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Shonda Rhimes Makes L.A. Theater Crossover

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Shonda Rhimes is crossing over to the theater. The queen of television dramas had decided to back the LA based IAMA Theatre. Rhimes has provided the theater with a grant that will not only contribute to future works but the Rhimes Unsung Voices Playwriting Commission. The purpose of the grant is to grow the Los Angles theater community. The theater is young and encourages writers to develop new work. It is also focused on cultural inclusion with a focus on new, thought-provoking work.

IAMA Theatre is a 9-year-old non-profit ensemble of artist passionate about theater and capturing new audiences. Their mission:

By promoting new artists and developing new works that challenge and entertain, we hope to produce vibrant, voyeuristic theater that stimulates honest dialogue and sustains the future value of theater within our diverse Los Angeles community.

The company has previous connections with Rhimes’ production company, Shondaland with shows such as Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal. Rhimes has gained herself IAMA’s first “Patron of the Arts.” Rhimes decided to fund the organization because in her words,

“Their productions made me finally feel the way one does when exploring the New York Off-Broadway world of theater. Fresh voices filled with creativity. And they’ve accomplished it all on a shoe-string budget. That ends now.”

IAMA is grateful for the fund, labeling Rhimes as a trailblazing story teller and a “champion for underrepresented voices.”

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Renee Elise Goldsberry Will Leave Hamilton; Netflix Series Next

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Tony Award winner Renee Elise Goldsberry will leave her award-winning role as Angelica Schuyler in the record-breaking Broadway musical Hamilton: An American Musical. It has yet to be announced who will replace her or when her final performance will be. However, according to the Hollywood Reporter, she will depart this fall to film and star in new Netflix series Altered Carbon, a show inspired by the Richard Morgan novel.

Goldsberry has been seen on Broadway in the original cast of The Color Purple, The Lion King, and portrayed Mimi in the final company of RENT. She is also a two-time Daytime Emmy Award nominee for her work on the soap opera One Life to Live.

This announcement comes on the heels of several other big Hamilton updates. Leslie Odom Jr. and other cast members performed their last show last week, Brandon Victor Dixon and others were announced as replacements, Daveed Diggs announced his departure just a few hours ago, & the cast of the Chicago cast of Hamilton was announced today as well. Whew! So much is happening over at Hamilton. It’s an emotional rollercoaster on and off the stage for sure.

It’s a little crazy to think that so soon after The Tony Awards all of the Tony-winning actors have left the show but we’re really not mad at them, WERK!!

The hit musical, Hamilton, won 11 total Tony Awards this year, including best musical, direction of a musical (Thomas Kail), best actor in a musical (Leslie Odom Jr.), best score (Lin-Manuel Miranda), best book of a musical (Lin-Manuel Miranda), best featured actor in a musical (Daveed Diggs), and best featured actress in a musical (Renée Elise Goldsberry). Also won a record number of technical awards including best orchestrations (Alex Lacamoire), best costume design (Paul Tazewell), best choreography (Andy Blankenbuehler), and best lighting design (Howell Binkley).

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Wait For It: Hamilton Announces Brandon Victor Dixon & More as New Leads!

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And now a sigh of relief.

Upon Lin-Manuel Miranda, Leslie Odom, Jr., and Phillipa Soo’s departure on July 9th, producer Jeffrey Seller announced our new Hamilton leads:

Shuffle Along’s Brandon Victor Dixon and Lexi Lawson will take the roles of Aaron Burr and Eliza Hamilton.

Current alternate Alexander Hamilton, Javier Muñoz, has already been announced to take on the role full time. Invisible Thread’s Michael Luwoye will also join the cast, performing as the alternate Hamilton.

This past season, Dixon received a Tony nomination for his performance in Shuffle Along, which recently announced a premature closing for this month. He has also appeared in The Scottsboro Boys, Motown the Musical, and the original Broadway production of The Color Purple. He’ll officially step into the role mid-August.

Music artist Lawson previously toured in Miranda’s first musical hit In the Heights as Vanessa and Rent as Mimi. She has also appeared on “American Idol” and “So You Think You Can Dance.” She starts performances July 11th.

Luowye recently received a 2016 Lucille Lortel nomination for Invisible Thread.

Hamilton currently plays at the Richard Rodgers Theatre.

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