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Celebrity Takeover

Leon Addison Brown Shares Stage With Bruce Willis, Laurie Metclaf In Misery

Leah Marché

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Leon Addison Brown will die on Broadway multiple times for 16 weeks. He plays “Buster,” the sheriff hell-bent on finding author Paul Sheldon and saving him from his Number One Fan Annie Wilkes, in the Broadway version of Stephen King’s 1987 novel Misery.

Previews for the 90-minute suspense thriller – starring two-time Emmy and Golden Globe winner Bruce Willis (“Paul”) and three-time Emmy winner Laurie Metcalf (“Annie”) – kicked off Oct. 22 at Broadhurst Theatre. A limited-engagement run of the Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures production goes through February. Two-time Academy Award winner William Goldman, 84 – who penned Butch Cassidy and the Sundace Kid and All the President’s Men as well as authored “The Season,” a chronicle of what was on Broadway in 1968 – adapted the play and the 1990 film. The film starred James Caan and Kathy Bates, who won an Oscar and Golden Globe for her performance.

Willis – known for his film credits in Die Hard, The Sixth Sense, 12 Monkeys and Pulp Fiction – makes his Broadway debut with Misery. For The New York Times, he described his role as “85 minutes of being in that bed and just a few minutes of being out of it.” Metcalf – a two-time Tony nominee and original member of the Steppenwolf Theatre – replaced Elizabeth Marvel, who was initially announced for the deranged and obsessed character.

Bringing the house to life where the novelist is nursed back to health and imprisioned is David Korins whose work appears in Hamilton, Motown, Vanya and Sonia…, Annie, Bring It On and Magic/Bird. The creative team also includes: Academy and Tony winner Ann Roth (costume design); David Weiner (lighting design) and Tony-winning Darron West (sound design).

Brown would be the first African-American actor in the work as well as in his role – a role that doesn’t call for any specific racial or cultural background. In addition to regional theatre and television roles, Brown’s career includes: Broadway’s The Trip To Bountiful, On The Waterfront, Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me, and Prelude to a Kiss; and Off-Broadway’s The Train Driver, Two Trains Running, The Alexander Plays (Signature Theater), The Day The Bronx Died (AJT), The Lights (LCT) and As You Like It (Theater for a New Audience).

While some comments have been that Willis should be no where near Broadway, the acclaimed story is no stranger to the stage. British writer Simon Moore adapted the work for a London West End production in 1991, and it has had runs at several regional theaters through 2013. In 2012 Goldman’s adaptation was produced at Bucks County Playhouse in New Hope, Pennsylvania, while Moore’s handiwork appeared in Dubai by London-based theatre company Popular Productions. In 2014, Dutch composer and theatre producer Florus van Rooijen adapted the work into a “feel-bad musical” in Amsterdam, and a German production was shown at Schlossparktheater in Berlin.

Directed by Will Frears, Misery opens Nov. 15. Fans have the chance at the theatre to leave a message on the Misery Typewriter and be featured on the Twitter page (@miserytweets).

Misery on Broadway on Twitter

Write for your life. Leave us your #NumberOneFan message at the theatre on one of our @miserytweets typewriters.

I write. I read. I learn. I perform. I share. I advocate. I smile, laugh, cry, get mad. I talk to myself. I love. I dream. I wake up... ready for the world.

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Behind The Scenes

EXCLUSIVE: Broadway Black Behind The Scenes Dreamgirls 35th Anniversary Concert

Jazmine Harper-Davis

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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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Celebrity Takeover

Dreamgirls London Starring Amber Riley Finds It’s Dream Cast

Andrew Shade

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As previously reported, Amber Riley will be taking to the stage on The West End as Effie in Dreamgirls. It will be the first time that a full production has been mounted on a major London stage. It comes 35 years after the original 1981 production opened on Broadway starring The Dreamgirls we all know and cherish today, Jennifer Holiday, Sheryl Lee Ralph, & Loretta Devine.

We have been patiently waiting for the entire cast to be revealed and it’s finally here. Giving the exclusives on everything @DreamgirlsLDN via twitter is Baz Bamigboye, Daily Mail entertainment columnist, and boy, oh, boy does he spill all the beans we need.

Playing the roles of Deena & Lorrell alongside Riley’s Effie are Liisi LaFontaine and Ibinabo Jack, respectively.

He didn’t stop there. Bamigboye also revealed that Curtis Taylor Jr. will be played by Joe Aaron Reid, James “Thunder” Early aka Jimmy will be played by Adam J Bernard, and C.C. White will be played by Tyrone Huntley.

And the cherry on top of it all came when it was announced that the original composer of Dreamgirls, Henry Krieger is working on a new song for the opening of Act II. He also wrote “Listen” for the Dreamgirls movie, made famous by Beyonce. “Listen” was also turned into a duet between Deena Jones and Effie White for the most recent national tour of Dreamgirls in 2009. We wonder what Krieger will cook up this time. We’ll make sure to keep you in the loop when we find out.

Click HERE for more information on tickets and show dates

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Celebrity Takeover

Forest Whitaker’s Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative #Performers4Peace Benefit Concert

Jerrica White

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I had the opportunity to be in the room where it happens and see a sneak peak into the Performers4Peace Benefit Concert rehearsal.

Let me fill you in.

Carly Hughes and Marcus Paul James sang the Michiko studios down. Hamilton’s, Alysha Deslorieux, stopped by and left with my edges.

And that was only two performances.

Hosted by Academy Award winner & recent star of Hughie on Broadway, Forest Whitaker, this will be a night to remember. Tony Award winner James Monroe Iglehart will emcee the concert with Sirius XM’s Julie James The evening will be directed by Olivier Award nominee Stafford Arima (Allegiance, The Secret Garden in Concert, Ragtime [West End], Carrie, Altar Boyz), and have performances by many Broadway Black favorites including:

Tony Award winner James Monroe Iglehart (Aladdin, Memphis, Spelling Bee)
Patrice Covington (The Color Purple)
Matt Gould and Griffin Matthews (co-author’s of Invisible Thread recently at Second Stage)
Mykal Kilgore (“The Wiz Live,” Motown, Book of Mormon)
Bryan Terrell Clark (“Person of Interest,” Motown)
Alysha Deslorieux (Hamilton, Beautiful, Sister Act)
Marcus Paul James (Rent, In the Heights, Motown)
Carly Hughes (Chicago, Pippin, Book of Mormon)
Drama Desk Award winner Derrick Baskin (“Difficult People,” Memphis, Spelling Bee)
Tony Award nominee Daniel Breaker (“Mozart in the Jungle,” Book of Mormon, Passing Strange)
Master Bucket Drummer ChoclattJared (featured percussion for Bring in Da Noise Bring in Da Funk, Lauryn Hill, Aretha Franklin, Beyoncé, & more)

Come in your cocktail attire, ready to hear songs of peace made popular by the likes of Stevie Wonder, Sam Cooke, Whitney Houston, Bob Marley, Barbra Streisand & more in this one-night-only concert!

I can say without a doubt that 42West is the place to be on Monday, May 9, 2016.

Perhaps the best part of it all, is that this is for a good cause that was founded by such a humble and selfless member of our Broadway Black community, Forest Whitaker (Hughie,The Last King of Scotland, The Butler, Bird). The proceeds from Performers4Peace benefit concert will support Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative’s work to build peace in war-torn countries.

Okay!? You get it. This is a one-night performance that you MUST see!

The show starts at 8pm at 42West (514 West 42nd Street www.42west.com). Broadway Black will be doing our part to support peace and community building. Will you?

For tickets click HERE.

Performers4Peace is produced by Untitled Theatricals (An American in Paris, Hughie, Dames at Sea) in association with Langfelder Presents. The concert will be music directed by Juilliard alumnaAnnastasia Victory (Little Dancer, Leap of Faith, 3 Mo’ Divas), and the band will be comprised of musicians from various Broadway shows (The Lion King, Les Miserables, An American in Paris and The Color Purple, among others). The concert is orchestrated by Academy Award nominee & 6-time Emmy Award winner Chris Boardman; Grammy, Emmy & Drama Desk Award nominee Joseph Joubert; Andrew Beall & Annastasia Victory.

More about Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative:

Founded in 2012 by Academy Award, Golden Globe Award & BAFTA winner and UNESCO Special Envoy for Peace & Reconciliation, Forest Whitaker, WPDI’s mission is to help societies impacted by destructive conflicts transform into safer and more prosperous communities. They work to empower and inspire youth, women and global citizens to promote peace across the planet. WPDI currently has projects in South Sudan, Uganda, Mexico and The United States. For more information, please visit: www.wpdi.org

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Celebrity Takeover

Jennifer Hudson Will Star in Hairspray Live on NBC!

Andrew Shade

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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.

2016-Apr20-Hairspray-ResponsiveKA-1114x891-JW

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.”

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Broadway Black Exclusive

Head of Passes Starring Phylicia Rashad Extends + Win Two Tickets

Andrew Shade

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The Broadway Black approved production of Head of Passes by Tarell Alvin McCraney has officially been extended and rightfully so. It will now play until April 24th at the Public Theater. Tony Award winner Phylicia Rashad leads the cast as Shelah, a woman who “must fight to survive the rising flood of life’s great challenges” as her family and friends come to celebrate her birthday.

Completing the cast and telling this moving story is Alana Arenas (The Bluest Eye) as “Cookie”, Francois Battiste (Bronx Bombers) as “Aubrey”, Kyle Beltran (The Fortress of Solitude) as “Crier”, J. Bernard Calloway (All the Way) as Spencer, Robert Joy as “Dr. Anderson”, John Earl Jelks (Holler If Ya Hear Me) as “Creaker Johnson”, and Arnetia Walker (Dreamgirls) as “Mae”.

It’s also time for a giveaway and this is a really special one for us! The return of “Mutha”, aka Phylicia Rashad, to an Off-Broadway stage is nothing to be taken lightly. She is currently serving the people all kinds of master class skills in the production of Head of Passes at The Public Theater. You can’t NOT see this show so, we want to give you the opportunity to do so.

If you don’t know why we’re so adamant about making sure you see it, read about our experience in our #WeWereThere article HEREAfter you’ve finished that and you’re clearly sold on the experience, follow the rules below to qualify to win a pair of tickets to the April 22nd performance. There will be more than one winner and each winner will receive a pair of tickets to that show ONLY. If you can’t make it on that date you can still purchase tickets HERE.

How to WIN!:

1. Must be following @BroadwayBlack & @PublicTheaterNY on twitter

2. Like our Broadway Black Facebook page HERE!

3. Comment below & tell us: What has been your greatest challenge in life & why?!

Must enter before Wed April 20th at 5pm! Winners will be announced on that same day at 7pm!

 

Check out Head of Passes production photos by Joan Marcus below!

Giveaway made possible by our friends at PPLMVR! Thank you!

 

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Celebrity Takeover

Lupita Nyong’o Wins April Fool’s Day With Prank On Eclipsed Broadway Cast

Andrew Shade

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I am still crying tears of laughter as I write this. You have to watch this new video of Lupita Nyong’o, currently starring on Broadway in Eclipsed, as she pranks her castmates. I would never have guessed that she was this funny! It takes a special kind of person to be able to pull off an unexpected April Fool’s prank and Lupita proves once again just how special she really is. This is HE-LARRY-US! Watch the entire video we found posted to her Facebook below as she allows each cast member (and a stage manager) try her specially made truffles. You’ll never guess what’s inside. HAHAHAHAHAHA!

You win April Fool’s Day, Lupita! Thank you for this!

Lupita Nyong’o, Saycon Sengbloh, Pascale Armand, Akosua Busia, and Zainab Jah play the roles written by playwright and actress Danai Gurira. Zombiephiles may know Gurira from her groundbreaking role as the sword-wielding Michonne on AMC’s “The Walking Dead” series.

The play, set in 2003 near the end of the civil war in Liberia, is about the survival and resilience of a group of women who are captives of rebels fighting the government. Nyong’o, who made her Academy Award-winning screen debut in “12 Years a Slave,” stars in the role of “Girl,” the youngest of four captive wives of a rebel commander.

Eclipsed seeks to promote empowerment through telling the true story of African women in the midst of struggle— the Liberian civil war. Experience the power of women exposed. Experience the joy within a struggle. Experience the reality that war is real and desperately needs to be stopped. Experience the power of women. Get your tickets now HERE

 

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