On April 20, actress Keke Palmer uploaded a video of herself SANGING Jazmine Sullivan’s version of ‘Home’ from The Wiz to her social media accounts! The forty-nine second clip of Palmer belting out one of the play’s biggest songs only added to the excitement and speculation of casting for the upcoming live broadcast of the classic on NBC set to air on December 3 and its subsequent revival on Broadway. In an interview with New York Live Palmer exclaimed that she would love to take part in the play if she was presented with the opportunity. The actress is no stranger to the stage. In 2014 she became the first black Cinderella on Broadway where she established herself as a force to be reckoned with on the theatre scene.
When NBC made the announcement at the end of March that its next live musical would be The Wiz the internet went into a tizzy! Immediately theatre lovers begin pitching their dream casts! Theatre names like Anika Noni Rose, Nikki M. James , Tituss Burgess, and Condola Rashad were tossed about and mainstream names like Chris Brown, Usher, Janelle Monae, and Beyonce were also thrown into the mix. There was a great concern from many theatre buffs that NBC would cast “known” names to draw in viewers instead of casting actors and actresses more familiar with the stage. To this director Kenny Leon responded with great confidence that commercial casting would not take place. “We will tell the story with the best, available cast..no tricks- no worries!”, stated the Tony Award winner. Keke Palmer, if casted, would bring both audiences; theatre and popular culture fans.
The Wiz– based on L. Frank Baum’s The Wizard of Oz- made its Broadway debut in 1975. The musical went on to win the Tony Award for Best Musical and Best Original Score among other recognitions. The cast included the talents of Stephanie Mills, Ted Ross, Dee Dee Bridgewater and Mabel King. The film adaptation was released in October 1978 and included an equally impressive cast- Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Lena Horne, Nipsey Russell, Ted Ross and Richard Pryor. There has not been a Broadway revival of the classic since that time so it’s no wonder everyone is over the moon with excitement! We certainly can’t wait!
Make sure you continue to follow Broadway Black for all of the updates on everything The Wiz!
Cuba Gooding Jr. Returns to the Role of Billy Flynn in Chicago
Show me the money! Cuba Gooding Jr. (A Trip to Bountiful) returns to Broadway’s ‘Chicago.’
Oscar Winner and Broadway alumni, Cuba Gooding Jr., has returned to Broadway. Cuba has returned to ‘Chicago’ through February 10th. After a previous Broadway and West End run in the show, Cuba is back playing Billy Flynn. Now taking on the role for the third time, Cuba is back and better than Ever.
“This is the first time I’ve sang professionally, period. This is my first musical” Cuba said, “The hardest thing I’ve ever done physically is singing and dancing, eight shows a week, six days a week.”
The Oscar winner returned to the Ambassador Theatre on January 7th to do a month-long run in the show. He’d previously spent six weeks in the role in October of 2018 and before that he’d opened the show’s west end revival. Cuba is the latest in the line of stars to join the Broadway company of Chicago. Cuba is joining the likes of Todrick Hall, Tony Yazbeck, Usher Raymond, and Wayne Brady as one of the few stars to play Billy Flynn on Broadway. Cuba is ready to bring the “razzle dazzle” to the Ambassador Theatre, eight shows a week, and we’re prepared to see him hit his mark and take the stage.
EXCLUSIVE: Broadway Black Behind The Scenes Dreamgirls 35th Anniversary Concert
It’s been 35 years since The Dreamette’s “moved” their way into our hearts, and if you had the childhood I had, your home stereos. Which is why Broadway Black was more than thrilled to learn about the Dreamgirls 35th anniversary concert that would reunite its original stars Sheryl Lee Ralph, Loretta Devine, and Jennifer Holliday. I mean thrilled, to the point I was trying to figure out how to not pay bills thrilled. On July 10th, the ladies performed at their one night only (Ha!), sold-out show in Hollywood, and they were even joined by some of our other favorite performers Frenchie Davis and Mary Wilson!
A night that was sure to be one for the books, it’s a shame that everyone in the world wasn’t able to witness it. However, this is Broadway Black and in true Broadway Black fashion our readers should know by now, WE GOT YOU. Check out an EXCLUSIVE behind the scenes look of the Dreamgirls 35th Anniversary Concert below, brought to you ONLY by Broadway Black.
If you still can’t get enough of Dreamgirls, remember it’s coming to London this fall (and hopefully Broadway after that!).
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