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Celebrity Takeover

Jennifer Hudson Will Star in Hairspray Live on NBC!

Drew Shade



The casting for the new #HairsprayLive is rolling out and the role we were most curious about was that of “Motormouth Maybelle. Well, we’ve gotten the word and the current Broadway star of The Color Purple, Jennifer Hudson will follow in the footsteps of Queen Latifah as the rhyming & jivin’ Motormouth set to air December 7th at 8pm.

We’re loving that Hudson is living the full dream in great musicals. From her Oscar-winning performance in “Dreamgirls”, to starring on Broadway as “Shug Avery”, and now this? We’re extremely happy to see what she does in the role. She is suited for television and what’s better than a televised musical for someone of her caliber? Nothing.


She is joined by Harvey Fierstein who will reprise his Tony Award-winning role as “EdnaTurnblade”, he is also writing the teleplay, as he did for #TheWizLive.

Based on the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical, “Hairspray Live!” takes place in 1962 Baltimore. Teenager Tracy Turnblad’s dream is to dance on “The Corny Collins Show,” a local TV program. When, against all odds, Tracy wins a role on the show, she becomes a celebrity overnight and meets a colorful array of characters, including the resident dreamboat, Link; the ambitious mean girl, Amber; an African-American boy she meets in detention, Seaweed; and his mother, Motormouth Maybelle, the owner of a local record store. Tracy’s mother is the indomitable Edna Turnblad, and she eventually encourages Tracy on her campaign to integrate the all-white “Corny Collins Show.”

Joining the creative team will be acclaimed television director Alex Rudzinski, who slayed the television direction of “Grease Live!” He will accompany and partner with stage director Kenny Leon. This is all getting very intersting.

“Hairspray Live!” reunites Hudson with executive producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, who worked with her previously on NBC’s “Smash.”

Founder/Editor-In-Chief of | Actor | Artist | 1/3 of @OffBookPodcast | Theatre connoisseur | All Audra Everything | Caroline over Change | I'm Not Charl Brown | Norm Lewis is my play cousin | Producing an all-black production of Mame starring Jenifer Lewis in my head



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    April 26, 2016 at 1:05 AM


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    April 26, 2016 at 1:24 AM

    So I just want to say, as HAPPY as I am for JHud getting this honor, I mean Motor Mouth is ICONIC, I’m still shocked that Hairspray is getting done. I mean I was hoping these “Live” shows were going to be more for shows that people have kinda forgotten. I mean when they did the “Sound of Music”, that was an OLD show (and Audra was the best part about it, let’s be honest) and then we had “The Wiz”, black magic that although was always in the back mind of many black theatre lovers or lovers of the movie, hadn’t been in the forefront for a while so again that makes sense. “Peter Pan” the “Live” version didn’t make much sense to me as far as the choices go BUT the show was done in it’s original film context and it was old. Grease was also a classic and iconic, never really forgotten but old enough that a “Live” version didn’t bug me. Even Fox coming out with Rocky Horror the cult classic, although there are many shadowcasts, the fact that they’re going to put it on TV to show the stage version (although more than likely edited because of the overtly sexual content-still don’t know how Fox is getting away with this one) . Hairspray just feels like…”so soon?” What’s next Les Miserables Live? Mama Mia Live? The Phantom of the opera Live? I think the “LIVE” shows should be more for theatre that’s got some dust on it (old) or didn’t get a lot of play…like The Scottsborro boys…I would love to see a LIVE like that on TV, because the run was so short and the show was so amazing and it would educate people! I’m happy though, I just feel like “wow, so soon?” I must admit though JHud in it has fascinated about it because the other actors/actresses will have to vocally keep up with her so the casting SHOULD be on point!

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    April 28, 2016 at 9:14 PM

    I’m just happy that Jennifer finally stopped wearing those ridiculous long straight white girl weaves. She looks so much better with her own hair.

  4. Pingback: The Best Protest Songs & Civil Rights Anthems On & Off-Broadway

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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



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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Cast List

Amber Riley & MJ Rodriguez Will Star in Little Shop of Horrors

Drew Shade



Amber Riley and Mj Rodriguez

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Olivier Award winner for her portrayal of Effie White in London’s West End production of DreamgirlsAmber Riley (Dreamgirls UK) and Pose star Mj Rodriguez will star in a reimagined production of Little Shop of Horrors at Pasadena Playhouse in California.

Riley will take on the iconic voice of Audrey II while Rodriguez will star as Audrey alongside George Salazar (Be More Chill) as Seymour.

The show will run from Sept. 17-Oct. 20 with an official opening set for Sept. 25.

Little Shop of Horrors is considered a classic. It’s a horror-comedy rock musical with music by Alan Menken and lyrics and a book by Howard Ashman. The story follows a hapless florist shop worker who raises a plant that feeds on human blood and flesh. It debuted Off-Broadway in 1982 and the movie version of 1986 introduced the world to young talents of Gina and Pam Tisha Campell and Tichina Arnold.

Directed by Mike Donahue, the design team includes scenic design by Dane Laffrey; costume design by Danae McQueen; lighting design by Josh Epstein; sound design by Veronika Vorel; and choreography and puppet design by Sean Cawelti.

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