And before these twins get here, hip-hop mogul Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter scored yet another deal securing Blue Ivy and Future Beyonce 1 & 2* coins and coins more abundantly.
Billboard reports Jay-Z has joined Harvey Weinstein as co-producer to almost EGOT-er Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In The Heights film adaptation. Directed by Jon M. Chu and written by Quiara Alegría Hudes, Heights mixes hip-hop, salsa, and merengue to tell the story of Latino characters growing up just a little further uptown than Harlem in Miranda’s stomping grounds, Washington Heights.
As of September, Jay-Z booked part of a first-look deal, which grants the Weinstein Company first dibs on Jay-Z’s planned TV and film projects.
No stranger to TV, film, or Broadway, let us not forget he produced the 2014 Annie remake (which starred Quvenzhané Wallis & Jamie Foxx), co-produced Chris Rock’s Top Five, executive produced Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby, and co-produced Fela! on Broadway.
Mr. Carter says: “I’m excited to tell stories from real-life prophets, whom through their struggles have changed the world for the better, and others whose stories are filled with fantasy and delight.”
I’m guessing the film adaptation of the 2008 Tony Award winning Best Musical falls into the category of “fantasy and delight.”
While Miranda says he won’t reprise Usnavi, a central character he originated on Broadway, he did mention the possibility of tackling another character in the film. And although he has not yet announced a cast, Miranda hinted at his choice of a now former Hamilton cast member taking on a role.
But one thing we know for certain: Miranda is non-stop. Teaming up with the first family of hip-hop (by extension of Jay-Z)? Legendary. What do you think? Sound off below in the comments!
P.S. If you’re not currently watching the documentary Jay-Z produced on Kalief Browder get your life immediately. If you don’t know Kalief Browder, head right on over to Google.
* hey Beyoncé, girl. No disrespect. I’m just excited for the twins and know they will be spitting images of your grace and beauty. “Beyoncé” is truly the only name that can live up to your esteem without taking the time to seriously try and speculate on name choices, because c’mon– unexpected/taking our wigs, breath, life, liberty, and the pursuit of knowledge of your life is your thing.
The Public Theater Will Present Hercules Musical & Hercules Is Black!
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
Lynn Nottage Today, Tomorrow and Beyond
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
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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