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The Secret Life of Bees Is Now a Musical; Will Star LaChanze, Saycon Sengbloh, & More Off-Broadway

Drew Shade

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LaChanze Photo via Facebook

The New York Times bestselling novel and the critically acclaimed feature film is now becoming a musical! The Sue Monk Kidd classic is coming to the Atlantic Theater Company. Saycon Sengbloh (Eclipsed, Wicked) will star as Rosaleen, a Black caretaker who runs away with Lily, played by Elizabeth Teeter (The Audience, The Crucible), to uncover the mysteries surrounding Lily’s mother’s death.

LaChanze (The Color PurpleSummer: The Donna Summer Musical) will play beekeeper August Boatwright, with Eisa Davis (Kings) as June, Manoel Felciano as T-Ray, Lily’s abusive father, Brett Gray (On My Block) as Zach, and Anastacia McCleskey (Waitress) as May.

South Carolina, 1964. Lily Owens, a restless white teenager, struggles with her merciless father and the haunting memory of her mother’s death. When Rosaleen, her black caregiver, is beaten and jailed for asserting her right to vote, Lily’s rebellious spirit is ignited. She and Rosaleen escape on an adventure where they are taken in by a trio of black beekeeping sisters. While Lily tries to unlock the secrets of her past, she and Rosaleen find solace in the mesmerizing world of bees and spirituality in this extraordinary tale of awakening, fellowship, and healing.

The ensemble will include Jai’Len Christine Li Josey (Spongebob, Witness Uganda). Romelda Teron Benjamin, Joe Cassidy, Vita E. Cleveland, and Matt DeAngelis.

Set to begin previews May 12, 2019, with an official opening Off-Broadway June 13th, and eyes on a Broadway transfer, The Secret Life of Bees features music by Duncan Sheik, Lyrics by Susan Birkenhead, and a book by Lynn Nottage and will be directed by Sam Gold. Performances are scheduled to run through July 7.

The Secret Life of Bees was a 2008 American drama film directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood and produced by Lauren Shuler Donner and Will Smith, with his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, as executive producer. The cast included Dakota Fanning as Lily Owens, Jennifer Hudson as Rosaleen, Queen Latifah as August Boatwright, Alicia Keys as June Boatwright, and Tony Award winner Sophie Okonedo as May Boatwright

Founder/Editor-In-Chief of BroadwayBlack.com | 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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Cast List

Amber Riley & MJ Rodriguez Will Star in Little Shop of Horrors

Drew Shade

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Amber Riley and Mj Rodriguez

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Olivier Award winner for her portrayal of Effie White in London’s West End production of DreamgirlsAmber Riley (Dreamgirls UK) and Pose star Mj Rodriguez will star in a reimagined production of Little Shop of Horrors at Pasadena Playhouse in California.

Riley will take on the iconic voice of Audrey II while Rodriguez will star as Audrey alongside George Salazar (Be More Chill) as Seymour.

The show will run from Sept. 17-Oct. 20 with an official opening set for Sept. 25.

Little Shop of Horrors is considered a classic. It’s a horror-comedy rock musical with music by Alan Menken and lyrics and a book by Howard Ashman. The story follows a hapless florist shop worker who raises a plant that feeds on human blood and flesh. It debuted Off-Broadway in 1982 and the movie version of 1986 introduced the world to young talents of Gina and Pam Tisha Campell and Tichina Arnold.

Directed by Mike Donahue, the design team includes scenic design by Dane Laffrey; costume design by Danae McQueen; lighting design by Josh Epstein; sound design by Veronika Vorel; and choreography and puppet design by Sean Cawelti.

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Cast List

Daniel J Watts, Dawnn Lewis, + More Join The Cast of Broadway’s Tina—The Tina Turner Musical

Drew Shade

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Tina—The Tina Turner Musical has found and announced it’s cast. As previously announced, Adrienne Warren will return to the title role she originated in the West End. She will be joined by Daniel J. Watts (Hamilton, Lights Out) as Ike Turner, Dawnn Lewis from A Different World fame as Zelma, and Myra Lucretia Taylor (School Girls) as Gran Georgeanna.

The show chronicles the life and times of the rock & roll superstar and will be directed by Phyllida Lloyd with a book written by Katori Hall. Performances begin October 12 with an official opening November 7 at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre

Nkeki Obi-Melekwe, who took over the title role in the West End will make her Broadway debut and will play Tina at select performances.

The cast will also feature Steven Booth (School of Rock), Nick Rashad Burroughs (Kinky Boots), Gerald Caesar (A Bronx Tale), Holli’ Conwa, Kayla Davion (King Kong), Leandra Ellis-Gaston, Charlie Franklin (The Book of Mormon), Judith Franklin (Summer: The Donna Summer Musical), Matthew Griffin (Broadway debut), Sheldon Henry (The Prom), David Jennings (Once On This Island), Ross Lekites (Frozen), Robert Lenzi (Tuck Everlasting), Gloria Manning, Rob Marnell (Beautiful), Mehret Marsh (The Lion King), Jhardon DiShon Milton (A Bronx Tale), Destinee Rea (The Book of Mormon), Mars Rucker, Jessica Rush (Dear Evan Hansen), Allysa Shorte (Spongebob Squarepants), Carla Stewart (The Color Purple), Jayden Theophile (Broadway debut), Antonio Watson (Broadway debut), and Katie Webber (Rock of Ages).

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