Featured Image: Emilio Madrid-Kuser
We’re shook! Following a nearly two-year run as Hercules Mulligan and James Madison in the Broadway smash Hamilton, Okieriete Onaodowan will replace current star Josh Groban as the title character of Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812 beginning July 3rd.
As reported by the New York Times, and alongside Denée Benton (who plays Natasha), Oak will lead a multi-ethnic cast in a show that isn’t even about Black characters. The musical, adapted from a section of Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace, takes place in 19th century Russia.
Staged as an immersive, and at times, anachronistic opera at the Imperial Theatre, The Great Comet focuses on a betrothed princess’ love affair with an aristocratic hedonist just before the French invasion.
Director Rachel Chavkin feels this casting choice might “introduce a whole other side of [Oak] to everyone who loves him from Hamilton.” The pair previously worked together in the 2014 Old Globe Theater production of The Royale.
Fans will also have the chance to see Oak work out his accordion skills.
The cast also currently features Lucas Steele as Anatole, Brittain Ashford as Sonya, Amber Gray as Hélène, Grace McLean as Marya, Nick Choksi as Dolokhov, Nicholas Belton as Andrey/Bolkonsky, Gelsey Bell as Mary, and Paul Pinto as Balaga.
Sumayya Ali, Courtney Basset, Josh Canfield, Kennedy Caughell, Ken Clark, Erica Dorfler, Lulu Fall, Ashley Pérez Flanagan, Nick Gaswirth, Alex Gibson, Brad Giovanine, Billy Joe Kiessling, Mary Spencer Knapp, Blaine Alden Krauss, Reed Luplau, Brandt Martinez, Andrew Mayer, Mary Page Nance, Shoba Narayan, Azudi Onyejekwe, Pearl Rhein, Celia Mei Rubin, Heath Saunders, Ani Taj, Cathryn Wake, Katrina Yaukey, and Lauren Zakrin portray various ensemble roles.
Production has wrapped on a full Broadway cast recording, featuring music, book, and lyrics by Dave Malloy. Groban, after several extensions, plays his final performance on July 2nd.
For tickets, follow the Great Comet.
Tituss Burgess Has New Music, A New Movie, & No Time For Mess + The Preacher’s Wife Musical Update
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
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.
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Dressed to impress 🎩 fun shot with some of the incredible cast of “Dolemite Is My Name” premiering at the Toronto Film Festival! Keep an eye peeled for more of these incredible outfits and a release date soon to come 😏 • #dolemiteismyname #dolemite #newmovie #torontofilmfestival #ohCanada #Ay #ThisWardrobeTho #ThisCastTho #eddiemurphy #mikeepps #chrisrock #wesleysnipes #keeganmichaelkey #craigrobinson
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.”
and this is why we live.
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
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