Category Archives: Broadway/Theater

Wanna see the opening number for Hamilton?

EDITED: Sorry, the original video I had linked to was taken down between the time I typed up this post and the time it was published. I have replaced the faulty link with the official Grammys video. I have also been able to add Lin-Manuel’s acceptance speech. Please let us know if you have any trouble with either video.

The Hamilton cast opened the Grammy Awards via satellite from their home base, the Richard Rodgers Theater in NYC. This was the first time in five years that a Broadway number was performed at the Grammys. To top it all off, Hamilton won the Grammy for Best Musical Theater Album and Lin-Manuel Miranda rapped his acceptance speech!

Watch the opening number and enjoy.

BONUS: Here’s Lin-Manuel’s acceptance speech:

Audra McDonald and Leontyne Price are two of the first people to be inducted into Legends at Lincoln Center

Theater legend Audra McDonald and Opera Diva Leontyne Price have been named as two members of the inaugural class of inductees into Lincoln Center’s new hall of fame Legends at Lincoln Center. They will join producer-director Harold Prince, Jazz great Louis Armstrong, cellist Yo-Yo Ma and opera singer Placido Domingo as the first people to be honored.

credit: JOSEPH MARZULLO/WENN

Audra has won 6 Tony awards, 2 Grammys and an Emmy.  She’s currently slated to open in Shuffle Along on Broadway this spring. She has a long history with Lincoln Center; she trained at Lincoln Center’s Julliard school and received her first Tony for Carousel at Lincoln Center only one year after graduating. She hasn’t looked back since. You can read her biography on her web page.

Leontyne Price was the first African American to gain acclaim as a international opera star, and she did it in the 1950’s and 60’s era, a time when she could sing on the world’s greatest stages, but could not sit at the Woolworth’s lunch counter. Despite that, she had an amazing career, you can read more about her on her wiki page. She is currently retired and living in New York City.

Watch Jennifer Hudson slay in “The Color Purple”

The Color Purple opens today on Broadway and Jennifer Hudson will make her debut in the most famous theater district in the world as Shug Avery. Jennifer and the cast visited The Late Show with Stephen Colbert to strut their stuff, and strut they did. Enjoy their performance of the Push Da Button. You will be asking why it took her so long to give her regards to Broadway.You will be asking why it took her so long to give her regards to Broadway. This show looks like it is off the hook!

“Hamilton” will open the Grammys

Prepare yourself Hamilton stans everywhere. The cast of the most coveted ticket on Broadway is going to perform the opening number at the Grammy awards.

The Hamilton cast will perform live from their home at the Richard Rodgers Theater on the Great White Way in NYC while the rest of the show will broadcast from LA. I think this shows you just how  badly the Grammys wanted to grab onto the coattails of the musical phenomenon. I don’t normally watch the Grammys, but I will be watching the opening number!

Cush Jumbo to star in all female Taming of the Shrew

The long running and free Shakespeare in Central Park series has been a treasured tradition in NYC for several decades now. Many name actors have graced the stage, among them Meryl Streep and Morgan Freeman. Both have starred in different adaptions of crowd favorite The Taming of the Shrew.

The new Shrew, Cush Jumbo credit: Deadline.com

This year we will see an new version of the audience fave, but with a twist. This new edition will be all women. Cush Jumbo (The Good Wife) will stat as Katerine, the Shrew of the title while her Petruchio will be played by two time Oscar nominee Janet McTeer.

The production is slated to run May 24 through June 26. I hope some readers may be able to make it and report back!

PBS hops on the “Hamilton” bandwagon, is set to air documentary on making the musical

PBS’s has announced that their Great Performances anthology series will air RadicalMedia’s Hamilton’s America this fall. The documentary is a behind-the-scenes look at making the Broadway smash. It follows creator and star Lin-Manuel Miranda and his team as they went about bringing Hamilton to the masses. Apparently it will also show scenes from the impossible-to-get-tickets-to play.

Lin-Manuel had this to say:

“On behalf of the entire ‘Hamilton’ cast and creative team, many of whom are ‘In The Heights’ alumni, we are overjoyed to be returning to PBS in partnership with RadicalMedia with this project. We invited filmmaker Alex Horwitz into ‘the room where it happened’ a few years ago, and he’s captured parts of this journey no one has seen. We can’t wait to share it, thanks to PBS.”

In my real life (yes I have one) my hubby has a degree in theater, so needless to say we have a lot of theater nerd friends. I have never in all the years I have hanging out with this bunch seen more excitement over a play than I have for Hamilton. I feel I must acknowledge that not everyone is a fan, a lot of people feel Lin-Manuel would be better off putting his talents to work on a story that is about POC, and not sticking POC in as place holders for white slave owners. But with that said, Hamilton has really helped to diversify Broadway and I’m excited to see it get even more attention and more audience.

Why Danai Gurira should be your new girl crush

Why do we love Danai Gurira so much? Well, look at the top of this post and see how many categories and tags are on this post about one person.

tumblr-static-tumblr-static-1keiek2r6734cs44kwwcosg00-640-143655First Danai stars as sword-wielding bad ass Michonne on The Walking Dead. Michonne is more than just a bad ass though, she is fully realized, complex character and Danai gives this wonderful character her soul. Continue reading Why Danai Gurira should be your new girl crush

Black Woman cast as Hermione in new Harry Potter stage play

The Harry Potter world is still alive and kicking. The last movie came out in 2011, the last book was published in 2007, and yet the fans refuse to let it go.

Brace yourself for the eighth installment of the Harry Potter saga, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, coming to the London stage soon. JK Rowling herself wrote the story for the play, set many years after Harry Potter and The Deathly Hollows. This time around Harry is married with three kids and works for the Ministry of Magic

The cast for the new play has been announced and Noma Dumezweni, an award winning actress born in Swaziland with more than a dozen London productions under her belt is the new Hermione.

Continue reading Black Woman cast as Hermione in new Harry Potter stage play

THR talks to Lea Salonga, Phillipa Soo, “Stop seeing us as exotic and oriental and far-removed from the experience of what this country actually is”

The Hollywood Reporter has a great interview with Tony award winning Allegiance lead actress Lea Salonga and Hamilton lead actress Phillipa Soo. (I should mention that Soo is considered a possible Tony award winner in 2016 for her role as well)

As we have pointed out on this site before, Broadway has been an oasis of diversity compared to Hollywood. It’s been paying off big time for them, Hamilton is the talk of the town,  Allegiance is a smash hit and The Color Purple and On Your Feet look like successes even though it’s very early in their runs. Remember those Sony emails that said a POC couldn’t open a film? Someone forgot to tell the Broadway producers, and the POC are playing to packed houses while revitalizing the theater scene. They are bringing a new fresh perspective to the stage, and the audiences can’t get enough.

Diversity was the big theme for this interview with the two leading ladies. Phillipa spoke about Lea’s role in Aladdin was an inspiration to her, to see a WOC be successful.

This exchange, however, was the one that stood out to me:

What can Hollywood learn from Broadway right now?

SALONGA: Watch the season, first of all! And with On Your Feet! and The Color Purple, it’s an incredible season of shows. It’s quite groundbreaking, and it just shows what’s possible. It’s possible for any ten-year-old of any background to look up at the stage and say, ‘Mommy, that’s what I want to do,’ and then for that mom to say, ‘Well then go for it. I’m right behind you.’ It’s nice to be able to have a hand in that, instead of saying, ‘There’s nobody like you onstage, where are you gonna fit?’ But we’re fitting quite nicely, eight shows a week.

Stop seeing us as exotic and oriental and far-removed from the experience of what this country actually is. Don’t see us as foreigners, see us as part of the country. Then, maybe there will be more really great stuff written on film for people that look like us, because theater people are writing things for us! Kei was written for me — I can actually say that!

Read the rest of the interview here.

Misty Copeland wants to be called a Black Ballerina

Misty Copeland has embraced the label “black ballerina” with gusto. As the first black female principal dancer at the American Ballet Theater tells the Huff Post:

“…it’s so rare and because it’s an issue and because it’s been my path and my struggle. I’m not going to deny or pretend that that’s not who I am,” Copeland told host Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani. “And I think that just because I’m now in this position as a principal dancer doesn’t mean all of a sudden I’m going to drop the fact that I’ve had all of these obstacles and so many are continuing to have it. Just because I’m here doesn’t mean racism goes away in the ballet world.”

What? You mean one black dancer doesn’t mean we are living in a post-racial world? A lot of people are going to be disappointed to hear that, Misty!

You can see the interview here or watch it on the Hoff Past: