The anticipation is over, as we now have our full principal company of NBC’s upcoming “Hairspray Live!” broadcast. Based on the 2002 Broadway musical and John Water’s 1988 film, the show follows Tracy Turnblad, a plus-sized dancer in 1960s Baltimore who strives to bring integration and diversity — big and small, black and white — to the local dance program, The Corny Collins Show, in the midst of the Civil Rights Movement.
Fresh off the success of both their respective broadcasts, Kenny Leon (“The Wiz Live!”) and Alex Rudzinski (“Grease Live!”) will co-direct, with a score by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, choreography by Tony-winner Jerry Mitchell, and a script adaptation by Harvey Fierstein, who also reprises his gender-bending, Tony-winning role of Edna Turnblad, Tracy’s mother. Craig Zadan and Neil Meron produce.
Like it’s NBC Live predecessors, the “Hairspray Live!” cast features a diverse mix of screen, stage, television, and music artists:
Maddie Baillio as “Tracy Turnblad”
Like every major Tracy before her, Baillio arrives as a newcomer, having beaten out almost 1,000 other women for the role. She’s a sophomore at Marymount Manhattan College and an alumna of the Songbook Academy®.
The 2014 Songbook Academy winner, Maddie Baillio,in her final competition performance. Maddie is the 2014 Great American Songbook Youth Ambassador! Find more information about the Songbook Competition and apply at www.TheSongbook.org. The Great American Songbook Foundation, founded by Michael Feinstein, is a non-profit organization with a mission to inspire and educate by celebrating the Great American Songbook.
Dove Cameron as “Amber von Tussle”
Many know Cameron for her duel roles in the Disney Channel television series “Liv and Maddie.” She also starred in the Disney Channel Original Movie “Descendants” and will reprise her role, “Mal,” in the upcoming sequel.
Hey guys! Here’s an awesome new song called “What A Girl Is” by Dove Cameron from Disney Channel’s “Liv and Maddie,” featuring me and the VERY amazing Baby Kaely. MissRemiAshten, Alex Aiono and Cody Wise joined in too!
Kristin Chenoweth as “Velma von Tussle”
This Tony-winning soprano has made appearances in numerous stage, movies, and television shows, however most musical theatre fans know her as the original “Glinda” in the hit Broadway musical Wicked. Chenoweth will return to Broadway for a series of concerts this November to promote her new album “The Art of Elegance.” Having also starred in DCOM’s “Descendants,” this role marks her second time playing the villainous mother to Cameron.
Music video by Kristin Chenoweth performing Maybe This Time. (C) 2015 Diva Worldwide Entertainment, Inc. Under exclusive license to Concord Music Group, Inc.
Garrett Clayton as “Link Larkin”
As another Disney Channel star, Clayton burst onto the scene in 2013 when he starred in “Teen Beach Movie,” a modern send-up of 60s beach party films. It’s no accident he bares a slight resemblance to Zac Efron, who played Link in the 2007 film.
Enjoy all the catchy tunes and cool retro beats on the Teen Beach Movie soundtrack, available now in stores and on iTunes! http://smarturl.it/tbmiTunesa1 Mack and Brady land in the middle of Wet Side Story! For more of your favorite Disney Channel shows, visit http://www.DisneyChannel.com Click the SUBSCRIBE button to get notification when new Disney Channel videos are posted!
Billy Eichner as “Rob Barker”
While chances of Eichner doing any actual singing or dancing in the show are slim (he’ll play the local TV newscaster for Baltimore’s WZZT), the comedian has enough charm and humor to bring to the table. His comedy game show, “Billy on the Street,” earned him a Daytime Emmy nomination in 2013. He joined “Parks and Recreations” in its sixth season, and currently stars in the Hulu show “Difficult People.”
CONAN Highlight: Billy loves Taylor so much that he composed her a song. Hopefully she’ll be inspired to make it her own! More CONAN @ http://teamcoco.com/video Team Coco is the official YouTube channel of late night host Conan O’Brien, CONAN on TBS & TeamCoco.com.
Harvey Fierstein as “Edna Turnblad”
There’s no question that this Broadway and film powerhouse has one of the most distinctive voices in entertainment, both in acting and writing. His play, Torch Song Trilogy, earned him two Tony Awards. He won another writing the book for La Cage aux Folles.
Music video by Harvey Fierstein performing on the Beginning of His Theatrical Career. (C) 2015 Sony Music Entertainment http://vevo.ly/ryB2XV
Ariana Grande as “Penny Pingleton”
Many have likened this Nickelodeon star and recording artist’s style and vocal range to Mariah Carey. She’s received two Grammy nominations and an MTV Video Music Award for her music. Her third album, “Dangerous Woman” debuted at number 2 on the Billboard 200. Grande got her start in 2008, making her Broadway debut in Jason Robert Brown’s musical 13.
Into You (Official Video) Taken from the new album Dangerous Woman Download Now! http://republicrec.co/AriDangerousWoman Share/Stream more from Ariana on Spotify: http://republicrec.co/DangerousWomanSP Connect with Ariana: https://twitter.com/ArianaGrande http://instagram.com/arianagrande https://www.facebook.com/arianagrande http://www.arianagrande.com Directed by Hannah Lux Davis Produced by Brandon Bonfiglio For London Alley Music video by Ariana Grande performing Into You.
Sean Hayes as “Mr. Pinky”
This Broadway vet earned an Emmy Award and multiple SAG Awards for his outstanding portrayal of goofy, flamboyant, and frequently unemployed actor Jack McFarland on the hit NBC sitcom “Will & Grace.” He’s since starred in multiple movies and television shows, such as the short-lived “Sean Saves the World.” He recently closed the limited return engagement of An Act of God on Broadway.
Here is the performance of the title song from the 2010 Broadway Revival of “Promises, Promises” by Neil Simon (book) and Burt Bacharach & Hal David (music). This video contains content owned by Warner Chappell.
Derek Hough as “Corny Collins”
The competitive Latin and ballroom dancer gained wide recognition when he joined the ranks of professional instructors of ABC’s dance competition show “Dancing with the Stars,” which he’s won five times. He’s received two Emmy Awards for his choreography. Now in its 23rd season, Hough is paired with Marilu Henner.
all rights go to DWTS and ABC 7
Jennifer Hudson as “Motormouth Maybelle”
Hudson is no stranger to musical theatre, as she recently made her Broadway debut in the Tony-winning revival of The Color Purple as “Shug Avery.” She won an Oscar, a Golden Globe, a BAFTA Award, and a SAG Award in 2007 for her breakout performance as “Effie White” in the Dreamgirls film adaptation. Since then, she’s appeared in several films and released three studio albums.
Andrea Martin as “Prudy Pingleton”
One of Broadway’s favorite comediennes has appeared in countless films and TV shows, and recently picked up a Tony nomination for her performance in Noises Off. Martin also has two Tonys for My Favorite Year and her high-flying performance in the Diane Paulus-helmed Broadway revival of Pippin.
Rosie O’Donnell as “The Gym Teacher”
O’Donnell has been a long-time fan of Broadway, having appeared in several shows and creating Rosie’s Broadway Kids, a charitable organization bringing free music and dance instruction to New York City public schools. She’s received multiple Emmy Awards for “The Rosie O’Donnell Show” and for hosting the 52nd Annual Tony Awards.
After Rosie O’Donnell explains how much she loves the Broadway hit show, Hamilton, James and Rosie show each other how well they know the lyrics.
Martin Short as “Wilbur Turnblad”
Short’s last stint on Broadway was the Terrance McNally play, It’s Only a Play. He has multiple stage, film, and television credits to his name, including his recent NBC variety show, “Maya & Marty,” which also starred comedienne Maya Rudolph.
Jiminy Glick (Martin Short) interviews Drake on Jiminy Glick’s Celebrity Sensations. ” Subscribe for More: http://bit.ly/NBCMayaAndMarty ” Get More Maya & Marty: http://www.nbc.com/maya-and-marty MAYA & MARTY ON SOCIAL: Like Maya & Marty on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mayaandmarty Follow Maya & Marty on Twitter: https://twitter.com/mayaandmarty Find Maya & Marty on Tumblr: http://mayaandmarty.tumblr.com/ Follow Maya & Marty on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mayaandmarty/ NBC’s Maya & Marty stars Maya Rudolph and Martin Short in a brand new primetime variety show.
Ephraim Sykes as “Seaweed J. Stubbs”
Sykes has five Broadway credits under his
dance-belt, including Newsies, Motown, and Hamilton. He recently appeared in the Martin Scorsese and Mick Jagger HBO series “Vinyl.”
The Skivvies (Lauren Molina and Nick Cearley) are joined by Ephraim Sykes at 54 Below 8/22/14. Andrew Gutauskas on saxophone, Charlie Rosen on melodica.
Shahadi Wright Joseph as “Little Inez”
Any young singer who can pull off Streisand deserves all the amount of praise. Joseph made history at the age of 9 by being the youngest actress to play the role of “Young Nala” in The Lion King. She joined the cast of School of Rock in 2015. Additionally, she attends Trey Whitfield School.
Shahadi sings Don’t Rain on My Parade in Times Square for Tunes in Times Square
Paul Vogt as “Mr. Spritzer”
Vogt is no stranger to Hairspray, as he performed the role of Edna on Broadway in 2007. He’s appeared in several films and television shows, including the long-running comedy sketch show “MADtv.”
Members of the ensemble cast include: Josh Alexander, William Bell, Helene Britany, Riley Costello, Kelli Ann Erdmann, Zack Everhart, Sam Faulkner, Annie Gratton, Thomasina Gross, Marissa Heart, Joanna Jones, Jacque Lewarne, Tommy Martinez, Allie Meixner, Eliotte Nicole, Tiana Okoye, Amos Oliver III, Tyler Parks, Re’sean Pates, Andrew Pirozzi, Katherine Roarty, Rhon Sanders, Ricky Schroeder, Heather Tepe, Joy Marie Thomas, Mason Trueblood, Karl Skyler Urban, Keenan Washington, and Jason Williams.
Kamilah Marshall, Judine Somerville, and Shayna Steele, who portrayed “The Dynamites” in the original Broadway company reprise their roles. The trio appears in the number “Welcome to the 60s.” Unissa Cruse-Ferguson, a dancer from Baltimore, landed a spot in the broadcast after beating hundreds in an audition at the local Hippodrome Theatre.
“Hairspray Live!” airs December 7th on NBC.
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.
Hercules Plans to Go the Broadway Distance
The 1997 Disney animated film “Hercules” will soon become a Broadway musical, according to composer Alan Menken.
In an interview with The Orange County Register, Menken discussed his participation in the upcoming D23 Expo in Anaheim, CA. He will provide a behind the scenes look at his role in several Disney productions including “Aladdin”, “Beauty and the Beast”, “Newsies”, and “The Little Mermaid”. Notice a pattern here? All of those productions are now Tony-winning (or in the case of The Little Mermaid, nominated) Broadway musicals.
Bringing 90’s Disney films to life on stage appears to be the new trend as for each aforementioned production, roughly 20 years has passed since the Disney theatrical release. When asked which films he thought were underrated, Menken replied “I have a very strong belief like “Newsies”, “Hercules” is going to have a moment that will surprise people. Actually, I’m working on a stage version of “Hercules.” So far, no timeline or casting has been announced for this project.
If the 20 year waiting period from screen to stage can be believed, we should probably look forward to an announcement next year about a stage production of either “Mulan” or “A Bug’s Life.” Both were released in 1998, but we’re crossing our fingers for the one that’s more likely to star Lea Salonga.
The “Hercules” animated film starred the voices of Lillias White (Dreamgirls), Cheryl Freeman (The Civil War), LaChanze (The Color Purple), Roz Ryan (Ain’t Misbehavin’) and Vanéese Y. Thomas (R&B Single “Let’s Talk it Over”) as the muses and narrators of the tale, Keith David (Jelly’s Last Jam) as Apollo, Roger Bart (Big River) as Hercules’ singing voice and Susan Egan (Beauty and the Beast) as Megara.
Michaela Coel Stars in London-based Musical “Been So Long” Film Adaption
Michaela Coel, creator, writer, and star of the BAFTA award-winning Netflix original series, “Chewing Gum”, stars in the London-based musical “Been So Long,” a film adaptation based on the 2009 stage musical by Ché Walker and Arthur Darvill.
Coel plays Simone, a young single mother charmed into a magical night in the city by a handsome stranger with a questionable past- played by Arinzé Kene (One Night in Miami). This modern day love story set in London’s “musical hot-bed” of Camden Town promises a soundtrack with a mix of RnB, Nu Soul and UK dance, as well as music from guest producers.
Coel is joined by an all-singing and all-dancing cast that includes George Mackay (“Captain Fantastic“), Ronke Adekoluejo (“Chewing Gum”), Ashley Thomas (“24”), Joe Dempsie (“Game Of Thrones”), Luke Norris (“The Duchess”), Rakie Ayola (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child) and Mya Lewis (“Olaf’s Quest”). It is Directed by BAFTA award-winner Tinge Krishnan (“Junkhearts”) and produced by the BAFTA-nominated Nadine Marsh-Edwards (“Bhaji on the Beach”) and Amanda Jenks (“The Girl”) of Greenacre Films.
Filming began earlier this year, shortly after season 2 of “Chewing Gum” was released on Netflix, and while she is making waves as a comedienne, Coel admits she is a stranger to musicals. However, Coel is no stranger to the stage and is quite theatrically and musically inclined having performed her one-woman show Chewing Gum Dreams in various theatres across London (2012-2014) before turning it into the hit series we know and love. She also wrote and recorded six of the tracks from season 1 of “Chewing Gum,” including the theme song.
Still, of singing and dancing on screen Coel shares, “It is a big stretch for me…I’ve never done anything like this in my life. It’s either going to be really amazing or just like, ‘What the f–k was that?’” (Screen Daily).
Either way, we’re rooting for her and can’t wait to see her on the big screen.
“Been So Long” made its rounds at the Cannes Film Festival in May and is set for international release in 2018. “Chewing Gum” season 3 is yet to be confirmed.
Pharrell Williams Is Taking Us To Atlantis With Upcoming Musical Bio-Pic
The day has finally come! Pharrell Williams is making a musical! Fox Studios recently bought the rights to the upcoming film, entitled Atlantis. The movie will tell the story of Pharrell’s upbringing in Virginia Beach and, of course, there will be music! Atlantis will be Williams’ second collaboration with Fox Studios following the 2016 blockbuster Hidden Figures.
The ten-time Grammy Award-winning artist’s work has spanned several genres of music, including everything from pop to funk to hip-hop and R&B. He has production creds with Beyoncé, Britney Spears, Kendrick Lamar, Snoop Dogg, Robin Thicke, Frank Ocean, and we know what Pharrell can do with a soundtrack! Let’s not forgot Despicable Me 2’s “Happy!” How could you, the song was everywhere!
This coming-of-age musical was inevitable, as far as I’m concerned. Pharrell’s work with Hidden Figures took folks to church, not to mention all the music he gave us in the 90’s with N.E.R.D. and The Neptunes! This upcoming movie will finally give us a musical look into the man.
Martin Hynes will pen the film’s script. So far, we can expect a Romeo & Juliet-inspired illustration of Pharrell’s adolescence. No cast announcements yet, but we know that Pharrell will reunite with Dope co-producer, Mimi Valdés. Spring Awakening’s Michael Mayer will direct the film. The team rallying behind this project is strong; they’ve got Grammy-winning musicians, an Oscar and Tony-winning production team, and dozens of amazing projects! We can’t contain our excitement!
Who do you think will join the film’s cast? Could this bring Janelle Monáe back to the silver screen? What are you looking forward to seeing in Atlantis?
Once On This Island Revival Set to Arrive on Broadway This Fall
Earlier this week, producers Ken Davenport and Hunter Arnold announced that the Michael Arden-directed Broadway revival of Once On This Island will begin performances November 9, with an official December 3 opening. A theatre has not been announced.
Camille A. Brown, a Broadway Black favorite, also joins the creative team as choreographer. Her previous credits include Cabin In The Sky, The Box, and tick, tick…BOOM!
Last December, a developmental workshop for the show featured Darlesia Cearcy, Lawrence Clayton, Patrice Covington, Quentin Earl Darrington, Charity Angel Dawson, Mike Evariste, Adrianna Jackson, Bre Jackson, Cassondra James, Isaiah Johnson, Mykal Kilgore, Grasan Kingsberry, Kenita R. Miller, Dimitri Joseph Moise, and Maria Wirries.
While casting for the Broadway production hasn’t been announced, producers have stated that an international casting call will take place for the title role of Ti Moune. Starting April 7 in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, the search will then go on to Detroit (April 14), Chicago (April 15), Los Angeles (April 27), New Orleans (April 29), Atlanta (April 30), and conclude in New York on May 2.
An Equity casting notice also revealed that the show will get a staged reading in June before its Broadway bow.
The story centers around Ti Moune, a peasant girl in love with a much wealthier boy Daniel, set in the French Antilles and based on the novel My Love, My Love by Rosa Guy.
The show features music by Stephen Flaherty and a book and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens, the composing team that won a Tony Award in 1998 for Ragtime. Once On This Island first made its way to Broadway in 1990, directed by Graciela Daniele and starring LaChanze.
It received eight Tony Award nominations, including Best Musical, Best Score, and Best Performance by a Featured Actress for LaChanze. The show ran for a total of 19 previews and 469 regular performances.
Visit OnceOnThisIsland.com for more information about the production and open calls.
Ain’t Too Proud–The Temptations Musical Will Play Berkeley Rep Theatre’s 2017-2018 Season
Berkeley Repertory Theatre’s upcoming season has some new and exciting works from creators such as Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket of A Series of Unfortunate Events), Dominique Morisseau, Nilaja Sun, and Lillian Hellman. Most importantly, the 2017-18 line-up will bring forth a look at the biggest male R&B group: The Temptations.
Ain’t Too Proud–The Temptations, penned by Morisseau, will begin in August, with direction by Des McAnuff, who staged the Broadway hit Jersey Boys. Aside from McAnuff, the creative team includes Olivier Award-winning choreographer Sergio Trujillo and musical director and supervisor Kenny Seymour.
Billed as The Detroit Project, the Motown-inspired musical listed an equity casting notice on Playbill last December with characters such as Otis Williams, Paul Williams, Eddie Kendricks, Melvin Franklin, Elbridge “Al” Bryant, and David Ruffin (who later replaced Bryant). Other roles include the legendary Smokey Robinson and Tammi Terrell, as well as Dennis Edwards, the Supremes’ Mary Wilson, Richard Street.
The show follows the group from their start in Detroit to their rise to fame, including the production of several hits for Motown. The musical will focus on the group’s “heydey” and not the latter years including drugs and internal turmoil. As Showbiz411‘s Roger Friedman reports: “While the plotline sounds similar to Broadway’s recent offering, Motown The Musical, the show will tell the story from the five musicians’ point of view, rather than from that of Motown legend Berry Gordy.”
Audiences can expect to hear traditional Temptations hits from the Motown catalogue, such as “My Girl,” “Just My Imagination,” and “Poppa Was a Rolling Stone.”
For more information, visit Berkeley Repertory Theatre.