Sherri Shepherd promised that she had some plans lined up after leaving The View—and on today’s episode of the daytime talk show, Shepherd announced that she will join recently announced Keke Palmer in Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella this fall. Shepherd will play the wicked Stepmother, Madame, and her casting marks the the first time an African-American has taken the role on Broadway (and a second first for this production, as Palmer will be Broadway’s first African-American Cinderella).
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As the Fairy Godmother says, “nothing is impossible.” It definitely looks that way for Keke Palmer.
The 21 year-old actress will be the next princess of Broadway, stepping into the title role and glass slippers of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella on September 9. (Tony nominee Laura Osnes originated the role of Ella on stage back in 2013, and current star Paige Faure will lead the show’s national tour this fall.) After making television history last month, serving as the youngest talk show host ever during her summer trial run for BET’s Just Keke, Palmer will make her professional stage debut as the first African-American to star in the role at the Broadway Theatre.
Of course, the Masters of Sex star is not the first African-American Cinderella ever. Brandy famously played the role in the 1997 ABC TV movie with Whitney Houston as the Fairy Godmother. There have been rumors flying around town that Palmer may be joined by an African-American fairy godmother as well, with TV stars NeNe Leakes and Sherri Shepherd leading the wish list.
NeNe Leakes on Broadway? Nothing is impossible, indeed.
Carly Rae Jepsen: singer, songwriter…Broadway star? While the “Call Me Maybe” songstress is best known for her international, record-breaking single, she’s making a name for herself on the Great White Way in the title role of Cinderella in the Rodgers + Hammerstein musical of the same name, currently playing at the Broadway Theatre. And since starting the role Feb. 4, she’s found the experience has been “the greatest of my life.”
“It’s amazing. I think every little girl that I know dreams of living in New York one day, and I’m no different. I always thought one day I would land here for a period of my life,” Jepsen said when EW spoke with her at Gray Line NYC’s Ride of Fame event, where the singer was honored with a ceremony that unveiled her photo on the popular double-decker tour buses. “And it’s incredible to get to do that, and then not only land here, but land here and be on Broadway…and then a bus! It’s strange, but it’s a huge honor.” READ FULL STORY
The “Call Me Maybe” queen is officially royalty.
Pop singer Carly Rae Jepsen will make her Broadway debut beginning February 4 playing the title role in Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella, replacing original star Laura Osnes (who earned a much-deserved Tony nomination for the role).
The 28-year-old singer has signed on for a 12-week run, two weeks longer than fellow Broadway debut Fran Drescher, who joins the show (also on Feb. 4) as Cinderella’s stepmother Madame.
“Broadway has been a dream of mine since I was a little girl and I look forward to working with this incredibly talented cast to tell this classic tale,” Jepsen said in a press statement. “These last few years have been a real fairy tale come to life for me, so I feel especially blessed to play this part and be reminded that you must never stop dreaming!”
Jepsen’s theater credits include high school productions of Annie, Grease and The Wiz in British Columbia. The star posted her own excited announcement of her casting on Instagram.
The new Broadway staging of Cinderella re-tells the iconic princess tale with the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein tunes and a new book by Douglas Carter Beane. The show opened on March 3, 2013 at the Broadway Theatre and earned nine Tony Award nominations, winning one for costume design.
With the huge ratings success of The Sound of Music Live! (18.6 million viewers tuned in for the three-hour broadcast last week), it’s no surprise NBC has announced plans to do it all again. Next holiday season, NBC will once again stage a live musical. In an interview with The New York Times, NBC President Robert Greenblatt said the only requirements were that the musical would need to be family-friendly and have lots of recognizable songs.
While there are plenty of beloved musicals to choose from (Laura Benanti told EW her pick is White Christmas with her, Audra McDonald, Stephen Moyer, and Christian Borle), my personal pick is just a bit more, well, magical: Next year, I want NBC to stage a live production of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella with Beyoncé as the Fairy Godmother.
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So much for Flushing, Queens! Fran Drescher is taking up residence in a decidedly more royal atmosphere come February.
Beloved Nanny star Drescher will join the cast of Broadway’s magical musical Cinderella as Ella’s wicked stepmother Madame, making her Broadway debut on February 4 for a ten-week run through April 13, 2014. Drescher succeeds Harriet Harris, who originated the role when the show opened in March 2013 at the Broadway Theatre.
The currently running production of Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella features a slightly modernized take on the classic princess story, with a new book by Douglas Carter Beane and a pitch-perfect performance as the iconic damsel-turned-debutante by Tony nominee Laura Osnes. It’s worth noting that the perennially nasty stepmother has also been re-invented, but you’ll have to see Drescher to find out how her Madame transcends the typical lentils-in-the-fireplace bitchery.
Drescher will make her Broadway debut in the role, but she has been on the New York stage before, notably in Neil LaBute’s Some Girl(s), The Exonerated, and Love, Loss, and What I Wore.
The tongue-twisterly titled comedy Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike also saw another spike — in ticket sales — in the week since it won the Tony Award for Best Play on June 9. According to figures from the Broadway League, Christopher Durang’s sendup of Chekhov grossed $654,304 for the week ending June 16, up a whopping 18 percent from the week before. That’s an impressive 85 percent of the potential earnings for the Golden Theatre. Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella — a Tony winner for Best Costumes, which were impressively on display during a production number early in CBS’ Tony broadcast — also saw a 19 percent boost in revenues last week, to $1.06 million. (That’s nearly two-thirds the show’s potential gross.)
Sales for the season’s most highly touted new musicals, Matilda and Best Musical winner Kinky Boots, both rose 4 percent last week, to $1.18 million and $1.47 million, respectively. Both productions have been top grossers, so dramatic sales jumps were unlikely even after their Tony victories — and both gave well-received mini-performances during the Neil Patrick Harris-hosted telecast. Tellingly, though, the average ticket price for each show climbed nearly $5 in the last week — signaling that producers will use premium pricing to eke out more profits from already popular shows. The new revivals of Annie ($962,027) and Pippin ($1.01 million) benefited even more from the primetime exposure, boosting their weekly takings by nearly 8 percent.
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Despite a Broadway season that saw a 6-percent dip in attendance, theater fans still have cause for celebration at this Sunday’s Tony Awards. There’s a contest heating up for Best Musical, pitting the “revolting” children of Matilda against the fabulous drag queens of Kinky Boots.
And there’s some real suspense in other major categories: Will two-time Oscar winner Tom Hanks (above) add a Tony to his mantel for his Broadway debut in Lucky Guy? Will former Who’s the Boss star Judith Light win back-to-back Tonys in Best Featured Actress in a Play? EW critics Melissa Rose Bernardo and Thom Geier offer their predictions of who will be step-step-kicking to the podium at Radio City Music Hall this Sunday. (By the way, we’ll also be live-blogging the ceremony, hosted for the fourth time by the Energizer bunny of awards-show hosts, Neil Patrick Harris.) Disagree with our picks? Please let us know who you think will win — or should win — in the comments section.
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So I went a little nuts with Vine!
Boozy-witchy Bluth matriarch Lucille has generously taken time out of her day-drinking to snap some sense into the damsels of Disney. They could all stand to lose some weight, by the way. You want your belt to buckle, not your chair. (Click the microphones on and off to hear the audio.) READ FULL STORY
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