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Broadway Musical Pippin’ Coming To The Big Screen?

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According to Deadline, the Weinstein Company is working on a movie adaptation of Stephen Schwartz and Roger Hirsen’s Pippin. There isn’t a lot of information out there but all we know so far is that James Ponsoldt will pen the script for this under appreciated musical. With music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz and book by Roger Hirsen, Pippin is about the son of King Charlemagne who, like most young people, is trying figure out who he is and what is his place in the world. The original Broadway production opened in 1972 with the incomparable Bob Fosse at the helm. It recently returned to Broadway and is currently playing. The current production is slated to open on April 25th.

I think that it is interesting that news broke about this project now. We are only about 13 days until the Tony Awards are announced and this show is probably going to at least nominated in the category of Best Revival of a Musical. Why not wait until after the Tony announcements? Why not wait until after it even opens? While the Weinstein’s probably don’t have money invested in the Broadway production, by capitalizing on a big moment you might attract film buffs to go see the current production. They of course are then going to want to compare it to the film version. All I see is a win-win situation for everybody.

The biggest question is who will star as the “Leading Man”? Ben Vereen originated that role and won a Tony for it in the original Broadway production in 1972. The best choice would probably be Patina Miller, who is currently reprising the role as the first female “Leading Man”. If they try to stick with a male “Leading Man” maybe they might look towards Leslie Odom Jr. I think he might do a pretty good job in that role. Whatever the case may be, there is still very little information about this production. Let’s just hope that film actually gets made.

 

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Leads & Legends

Audra McDonald Is Divine in Sexy Movie Musical “Hello Again”

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The origin of the word diva comes from the Latin word for “divine,” and when we talk about Black Broadway, there’s one person that fits that bill every time: Our Lady of Song, Audra McDonald. Though she’s played some fantastic leading ladies on stage, we’re excited to see her on the big screen again. No, not in Beauty and the Beast, but by another singing film role, this time as Sally, an diva and mistress to a senator (Martha Plimpton) in Michael Lachiusa’s movie musical, “Hello Again.”

 

If that job title sounds familiar, it’s because Audra performed Hello Again’s “Mistress of the Senator” on her 1998 album “Way Back To Paradise.” We get chills when we see McDonald’s name with Lachiusa’s because of their rich history of fabulous music. Lachiusa wrote “Marie Christine” (1999) and “See What I Wanna See”(2005); both starred McDonald.

 

“Hello Again” is the cinematic adaptation of LaChiusa’s celebrated Off-Broadway musical of the same name; inspired by Arthur Schnitzler’s controversial 1897 play “La Ronde.” Ten fleeting love affairs across a century in New York City history are explored through ten lust-filled musical episodes.

 

The film makes its rounds in film festival scenes across the country throughout the summer. While you wait to see if it’s coming to a theater near you, soothe your soul with this music video of McDonald from the film. It’s titled “Beyond the Moon” which is as apt description of the lengths we’ll go to find tickets to this amazingly sexy film.

 

“Hello Again” also stars Cheyenne Jackson (Xanadu), Martha Plimpton (Top Girls), Jenna Ushkowitz (Spring Awakening) and several others.

The film makes its rounds in film festival scenes across the country throughout the summer. While you wait to see if it’s coming to a theater near you, soothe your soul with this music video of McDonald from the film. It’s titled “Beyond the Moon” which is as apt description of the lengths we’ll go to find tickets to this amazingly sexy film.

“Hello Again” also stars Cheyenne Jackson (Xanadu), Martha Plimpton (Top Girls), Jenna Ushkowitz (Spring Awakening) and several others.

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The Big Screen

‘The Color Purple’ Star Cynthia Erivo Joins Viola Davis in Steve McQueen’s ‘Widows’

Jazmine Harper-Davis

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While I was one of many who mourned the loss of yet another majority African-American show on the Great White Way, there always seems to be a silver lining.This time, that comes in the form of being able to witness Tony Award winners Cynthia Erivo and Viola Davis co-star on the big screen for the thriller ‘Widows’ directed by Steve McQueen and a screenplay by ‘Gone Girl’s’ Gillian Flynn. Talk about a talent overload.

The film based on the 1983 British miniseries,  follows a group of four women who unite to pull off the heist that left their husbands—a group of armed robbers—dead.

This marks Erivo’s big screen debut, and its no surprise that after taking Broadway by storm with her talent, the silver screen is the next path to set ablaze. She has previously appeared on screen in the U.K. series Mr. Selfridge, and most recently Chewing Gum. Her additional stage credits include I Can’t Sing! in the West End, the U.K. tour of Sister Act and the most recent one-night-only concert of The Last Five Years.

While we wait for this on-screen slayage, don’t forget to get your tickets to The Color Purple before the show plays its final performance January 8th (also Erivo’s 30th birthday). Don’t block your blessing!

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Coming Soon

Black-ish Casts Daveed Diggs For Season 3

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Man, the man is non-stop!

As reported last week, Tony winner Daveed Diggs has a series of projects lined up right after departing Hamilton. And it looks like he can add another television credit to his resume, as he’ll join the cast of ABC’s “black-ish” for season 3.

Diggs will have a recurring arc as ‘Johan,’ brother of Rainbow Johnson, portrayed by Tracee Ellis Ross, and foil to her husband Dre Johnson, played by Anthony Anderson. I can already see the resemblance in the luscious, full head of hair.

Creator and showrunner Kenya Barris describes Johan as a “hipster, entitled kid” who frequently clashes with Dre:

“He’s constantly on a search for the best conditioner for his hair. He’s probably gone to Penn or Wharton and could have gotten a great-paying job, but he’s trying to find himself. That attitude more than anything makes Dre want to strangle him.”

This also wouldn’t be the first time the “black-ish” stars have crossed paths with anything Hamilton-related.

According to Barris, most of the cast had seen the Tony- and Pulitzer-winning musical, and he was personally struck by Diggs’ charismatic nature both times he sat in the audience. He was thrilled to learn Diggs had a mutual adoration for “black-ish.”

Additionally, fans can look forward to seeing and hearing Diggs in Netflix’s “The Get Down,” Andy Samberg’s HBO mockumentary “Tour de Pharmacy,” and the Lionsgate film “Wonder.”

“black-ish” returns to ABC on September 21, 9:30|8:30c.

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A Must See

Denzel Washington Led Fences Film Will Open Christmas Day

Jerrica White

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Notifying all family members, children, and baes. Looks like we’re going to the movie theater this Christmas!

The film adaptation of August Wilson’s Fences will open on December 16 for a limited release in New York and Los Angeles, and will expand nationwide on Christmas day. As previously reported, Denzel Washington will direct and star alongside Viola Davis, Mykelti Williamson, and Russell Hornsby, all of which are reprising their roles from the 2010 Broadway revival.

Fences is a 1983 play by American playwright August Wilson. Set in the 1950s, it is the sixth in Wilson’s ten-part “Pittsburgh Cycle,” a set of 10 plays set in Pittsburgh throughout an entire century. Like all of the “Pittsburgh” plays, Fences explores the evolving African-American experience and examines race relations, among other themes. The show centers on Troy Maxson, a Pittsburgh sanitation worker who once dreamed of a baseball career, but was too old when the major leagues finally admitted black players. As he faces off against the racial barrier at work and his own disappointments, Troy also grapples with his son Cory over the teenager’s hope for a football scholarship and with his wife, Rose, who confronts Troy over a child he has fathered with another woman.

The original Broadway production hit broadway in 1987. It won the Pulitzer Prize and Best Play Tony Award as well as Best Actor for James Earl Jones and Best Actress for Mary Alice. The same roles and Tony Awards later played/won by Washington and Davis in the revival.

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Coming Soon

What Comes Next for Daveed Diggs? Film, TV & New Music!

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It’s been only four days since Daveed Diggs announced his sudden departure from Hamilton, with his final curtain call taking place Friday, July 15. But not to worry. Already, the Tony Award-winner has a series of various projects lined up.

Last month his noise-rap trio, clipping., dropped a 6-track EP called “Wriggle.” Shortly after, they released a music video, made up of fast cuts of popular gifs, for the title song.

Let’s just say I lived for the “Mommie Dearest” and “Showgirls” plugs.

He also collaborated on a track with experimental rap group True Neutral Crew, called “Modern Art,” from their debut album “soft rules.” Listen below:

He’s signed on to Andy Samberg’s (The Lonely Island, “Saturday Night Live”) HBO mockumentary titled “Tour de Pharmacy,” a limited series that tackles the role of doping in the world of professional cycling.  The cast also includes Phylicia Rashad and Mike Tyson. He certainly has the comedic chops this show may require.

Get ready to binge-watch Baz Luhrmann’s upcoming Netflix series “The Get Down,” a fictional narrative about the birth of hip-hop among kids in the South Bronx, premiering August 12. Luhrmann revealed that Diggs will act as the narrator.

In what may be the first of many more film roles to come, Diggs joins the cast of Lionsgate’s “Wonder,” starring young actor Jacob Tremblay (“Room”), Julia Roberts, and Owen Wilson. Based on R.J. Palacio’s novel, the story follows Auggie Pullman, a young boy with a facial deformity as he enters the fifth grade. Stephen Chbosky directs.

Despite our lingering sadness, we couldn’t be happier for him. He’ll always be our Marquis de Lafayette, our Thomas Jefferson, but he has more than enough talent and charisma to take on a plethora of different roles. And we can’t wait to witness every one of them.

Best of luck, Daveed! You’re welcome back to Broadway any time!

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A Must See

Misty Copeland to Dance in Disney’s The Nuctracker Film

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American Ballet Theatre principle dancer Misty Copeland will join the cast of Disney’s live action film The Nutcracker and the Four Realms. She’ll portray the leading ballerina role in the only dance sequence in the movie.

Lasse Hallström directs the project, based on E.T.A. Hoffman’s The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, also the basis for the Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky ballet we all know and love.


Last summer, Copeland leaped onto the map when ABT promoted her to principle dancer, becoming the first Black woman in the 76-year history to hold the title.

Last Fall she made her Broadway debut in the Tony-nominated revival On the Town for select performances. This week, she prepares to dance Romeo & Juliet at the Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts in Vienna, Virginia.

It appears Copeland has a lot to look forward to within the next year. She launched her first dancewear line, Égal Dance. New Line has found screenwriter Gregory Howard (“Remember the Titans”) to adapt her memoir, “Life In Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina,” into a film. As reported by Deadline last year, she’s teamed up with writer Tracy Oliver to develop a Fox series set in the world of dance.

A documentary about her life, “A Ballerina’s Tale” premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2015.

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