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Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory Musical Seeks African American Actors

Broadway Black

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Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory: West End
Photographer Unknown

Celebrating its 45th anniversary, the Mel Stuart-directed fantasy-musical film Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory continues to delight cineastes and musical theatre enthusiasts alike. Now, the beloved Willy Wonka franchise will make its U.S. premiere on the Great White Way in 2017 with a diverse cast. Multi-ethnic young actors are being asked to audition.

According to a NYC EPA audition call; casting agents are seeking a young African-American actress for the coveted role of Violet Beauregard, as well as an older African-American actor for the role of Mr. Beauregard for a Developmental Lab of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory before it then transfer to a Broadway production in Late 2016 / Early 2017. Auditions have been taking place over the course of the summer.

Here’s the cast breakdown:

VIOLET BEAUREGARD

Short, youthful ADULT female to play a 9-12-year-old girl. African-American. While she’s physically tiny, she has a huge pop/R&B voice, as well as amazing hip-hop dance skills. Confident, forward, and full of attitude. Great singer. PRINCIPAL

MR. BEAUREGARD

Male, 30s-40s. African-American. Violet’s ineffectual father. Ignores his back-talking, insult-hurling daughter. Great dancer with a soul/pop/R&B voice. Beat-boxing skills a plus. PRINCIPAL

In collaboration with Warner Bros. Theatrical Ventures, Neal Street Productions and Kevin McCormick, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory made its world premiere at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in London’s West End on June 25, 2013, under the direction of Sam Mendes. Tony winner Douglas Hodge was nominated for the prestigious Laurence Olivier Award for his performance as Willy Wonka.

When it debuts on Broadway next year with some changes under the direction of Jack O’Brien, two-time Tony winner Christian Borle (Peter and the Starcatcher, Something Rotten!, “Smash”) will star in the lead role. With the upcoming Broadway production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the new show tunes by songwriting duo Marc Shaiman (Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit, South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut) and Scott Wittman (Hairspray, “Smash”) will pay homage to the Leslie Bricusse/Anthony Newley songs written for the 1971 film.

That film, based on the popular 1964 Roald Dahl children’s book, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, was released on June 30, 1971, where it earned an estimated $4 million at the box office. Having developed a cult following of sorts, the film currently holds an 89 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and was the source of inspiration for a 2005 Tim Burton-directed reboot. Comic legend Gene Wilder won the hearts and minds of critics and moviegoers alike, and in 1972, Wilder was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy for his performance as the eccentric chocolatier Willy Wonka.

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Celebrity Takeover

Tituss Burgess Has New Music, A New Movie, & No Time For Mess + The Preacher’s Wife Musical Update

Broadway Black

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Tituss Burgess' Saint Tituss EP cover
Tituss Burgess' Saint Tituss EP cover

On Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen, Tituss Burgess gave us an update on his musical adaptation of the 1996 movie, The Preacher’s Wife – starring Denzel Washington and Whitney Houston. On the late-night talk show, a viewer called in to ask if there had been any updates regarding the show and Burgess shared that:

“ We are very close to signing with a hot-shot producer in New York, which means that the show is closer to appearing in London or here. But there’s also a recent development which could delay it for the better. You’ll find out about it later”

So not only do we know that the musical is still on its way to bless us, but there is an announcement about the show on the way! If you ask me, this is incredibly exciting. Tituss Burgess’ career has gone from stage to screen, and his abilities as an actor and singer are undeniable. Knowing that we are closer to seeing his skills as a musical theatre composer is mad exciting. Watch a clip from the interview above.

While we wait for The Preacher’s Wife Musical, listen to Burgess’ newly released EP Saint Tituss. Burgess sings his face off as he skillfully talks about issues that are personal and political — all while wrapping things up with a joyous celebration of resilience as positivity. He also has two songs that feature Daniel J. Watts including the single 45

St. Tituss is available on Spotify, apple music, and other streaming platforms.

He also has a new movie on the way. “Dolemite Is My Name” starring Eddie Murphy along with Burgess, Mike Epps, Chris Rock, & more will premiere at the Toronto Film Festival. A national release date has not been set as of yet but is sure to be on its way.

 

While discussing the new movie during the same interview, Cohen asked Burgess about his relationship with Murphy. The way Cohen presented the question insinuates there might have been a problem between the two because of a ‘problematic past with the gays’ on Murphy’s part. The response given by Burgess is swift and loaded with “you tried it, but you won’t get me”:

“He wasn’t problematic for Tituss. We had a wonderful time. We talked about Dreamgirls and he should have won the Oscasr, I believe. He was great. Any troubles he may have had with gay people I guess are gone because he loved me.”

It is the following facial expression and the interaction that comes afterward that makes live television great. You can see Burgess say something to someone off-camera which leads Cohen to ask what he’s saying. Burgess replies with a soon-to-be iconic response to everything: “Keep going, girl. Do your show.”

and this is why we live.

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Coming Soon

The Public Theater Will Present Hercules Musical & Hercules Is Black!

Drew Shade

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The Muses via Hercules film

We knew it was coming, we just didn’t know when. Back in 2017, we reported that a musical adaptation of the Disney movie Hercules would be headed to Broadway. Now we can confirm that is somewhat true.

Hercules will be the latest Disney musical to be made for the stage and will play Off-Broadway at the Public Theater’s Delacorte Theater in Central Park. As the final show of the Shakespeare in the Park season theater season performances will run August 31 through September 8 with a reading set to take place in April.

The role of Hercules will be played by a Black actor, according to the casting notice

The musical will include the Oscar-nominated “Go the Distance, along with other songs from the 1997 animated film by Alan Menken & David Zippel. Presented through an arrangement with Disney Theatrical Productions, the show will be directed by Lear deBessonet.  The creative team also includes a book by Kristoffer Diaz, & choreography by Chase Brock.

Before Hercules, Kenny Leon will direct the Much Ado About Nothing May 21 through June 23 to begin the Shakespeare in the Park season.

Casting for all both productions will be announced at a later date

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