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Who Should Play Motormouth Maybelle for Hairspray Live

Broadway Black

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Dear NBC,

We see you NBC. You have a taste for that live theater again don’t you. We’re not mad.

And now that you have kinda announced yet another spectacular live broadcast, this time, “Hairspray,” we are all abuzz. We feel we need to make a suggestion.

First off! Good choice! This musical,set in 1962 Baltimore, is light with enough emotional and political weight to get people’s attention. And the productions dealing with racial injustice will be interesting to see on the small screen.

Having said all that, we feel we need to make a suggestion.

Please, Please, Please Put Jenifer Lewis in as “Motormouth Maybelle.” Here are our top 5 reasons why.

1. She already played the role on Broadway in 2008.

2. Who is Jackie Washington? If you have to ask this question you have not watched the absolutely laugh out loud hilarious comedy “Jackie’s Back“. This move was like a comedic primer for actresses. Her over the top delivery is so well placed here. You are laughing from beginning to end, and proving that Ms. Lewis has the gravitas to take any role and make it her own.

3. If you watch Black-ish then you have yet another reason for why she is a comic genius. Her one-liners are sometimes better than an entire episode.

4. Jenifer is a wonderful singer in her own right.

5. Finally, Ms. Lewis is unpredictable live. I saw her at an event in New York, and she had people laughing even as she won an award for her career. Her sole goal seems to be to make us laugh, and she would be perfect on that stage in front of a live audience.

So go on NBC. Keep churning out the musicals, but don’t forget the right talent can make or break it. And we are betting that Jennifer Lewis would be a home run on any stage especially as Motormouth Maybelle.

Sincerely,

A Few Concerned Theater Geeks

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Events and Happenings

Iconic Entertainer Gregory Hines Honored With a Black Heritage Series Stamp

Drew Shade

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Savion Glover; Maurice Hines, Gregory’s brother; and Daria Hines, Gregory’s daughter Photo courtesy of USPS

The U.S. Postal Service honored iconic entertainer Gregory Hines with a Black Heritage Series stamp in a ceremony on January 28th. As the 42nd entry in the series, the stamp featuring a 1988 photo of a smiling Hines is now available at Post Offices and usps.com. 

At the ceremony Tony Award winner Savion Glover talked about the role Hines played in elevating tap into an art form and the value of his work. Joining him in the celebration were Maurice Hines, actor, dancer, choreographer, and Hines’ brother; Daria Hines, actress, costume designer, and Hines’ daughter; dancers Chloe and Maud Arnold; Tony Waag, the American Tap Dance Foundation’s artistic director, and tap dancer Jason Samuels Smith.

“I don’t exist without this man,” said Glover, “These young people that you see, they aren’t born without this. We are not here today without this.”

The Chief Postal Inspector, Gary Barksdale, who led the ceremony, said “Gregory Hines was an extraordinary artist in every sense of the word. This Forever stamp pays tribute to his life and career as an actor, singer and most importantly, as a performer whose unique style of tap dancing injected new artistry and excitement into a traditional American form.”

Gregory Hines’ Broadway credits include Eubie!, Sophisticated Ladies, & Comin’ Uptown,  all of which garnered him Tony Award nominations. He became a Tony Award winner for his starring role in “Jelly’s Last Jam” in 1992. In 2003 he passed away at 57 years old from cancer.

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Events and Happenings

Casts of Disney’s The Lion King, Frozen, & Aladdin Broadway Celebrate Black History Month

Drew Shade

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Noah Ricketts, Aisha Jackson, Donald Jones Jr. Photo by Darnell Bennett

It’s a beautiful time to be Black on Broadway. For Black History Month, the casts of The Lion King, Aladdin, and Frozen on Broadway came together in a celebratory photo shoot with photographer Darnell Bennett involving 35+ company cast members.

Take a look at the behind-the-scenes video above and the accompanying photos below.

Cast members included The Lion King‘s Tryphena WadeLawrence Keith Alexander, Brian C. Binion, Lidiwe DlaminiDonna Michelle VaughnLaMar Baylor, Kyle Lamar MitchellBradley GibsonJamal Lee Harris, Elisha BowmansRay MercerL. Steven TaylorBongi DumaKimberly MarableSyndee WintersCameron AmandusPearl KhweziJaysin McCollumAngelica EdwardsIndia Bolds, Bonita HamiltonTshidi Manye, & Bravita Threatt.

Also, Noah RickettsAisha JacksonDonald Jones Jr. of Frozen, and Aladdin‘s Tyler RobertsPaige Williams, Deonte L WarrenTiffany EvaristeMajor AttawayAmber OwensJamie Kasey PattersonApril HollowayKathryn AllisonAriel ReidJuwan CrawleyTrent SaundersDennis Stowe, and Stanley Martin.

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