuade her to communicate orally by lip reading. They soon embark on an emotional journey that will teach them both new ways of communicating and loving and, in the process, they build a romance beyond words.

With such an awesome and diverse lineup–both on stage and behind the scenes– our hope is that these shows can and will be seen by as many people as possible, to show the theatre world what else there is to offer. More diverse storytelling leads to a more diverse audience, which keeps the theatre alive. So do me and everyone else here at Broadway Black a huge favor; if you can get your hands on these tickets GO and while you’re at it, tell a friend or two.

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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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Twitter: @BroadwayBlack

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