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Tori Sampson’s If Pretty Hurts Ugly Must Be a Muhfucka Announces Cast

Drew Shade

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The world premiere of If Pretty Hurts Ugly Must Be a MuhFucka written by Tori Sampson, who is making her New York City professional debut, and directed by Leah C. Gardiner has found its Off-Broadway cast.

Tori Sampson photo by Zack DeZon

The all-Black cast, choreographed by Raja Feather Kelly, begins performances February 15 and will run for a limited engagement until March 31, 2019, in the Mainstage Theater at Playwrights Horizons (416 W 42nd St, New York, NY 10036)

The cast features:

Rotimi Agbabiaka (Regional: Bootycandy; Father Comes Home from the Wars Parts 1, 2, and 3) as Chorus,

Maechi Aharanwa (Off-Broadway: The Winter’s Tale, An Octoroon) as Ma,

Jason Bowen (Broadway: The Play That Goes Wrong. Off-Broadway: My Mañana Comes) as Dad,

Antoinette Crowe-Legacy (Regional: Seven Guitars, The Model American) as Massassi,

Ian Duff (Off-Broadway: Dutch Masters) as Kasim,

Nike Uche Kadri (Off-Broadway: School Girls…, The Death of the Last BlackMan ) as Akim,

Mirirai Sithole (Off-Broadway: School Girls…, The Homecoming Queen) as Adama, and

Phumzile Sitole (TV: Orange Is the New Black, Elementary, The Good Fight ) as Kaya.

Sampson says “I wanted to use a folktale in a contemporary way to interrogate why, for instance, Viola Davis isn’t ‘classically beautiful’ and why the country had such a hard time aesthetically with Michelle Obama. The first time I saw her I was awestruck; this was a beautiful black woman whose hair is like mine; her skin is like mine; and to see the attributes of her that I really admired, to see the media tear them down really troubles me. I wanted to examine the impact of colonization on Black beauty, and to ask what is Black beauty, in a way that speaks specifically to Black women.”

The creative team includes Louisa Thompson (Scenic Designer), Dede M. Ayite (Costume Designer), Matt Frey (Lighting Designer), and Ian Scot (Original Music and Sound Designer), Alyssa K. Howard (Production Stage Manager), and Noah Silva (Assistant Stage Manager).

 

“Black is beauty, Black is me, Black is what I want to be.” A line from a poem that Brittney, my elder sister, wrote in elementary school. My mother was so proud she insisted that all her daughters recite the phrase as we left home and entered the world.

– Tori Sampson from Playwright’s Perspective: If Pretty Hurts Ugly Must Be a Muhfucka

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

Shoshana Bean Will Return To Broadway In Waitress

Drew Shade

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Now, this may seem off-kilter but trust me, it’s not. The producers of Broadway musical Waitress have announced today that Shoshana Bean will take over the role of Jenna on March 18 and will be in the show through May 12, 2019.

Shoshana Bean is a treasure. Her vocal ability and overall presence is a gift that keeps on giving.  She was last seen in concert with Cynthia Erivo at The Apollo Theatre and also slaying all the tracks with Mykal Kilgore on the new Songs for a New World remake album. Her latest album Spectrum landed her at #1 on the Billboard Jazz Charts & she made her Broadway debut in the original cast of Hairspray and starred as the first replacement for Elphaba in Wicked. Most recently in the theatre, she appeared as Fanny Brice in Funny Girl and as Cee-Cee Bloom in the new musical adaptation of Beaches.

Shoshana Bean said, “I am thrilled to be coming back to the New York stage in such a special role and show! To get to tell this beautiful woman’s story and sing this extraordinary score is an honor.”

Waitress tells the story of Jenna, a waitress and expert pie-maker who dreams of a way out of her small town and rocky marriage. Pouring her heart into her pies, she crafts desserts that mirror her topsy-turvy life such as “ The Key (Lime) to Happiness Pie” and “Betrayed By My Eggs Pie.” When a baking contest in a nearby county — and a satisfying run-in with someone new — show Jenna a chance at a fresh start, she must find the courage to seize it. Change is on the menu, as long as Jenna can write her own perfectly personal recipe for happiness. 

Shoshana will take over the role of Jenna from Stephanie Torns and joins Charity Angél Dawson as Becky & Lenne Klingaman as Dawn. Find out more at waitressthemusical

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Cast List

Adrienne Warren Will Star In Tina The Tina Turner Musical On Broadway

Drew Shade

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Adrienne Warren as Tina Turner in the West End cast of TINA Photo by Manuel Harlan

Adrienne Warren Photo by Ted Ely

As previously reportedTina the musical about the iconic entertainer Tina Turner will be headed to Broadway this fall. Announced today, Adrienne Warren who currently stars in the production on The West End through April 13, 2019, will reprise her role for the upcoming Broadway production.

Also released today, the first single from the upcoming Tina – The Tina Turner Musical cast album, featuring Adrienne Warren performing the iconic song “River Deep – Mountain High”. Warren is featured on an accompanying music video of the single also released today. Watch the video below.

“Working on this show has been a life-changing experience for me. Tina’s unshakable courage, grace, and determination have been our constant inspiration, and I am honored to have had the opportunity to be part of this telling of her story. It has been an amazing year in London, working with the incredible Phyllida Lloyd, Katori Hall, and the creative team, in a city that has welcomed me with open arms. Returning home to Broadway, in this role and in this show, is a dream come true”. – Adrienne Warren

Tina Turner in the rehearsal room for TINA Photo by Hugo Glendinning

“I’m so proud of everything that Adrienne has achieved over the last year in the West End. She has given it everything she’s got, she has poured her soul into it, and she deserves every success. I am thrilled she will be reprising her role in New York, and I cannot wait to see her on that Broadway stage on Opening Night.” – Tina Turner

Dates, venue, and additional casting for Broadway will be announced at a later date

The musical features the original discography of Turner with a book written by Katori Hall (The Mountaintop) with Frank Ketelaar and Kees Prins and directed by Phyllida Lloyd

The creative team also includes choreography by Anthony van Laast, with set and costume designs by Mark Thompson, musical supervision, additional music and arrangements by Nicholas Skilbeck, lighting by Bruno Poet, sound by Nevin Steinberg, projection design by Jeff Sugg and orchestrations by Ethan Popp.

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