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James Earl Jones and Donald Glover Join Live-Action Lion King Remake

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In today’s latest “we didn’t know we needed this until now” news, Variety has reported that recent Golden Globe-winner Donald Glover will lead the upcoming live-action Disney remake of The Lion King, directed by John Favreau, as Simba. Additionally joining him is original Mufasa himself, James Earl Jones, reprising the role he voiced in the 1994 animated film. And we couldn’t be more thrilled!

Favreau expressed his excitement on Twitter.

Tony and Emmy-winner Jones, one of the most distinguished actors of all time, reappeared on Broadway last season opposite Cicely Tyson in The Gin Game. Prior to that, his career has spanned more than 60 years.

No word yet on whether or not this will include songs, like its predecessor, or if it will incorporate live-action with a mix of CGI. Jeff Nathanson will provide the screenplay.

Loosely based on Hamlet, the Oscar-winning film tells the story of a young lion cub who flees his home into exile following the murder of his father by his power-hungry uncle. With the help of a ragtag duo and his childhood friend, an adult Simba must learn to face the past and accept his role as King of the Pridelands.

Featuring music by Elton John and Tim Rice, the animated feature has subsequently spawned two sequels, a spin-off, several animated television series, two Walt Disney Parks and Resorts attractions, and a Tony and Olivier Award-winning Broadway musical.

Now in its 20th year, The Lion King is the third longest running show on Broadway, with multi-lingual productions all over the world. With direction by Julie Taymor, it received five Tony Awards, including “Best Musical,” and has since grossed over $1 billion dollars, the highest of any show ever.

Scar and Mufasa face off in The Lion King.

Image: Joan Marcus

The Lion King is only one of many of Disney’s upcoming live-action features, including Mulan, Dumbo, Winnie the Pooh, The Little Mermaid, Pinocchio, and the widely-anticipated Beauty and the Beast, featuring Audra McDonald, in theaters next March.

In relation to his on-screen father, Glover will also make an appearance in another Disney movie, the Star Wars Han Solo spin-off, which has begun shooting.

Glover, also a rapper under the name “Childish Gambino,” won two Golden Globes for his critically-acclaimed show Atlanta on FX. We already know he’ll kill it as one of the most beloved characters of the Disney Renaissance.

(Calling it now: Cynthia Erivo as Nala. Make it happen).

Dream-cast. Go!

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Just Wow!

Broadway said “What Blackout?!” and Took Their Talents Outside

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The power went clean out in most of Manhattan on Saturday night. The Broadway League released a statement saying most of the shows were canceled and that the power should be restored before the following Sunday matinee. That did end up happening but right after the blackout happened casts of Broadway shows took to the streets to offer up their voices in song to the delight of the many people in the streets who were evacuated from the Broadway houses and neighboring establishments.

Take a look at what shows popped off in the streets of midtown Manhattan!

    1. Of course, Tony Award Winner André De Shields snaps off with the cast of Hadestown at the Walter Kerr Theatre

2. The cast of Aint Too Proud singing Stevie Wonder’s “Happy Birthday” to someone in the crowd from their dressing room windows at the Imperial Theatre. The tweet with the video it’s the cast of Hamilton but twitter did its thing and they quickly corrected them. It was an honest mistake, Hamilton is right next door.)

3. The cast of Come From Away:

4. The cast of Waitress:

5. The cast of Frozen:

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West Side Story’s Cool Reimagined by Los York Studios And It’s Pretty… Cool!

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Photo: Youtube

As described in their mission statement, Los York is “an integrated production company that executes live action, design, and experimental projects.” An older project of the company resurfaced recently, a reimagined rendition of West Side Story‘s “Cool” scene, is now circulating throughout the internet. The Emmy Award winner and director of the video, Seth Epstein has brilliantly captured the story of rivalry within two different ethnic groups, but this time with more melanin!

The video also features music by Jimek (Run the World Dave Aude Club Remix), and choreography by Keone and Mari Madrid (SYTYCD).

The electrifying footwork, where pirouettes are replaced with pop locking and break dancing in the place of battements, provides hope for bridging racial gaps and relieving tensions. This style is more interpretive, with urban based movements that add an extra layer to some of the barriers printed in the original 1957 production.One thing that I appreciate about the classic musical West Side Story is its transcendent nature and ability to comfortably conform to whatever generation of interest.

Above all else, West Side Story is a love story, a modernized interpretation of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. The timelessness in the modernized story–tension between two lovers of opposite gangs–reveals past and present issues found in American society however old and reoccurring they may be. The Los York video demonstrates that flexibility and once again creates an even bigger space for a fabulous classic.

Watch for yourself!

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