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Andrew Shade






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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Celebrity Takeover

Forest Whitaker’s Hughie Pushes Back Start of Previews

Tanya Isley



If you are one of the many people who’ve been eagerly anticipating the Broadway debut of Academy Award winner Forest Whitaker in the revival of Eugene O’Neill’s Hughie, you’ll have to wait just a couple of days longer. The production was originally slated to begin previews on February 5; previews will now begin on February 8. Despite, the slight delay, opening is still scheduled for February 25 at the Booth Theatre.

Whitaker will star alongside stage veteran and Tony Award winner Frank Wood in the short two-character play set in the lobby of a small hotel on a West Side street in midtown New York during the summer of 1928. The play is what’s known as a two-hander — essentially a monologue — about the recently deceased night clerk of a grim hotel on Manhattan’s West Side who’s still mourned by “Erie Smith,” a drunk hustler keen on impressing Hughie’s replacement, “Charlie Hughes,” with reminiscences of past hijinks and adventures.

Whitaker will star as “Erie Smith and Wood will take on the role of “Charlie Hughes.” Tony winner Michael Grandage will direct the play.

Whitaker has built an impressive resume in films such as “Lee Daniels’ The Butler,” “Bird,” and “Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai.” In 2007, he won an Academy Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role for his performance as Ugandan dictator Idi Amin in 2006’s “The Last King of Scotland.” He also is a noted director who helmed the iconic girlfriend film “Waiting To Exhale” starring Whitney Houston, Loretta Devine, and Angela Bassett.

Wood won a Tony Award in 1999 for Best Featured Actor in a Play for Side Man. He also played “Bill” in the Broadway production of August: Osage County.

Hughie was last seen on Broadway in 1996 at the Circle in the Square Theatre in a production directed by and starring Al Pacino.

For more information about Hughie and to purchase tickets, visit here.

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ProductionPro: Helping Artists Do It For Themselves

Tavia Riveè



Over the last 10 years, the theater industry has experienced a significant artistic boost with performers flocking to New York and L.A. by the thousands every year. On the flip side, performing arts was also recently listed in Forbes as one of the lowest starting salaries for graduating students. Artists have now realized that if they want a gig, they may have to create it themselves. With mediums like YouTube, Instagram and Vine and networking platforms like The New York Musical Theater Festival and The Fringe Festival, artists are capitalizing on the opportunity to create and premiere their own work, and they’re using ProductionPro to do it.

ProductionPro, founded by theater graduate Alex Libby, is “a mobile service that allows users to mock up visuals by assembling all the concepts and designs on one platform and sharing the most up to date version of each production at any given time.” Basically, you can see the show before the show.

Available on the App Store, with ProductionPro, users can:
-Create a new show
-Centrally access all shows – new and archived
-Create a customized visual breakdown of each scene or beat in a show
– Automatically break down a PDF of a script regardless of what format it’s written in.
– Connect ideas and designs to the breakdown of your Shows.
– Present images for each scene or beat.
– Quickly navigate to any moment in the Script simply by flipping the orientation of the iPad.
– Access an outline of the Show when a script is not yet available.
– Collaborate on a Show in real-time from anywhere.

Libby and his “team of highly-skilled software engineers and experienced Show People from film and theatre” are very familiar with what it takes to comprise a show. Libby himself is a former production assistant and stage manager for shows including Legally Blonde, Wicked and Billy Elliot.

The startup is currently celebrating earning top honors at the Made in NY Media Center Demo Day. Their success not only marks their position as an efficient, growing media service, but also proves, that sometimes, especially in a field as competitive as entertainment, you simply have to make your own way.

Find out more about this app and how it can be help your creative work by downloading it on your iPad and visiting the website.


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Broadway Black Kids

BB Kids: Bobbi MacKenzie & More Make Broadway Debuts in School of Rock

Tavia Riveè



Class is in session as young artists Taylor Caldwell, Bobbi MacKenzie, Brandon “Taz” Niederauer and Shahadi Wright Joseph take the stage in the new Broadway show, School of Rock- The Musical.

While Joseph made history at 9 years old becoming the youngest actress ever to play “Young Nala” in Broadway’s The Lion King, School of Rock marks the Broadway debut for pre-teen powerhouses Caldwell, Mackenzie and Niederaruer.  The crew make up a quarter of the junior cast who earned a coveted role in the Broadway show with the largest children’s ensemble since Matilda.

“Taz” is an expert guitarist who, since performing on the “Ellen DeGeneres Show” at 10, has paired up with some of the most notable musicians in the game.  And11 year old MacKenzie recently had “the best week of [her] life” when she sang for Michelle Obama at the White House just days after previews began for School of Rock.

Based on the hit 2003 film starring Jack Black, “School of Rock – The Musical follows Dewey Finn, a failed wannabe rock star who decides to earn a few extra bucks by posing as a substitute teacher at a prestigious prep school. Completely disinterested in academic work, Dewey decides to create his own curriculum, turning his class into a guitar-shredding, bass-slapping, mind-blowing rock band.”

The class of School of Rock has been having a blast since the cast was announced in September.  The kids performed on the “Today Show” in October, received a spread in the November issue of “Vanity Fair” and recently announced they will be rocking out at the Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Alex Brightman leads the cast as Dewey Finn, alongside Sierra Boggess as Principal Rosalie Mullins.  Sister Act’s Alan H. Green joins the ensemble.  Directed by Laurence Connor, the musical features a score by legend Andrew Lloyd Webber and Glenn Slater and a book by Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes.

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Here at Broadway Black, we love to see our little ones achieving greatness! Congratulations to all of the young stars!

School of Rock is currently in previews and opens at the Winter Garden Theater on Dec. 6.  The show will also offer a daily lottery ticket drawing for a limited number of $25 front row orchestra tickets.  Visit SchoolofRockMusical

.com for more information.

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Leads & Legends

The Color Purple Begins Previews Marking JHud Broadway Debut

Tavia Riveè



The production we’ve been waiting for is finally here!  Jennifer Hudson, Cynthia Erivo and Danielle Brooks will each make their Broadway debut when The Color Purple begins previews at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theater on November 10.

We at Broadway Black have kept you in the loop chronicling every tweet, every article, every interview, every post surrounding the highly anticipated arrival, and now the opportunity to experience what I predict can only be described as “getting your ENTIRE life” is now upon us.

John Doyle’s “stripped down” adaptation of the 2005 Tony nominated piece cuts approximately 30 minutes of material from the original Broadway production.  Even so, breathtaking sneak peeks and coverage of the rehearsal process would indicate that this brilliant cast will deliver everything we need.

Adapted from the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel and Oscar-nominated film, The Color Purple tells the inspirational story of Celie, who through faith and the power of love, triumphs over relentless pain and adversity to find the God-given strength she never knew she had.

According to press notes, “with a soul-raising score of jazz, gospel, ragtime and blues, The Color Purple gives an exhilarating new spirit to this Pulitzer Prize-winning story.”

Joining Erivo as “Celie,” Brooks as “Sophia” and Hudson as “Shug Avery,” are Isaiah Johnson as “Mister,” Joaquina Kalukango as “Nettie,” and Kyle Scatliffe as “Harpo.” Rounding off the ensemble are Dwayne Clark (Spiderman), Lawrence Clayton (Bells Are Ringing), Carrie Compere (Holler If Ya Hear Me), Bre Jackson (Book of Mormon), Grasan Kingsberry (The Color Purple original 2005 cast), Kevyn Morrow (A Chorus Line), Ken Robinson (Memphis), Antoine L. Smith (Memphis) and Rema Webb (The Lion King).  Phoenix BestPatrice CovingtonAdrianna HicksCarla R. Stewart and Akron Watson will all also be making their Broadway debuts.

We’ve got our tickets HERE! Make sure to get them NOW!

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A Must See

Off Book: Sneak Peek of Invisible Thread at Second Stage Theatre

Andrew Shade



There are very few musicals that give you chills from the very first note but, when you hear it and you get the chance to experience it, you never want to let it go. This has been the experience for us with Invisible Thread. It was a beautiful day at the Apollo for the Classical Theatre Harlem 15th anniversary celebration when we first heard this score and received its message. Let’s just say we haven’t been able to get it out of our heads since. Now we have the privilege of giving you a sneak peek at the sure to be a hit musical, Invisible Thread.

The show formerly known as Witness Uganda, is inspired by the true story and life of its creators Matt Gould & Griffin Matthews. The show follows the life of a New York City man, Griffin, who volunteers for an aid project in Uganda, the challenges he faced and how it changed his life. Matthews stars as himself in the new musical with Jeremy Pope (Choir Boy) as the alternate, playing the role of “Griffin” in some performances.

Determined to find his place in the world, 20-something Griffin leaves his job and his New York City apartment to volunteer for a charity in Africa. But when his altruistic aspirations collide with the real world, his life is changed in unexpected and profound ways. Inspired by a true story, this rousing new musical infuses a world pop score with African beats in an electrifying journey about discovering whether changing the world is even possible.

Screen Shot 2015-10-27 at 6.47.17 PMCo-creator Griffin Matthews will be joined by Melody Betts (“Chicago PD”); Rodrick Covington (Central Avenue Breakdown); Kevin Curtis (A Chorus Line National Tour); Tyrone Davis, Jr. (Shrek National Tour); Nkrumah Gatling (Hair); Latrisa Harper (The Color Purple); Jason Herbert (Fela!); Aisha Jackson (Beautiful); Kristolyn Lloyd (Heathers The Musical); Michael Lluwoye (Fable); Corey Mach (Hands on a Hardbody); Tiffany Mann (Lincoln Center’s Sweeney Todd); Jamard Richardson (The Book of Mormon); Nicolette Robinson (Brooklynite); Adeola Role (Lily’s Revenge); Conor Ryan (Cinderella) and Jamar Williams (Broken Window Theory)

We take you back to our Off Book series and into the world of Invisible Thread with this musical preview. This show begins previews Oct 31 at Second Stage Theatre. See what the creators & director have to say about the process and watch some vibrant musical numbers.

New York Premiere in association with American Repertory Theater


A New Musical





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A Must See

Hold The Applause: Theatre Etiquette From James Earl Jones & Cicely Tyson

Leah Marché



It is opening day of D.L. Coburn’s Pulitzer Prize-winning The Gin Game, starring legendary thespians Cicely Tyson and James Earl Jones, and you can forget the applause.

Entrance applause, that is.

The play – performed at the Golden Theatre since previews began Sept. 23 – officially opens  today, October 14, and the two award-winning actors are nipping the fanfare at the bud.

It’s quite understandable for theatergoers to be excited to see the veteran duo. It’s been nearly 50 years since they have shared a Broadway stage (the 1966 showcase of Black poetry with Roscoe Lee Browne’s A Hand Is On The Gate). Before that, they were among the long-running 1961 Off Broadway production The Blacks by Jean Genet. TV and film projects also have not escaped the Tony and Emmy winning actors.

Tyson and Jones, 90 and 84, respectively, would have plenty of lessons to share as a result of their long careers. Yet, a lesson in theatre etiquette is now at hand.

Of course, it should be a given that loud talking, eating, sleeping and the use of cell phones is not a good look at the theatre – as well as going on stage to charge a cell phone in a fake outlet.

According to New York Show Tickets, standing ovations and entrance applause are overdone. It admonishes to not give in to peer pressure.

Traditionally, applause for an actor when he or she first takes the stage and standing ovations at the end of a Broadway show were signs of an audience so full of appreciation and respect that they couldn’t help themselves. Lately, these reactions seem to have become obligatory, and unfortunately when standing ovations and entrance applause are done out of mere habit, they essentially become meaningless. Ultimately, how you react is up to you, but let your true feelings guide you.

Well, Tyson and Jones no doubt are more concerned with giving the best performance possible than they are with an audience’s “true feelings.”

They both agree that the entrance applause is distracting. Tyson said her role is “one of the most difficult things I’ve ever tackled.” It doesn’t help that her castmate can complicate matters. She admitted that Jones keeps her in fits of laughter. During rehearsals, she pleaded with the cast to let her get her giggles out.

For an Associated Press article, Tyson further said: “It is extremely difficult in some instances to contain myself and to remain true to the character that I’m trying to play. I really can’t allow for it to happen in the theater.”

Jones, who continues to find theatre fascinating, said: “Once we open this play, we’ll still be discovering stuff about it.”

So to respect the work of the incredible union, hold your applause until… well, you have a Gin hand.

Directed by Leonard Foglia, The Gin Game follows Weller Martin (Jones) and Fonsia Dorsey (Tyson) – two residents of a nursing home who strike a friendship. Weller shares his knowledge of gin rummy, while together they relate stories of their past and expose one another’s failures, disappointments and insecurities.

The Gin Game has a limited engagement of 16 weeks, ending in January. Tyson will not perform Dec 5-6. Get your tickets HERE.

What do you think about the request by the actors?

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