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Watch Norm Lewis as Broadway's first African-American 'Phantom'

On May 12 of this year, Norm Lewis became the first-ever African-American actor to take on the lead role of The Phantom of the Opera on (ahem) the Great White Way. (Robert Guillaume became the first-ever actor to do it regionally in 1990.)

READ FULL STORY

Emma Stone to make Broadway debut in 'Cabaret'

It’s official: Emma Stone will make her Broadway debut in the current Roundabout Theatre Company revival of Cabaret.

The 25-year-old will replace Oscar nominee Michelle Williams, who made her debut in the role of showgirl Sally Bowles when the revival opened at Studio 54 in April. Stone will take over as Sally beginning Nov. 11 (Williams exits Nov. 9) and will play the role until Feb. 1, 2015.

Alan Cumming—who won a Tony Award for his portrayal of the show’s Emcee in the 1998 Broadway production, which serves as the basis of this revival—will extend his run through March 29, 2015, thus confirming that yet another actress may get to tread the Cabaret boards before the show’s run is through.

Stone was linked to the show in 2013 during Roundabout’s initial announcement, but film scheduling conflicts forced her to back out. Last week, word broke that she had entered negotiations to join the show when Williams vacates the iconic role.

Unrelated but completely related, Stone’s beau Andrew Garfield made his Broadway debut in 2012’s Death of a Salesman. Again, unrelated… but completely related.

Exclusive: The cast of Broadway's 'It's Only a Play' reenacts Ellen's Oscar selfie

Imagine if Jennifer Lawrence were Rupert Grint.

Okay, now take that one step further and replace Ellen DeGeneres with Matthew Broderick, Bradley Cooper with Nathan Lane, Angelina Jolie with Megan Mullally, Meryl Streep with Stockard Channing, and so on and so forth. See what we’re getting at?

Ellen’s epic Oscar selfie gets sent up, Broadway style, in the first look at the upcoming comedy It’s Only a Play. The production examines the frantic behind-the-scenes antics of a new Broadway show and the eccentric creative and business types behind it. The link to Ellen’s selfie is directly inspired by a moment in the revised script by Terrence McNally, who has refreshed the play for the 2014 audience.

Given the starry cast (not to mention the reunion of The Producers pair Lane and Broderick), expect It’s Only a Play to be one of this fall’s hottest tickets. F. Murray Abraham and newcomer Micah Stock round out the cast of the Jack O’Brien-directed Broadway play, which will open on October 9 for a limited 18-week engagement at the Schoenfeld Theatre. Previews begin August 28.

New Gloria Estefan musical will conga to Broadway in fall 2015

Be warned: The rhythm is gonna get you.

Well, not to-night but next fall, when the Gloria Estefan bio-musical On Your Feet! hits Broadway. The production colors the life and rise-up of the seven-time Grammy winner/Miami Sound Machine frontwoman, as well as the success of her longtime husband and musician/producer Emilio—who has no less than 19 (!) Grammys to his name—on their road to stardom.

Even better: If you think you got the means to let the music move your feet, the production is holding an open casting search called “Reach Gloria” in Miami and NYC this September, and submissions are now being accepted on the show’s official website. The production is to be helmed by Tony winner Jerry Mitchell (Kinky Boots), with a book by Alexander Dinelaris (Still Life) and choreography by Sergio Trujillo (Jersey Boys).

In a statement, Gloria says that “finding the right performers to tell our story on the Broadway stage is the most important step in this project. … Our own journey together started in Miami, a city that has been such an inspiration to us both, and it only felt right that the city be a cornerstone of our search for the next generation of bright talent.” Emilio adds, “On Your Feet! is a piece that speaks to people of every culture around the world.  We’ve seen audiences from South America to Asia, and everywhere in between, be moved by our music and we want each and every one of them to have a chance to be a part of this story and show their talent to the world.”

On Your Feet! will have an out-of-town tryout at Chicago’s Oriental Theatre from June 2-July 5, 2015, to be followed by a Broadway run at the Marquis Theatre, with previews beginning Oct. 5, 2015.

Audience of Broadway's 'Aladdin' salutes Robin Williams with a singalong

broadway-aladdin

Broadway lights will dim on Aug. 13 in memory of Robin Williams—who tread the boards multiple times during his illustrious career—but one show in particular owed much more to the late comic icon.

Disney’s Aladdin has been entertaining audiences on Broadway since February, but the Aug. 12 performance ended on a slightly different note when the entire audience joined in a singalong of “Friend Like Me,” the showstopping number sung by the Genie, Williams’ beloved role in the 1992 film.

Led by James Monroe Iglehart (who earned a Tony Award for his portrayal of the Genie), the Broadway company of Aladdin encouraged the audience to pay tribute to Williams by joyously singing to the rafters. It was a surprisingly touching moment, and certainly a gleeful way to honor Williams’ Aladdin legacy. Watch it below:

Emma Stone in talks to replace Michelle Williams in Broadway's 'Cabaret'

Maybe this time, Emma Stone will be in Cabaret.

The 25-year-old actress is in negotiations to make her Broadway debut as Sally Bowles—the role currently played by Michelle Williams—in Roundabout Theatre Company’s revival of Cabaret, EW has confirmed. Williams recently extended her run in the classic 1966 Kander and Ebb musical through November 9, 2014; the show itself is slated to play a limited engagement through January 4, 2015. READ FULL STORY

Pulitzer finalist 'Fun Home' to land on Broadway in spring 2015

The rumors have finally panned out, as the Public Theater’s much-heralded musical Fun Home (which got terrific notices, including one in EW) will take on the spring behemoths and open on Broadway just before Tony nominations roll out next spring. The musical—based on graphic memoirist Alison Bechdel’s autobiographical tale of growing up with two brothers in a Pennsylvania funeral home managed by her closeted, rigid father—was the best musical choice for the New York Drama Critics Circle and the Lucille Lortel Awards Off Broadway. It was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in drama this past year, and has been a wish-list choice for Broadway status by many ever since its fall 2013 debut.

No word yet on whether the fine cast from the Public, which included Judy Kuhn (Les Miserables) and Michael Cerveris (Evita), will rejoin. Outstanding newcomer Sydney Lucas (pictured, far right), a mere 10 (!) years old upon opening, is certainly one to watch, a la the young Anna Kendrick (who scored a Tony nod at age 13 for her Broadway debut in High Society). But hopes are high that they can resume their roles, and if they do, expect a bevy of Tony nods to come their way, too. As with the Off Broadway version, Fun Home will be directed by Sam Gold (The Realistic Joneses), with a score by Jeanine Tesori (Violet) and book by playwright Lisa Kron (Well).

Fun Home will begin previews at Broadway’s Circle in the Square Theatre on April 4, 2015, with an opening scheduled for April 22.

Larry David heads to Broadway in new play by Larry David

Amp up your enthusiasm—Larry David is coming to Broadway.

EW has confirmed that the Emmy-winning Seinfeld co-creator and star of Curb Your Enthusiasm will make his Broadway debut—two debuts, in fact, for acting and writing—in the 2014-15 season in his first play Fish in the Dark.

According to The New York Times, which first reported the news, David’s play is an ensemble comedy (about 15 characters) centering on a death in a family. David tells the Times that he’ll play “somebody very similar to Larry David—it might even be Larry David with a different name.”

Fish in the Dark will play an unnamed Shubert theater and will open in March 2015. Scott Rudin will produce with Anna D. Shapiro, who’s currently at the helm of the upcoming Michael Cera-led play This Is Our Youth, on board to direct.

The news of David’s debut comes after multiple false rumors emerged about the project in the past few months, including one naming Jerry Seinfeld as actor or director (David tells the Times that was never the case) and another citing the play’s title as Shiva.

David briefly dabbled in Broadway in Curb‘s season-four storyline, wherein his character landed the lead role in Mel Brooks’ smash musical The Producers and subsequently forgot his lines during the opening night performance. David’s stint with theater on the cable series largely did not inspire him to try Broadway in the real world, but his involvement with Fish in the Dark will almost certainly delay another season of Curb, should David decide to pursue it.

Helen Mirren to rule Broadway as Queen Elizabeth II in 'The Audience'

And she’ll always be royal (royal).

Oscar-winning actress Helen Mirren will make her return to Broadway this spring as Queen Elizabeth II in Peter Morgan’s The Audience, directed by Stephen Daldry.

Mirren earned an Academy Award for playing Elizabeth in 2006’s The Queen, which was also written by Morgan. Mirren earned the Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Play for the role when The Audience played a record-breaking run in London’s West End in 2013. READ FULL STORY

Broadway 'Love Letters' casts Carol Burnett, Alan Alda, Anjelica Huston

The first Broadway revival of A.R. Gurney’s seminal epistolary play has assembled a high-profile cast for a series of limited engagements this fall.

Love Letters remains one of theater’s most enduring romances of the past 25 years, having first opened in New Haven, Connecticut, in November 1988. The show paints a portrait of two friends—Melissa Gardner and Andrew Makepeace Ladd III—who have exchanged letters for over 50 years, having spent a lifetime discussing their greatest hopes and deepest disappointments.

Directed by Gregory Mosher, Love Letters will feature a rotating ensemble of players who will star in the two-person romance, opening Sept. 18 at the Nederlander Theatre. The cast schedule is as follows: READ FULL STORY

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