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Hanging With The Coopers: An American Songbook Concert

Jazmine Harper-Davis

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Tony Award winner Chuck Cooper (Amazing Grace) and his children Lilli, Eddie, and Alex are set to perform as apart of Lincoln Center’s American Songbook series, which celebrates the best in American singing on songwriting. The series has recently announced its 2016 season, which include top performers and rising stars, to perform at three Lincoln Center venues. On March 16, American Songbook will make its way to the Stanley H. Kaplan Penthouse in the Samuel B. & David Rose Building (165 West 65th Street, Tenth Floor New York, NY 10023) for six performances which include the Cooper Clan’s on March 18th at 8:00 P.M. This won’t be the first time all the Coopers have been on stage together. In fact, back in 2011 the family reunited for a free concert series hosted by Bubby’s, a restaurant in Brooklyn.

For one night only, Chuck, renowned for his gorgeous baritone and a forceful presence on Broadway for nearly three decades, leads a long-awaited onstage family reunion featuring his equally exceptional children: Lilli (Spring AwakeningWicked), Eddie (Little Shop of Horrors, Cinemax’s Banshee), and Alex, a multitalented musician and artist.

Chuck Cooper -Most recently seen on Broadway in Amazing Grace. Chuck Cooper made his Broadway debut in Amen Corner and won a Tony for The Life. Other Broadway credits include PassionCaroline, or ChangeChicagoFinian’s Rainbowand Romeo and Juliet. Off-Broadway credits include a Lucille Lortel Award-winning performance in The Piano Lesson.

Eddie Cooper – Most recently seen in Encores! Off-Center Little Shop Of Horrors as “Audrey II” and was just cast in Two River Theater’s production of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. His television credits include ABC’s “Forever,” the recurring role of Fat Au on Cinemax’s “Banshee” and the soon to be released HBO series “Crime.” Eddie is a proud graduate of LaGuardia High School for the Performing Arts and holds a BFA from Ithaca College.

Alex Cooper–  plays guitar, he sings, he acts and is also a talented artist. Alex along with his siblings, sold out Joe’s Pub a few years back with their concert The Cooper Clan.

Lilli Cooper- Following in the footsteps of her two older brothers, she attended LaGuardia Arts High School in Manhattan. While still in high school, Cooper originated the role of Martha in the groundbreaking 8-time Tony Award winning musical Spring Awakening. After high school, Lilli went to study film at Vassar College. For her Junior year she studied abroad at the Prague Film School, graduating with honors and winning the Best Film award for her thesis film which she wrote and directed. Lilli joined the Second National Tour of Wicked as the Elphaba understudy, and just two years and a trip to Australia later, Lilli was the Elphaba standby on Broadway!

Tickets for the event haven’t been released just yet, but as soon as they are available be sure to check back at Broadway Black for updates, because as always -WE GOT YOU.

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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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Coming Soon

Lynn Nottage Today, Tomorrow and Beyond

Broadway Black

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Lynn Nottage’s 2017 Tony Award nominated play Sweat ended its Broadway run at Studio 54 on June 25. We weren’t ready to say goodbye to Sweat, and we’re definitely not ready to say goodbye to Lynn Nottage, leaving us to wonder what’s next for the two-time Pulitzer prize-winning playwright?

First, if you didn’t get a chance to see Sweat on Broadway or if you did but can’t get one of the poorest cities in America off your heart and mind, then you’ll want to visit Reading, Pennsylvania this summer. Shortly after finishing Sweat, Nottage came up with the idea for a site-specific performance installation honoring the people of Reading. Nottage shared that for a city divided by economical and racial politics, she wanted to highlight the city’s potential to use art and culture to bring its citizens together. The installation titled This is Reading will weave “individual stories into one cohesive and compelling tale of the city. Exploring the various viewpoints of the diverse community, [and] give the audience a vibrant and unique perspective of the city of Reading.” The installation will utilize live performance, visual media, and film. Located at Franklin Street Station, Reading PA, This is Reading will run July 14-16, July 21-23 and July 28-30.

What could possibly be next for Nottage? A musical of course!

Not just any musical, but an adaptation of Sue Monk Kidd’s book, The Secret Life of Bees. Book by Nottage, music by Duncan Sheik (Spring Awakening), lyrics by Susan Birkenhead (Jelly’s Last Jam) and direction by Sam Gold (Fun Home).

Nottage’s first musical follows the story of Lilly Owens, a white teen growing up in 1960’s South Carolina and her Black caretaker Rosaleen. After Rosaleen is hospitalized following an attempt to vote, she and Lily do their best to escape the harsh realities of their respective lives in the Jim Crow South, and happen upon a bee farm. “It sang to me” Nottage said of adapting Kidd’s book to a musical, “Every page I saw a song.”

The Secret Life of Bees will be presented as a workshop production at the Powerhouse Theater from July 27-29, apart of the New York Stage and Film’s 2017 season.

Finally, for the 2017/2018 season, Nottage’s play Mlima’s Tale will make it’s world premiere at The Public Theater and run from March 27 through May 20, 2018. Mlima’s Tale follows the story of Mlima, an african elephant caught between freedom and the

Courtesy of The Public Theater

international ivory black market. Ultimately a story about trade itself, “Mlima leads us through memory and fear, history and tradition, want and need, and reveals the surprising and complicated deals that connect us all.” Next season, The Public will celebrate 50 years at its Astor Place location, and Lynn Nottage will be the only Black playwright with work presented.

From a site-specific performance installation, to her first musical, ending with another show at The Public Theater… Lynn Nottage has given us a lot to look forward to following her Broadway debut, and we will be ready. Sitting front and center.

 

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