“Love Jones The Musical” Kicks Off National Tour in Oklahoma on September 9

Love Jones

Love Jones The Musical Tours Nationally This Fall

article via eurweb.com

“Love Jones The Musical,” a stage adaptation of the critically acclaimed 1997 Love Jones film, is scheduled to tour nationally this Fall/Winter. The stage production will boast an all-star cast of R&B music’s biggest names including Chrisette Michelle, Musiq Soulchild, Marsha Ambrosius, MC Lyte, Raheem Devaughn and Dave Hollister, who were all carefully selected to star in the must see musical event of the year. Love Jones The Musical will debut in Oklahoma City on September 9th.

Celebrating the 20th anniversary of the popular romantic comedy, the stage play takes the essence of the film and tells its story through music. Fusing chart-topping hits and fan favorite songs from the music artists, along with a few original songs, Love Jones The Musical will be a transformative experience for the audience.

Produced by veteran theater producer Melvin Childs of Produced By Faith with stage play written by Timothy Allen Smith and directed by Zadia Ife, Love Jones The Musical tells the universal and timeless story of love, heartbreak and starting over. The film’s original writer and director, Theodore Witcher, serves as consulting producer.

To read more, go to: http://www.eurweb.com/2016/08/love-jones-the-musical-tours-nationally-this-fall/

Tony Award Winner Daveed Diggs of ‘Hamilton’ Joins ABC’s ‘Black-ish’ in Season 3

Daveed Diggs Tony Awards

Daveed Diggs at the 2016 Tony Awards (EVAN AGOSTINI/INVISION/AP)

article by Maureen Ryan via Variety.com

When the third season of “Black-ish” arrives, the Johnson family will expand.  Fresh from the Broadway smash “Hamilton,” Daveed Diggs will have a major Season 3 arc as Rainbow Johnson’s brother, Johan, Variety can exclusively reveal. 

Bow (Tracee Ellis Ross) and Johan, whose mother is a very laid-back, hippie-ish soul, had very different childhoods than Dre, and that’s partly why Johan will be a frequent thorn in Dre’s side. Dre Johnson (Anthony Anderson) has always feared that his kids will grow up to be overly pampered, and it sounds like Johan is the personification of those fears. 

“He’s sort of a hipster, entitled kid who gets on Dre’s nerves,” creator and showrunner Kenya Barris said. “He’s constantly on a search for the best conditioner for his hair. He’s probably gone to Penn or Wharton and could have gotten a great-paying job, but he’s trying to find himself. That attitude more than anything makes Dre want to strangle him.”

For Diggs, who won a Tony for playing Thomas Jefferson and the Marquis de Lafayette in “Hamilton,” there’s even a tiny link to French culture.  Johan “has been to Paris twice and he’s like, ‘You Americans!’” Barris said. Johan, as it happens, doesn’t like his butter to be too cold and complains about Americans’ mania for refrigeration. “He’s like, ‘This butter’s making my croissant crumble,’” according to Barris. “Dre is constantly snatching food from him.” 

The upside for Johan, who will have a “substantial” recurring arc in the third season, is that the Johnson kids think he’s extremely cool — except for Diane (Marsai Martin). “She’s not buying that sh*t,” Barris said. 

Though Barris didn’t give an exact timetable, Diggs’ character will turn up “early” in Season 3. It’s not the actor’s only high-profile new role, by the way. Diggs has also lined up roles in the upcoming film “Wonder” and the HBO sports mockumentary “Tour de Pharmacy.”

To read more, go to: http://variety.com/2016/tv/news/black-ish-daveed-diggs-kenya-barris-1201818550/

Jerald Gary, 30, Buys Historic Regal Theater in Chicago to Restore and Use with Art Non-Profits

IMG_7736

Jerald Gary (Photo credit: Melanie L. Brown for Steed Media Service)

article by Melanie L. Brown via rollingout.com

Rolling out interviewed Jerald Gary, the new owner of the New Regal Theater in Chicago. The 30-year-old talked about his memories of the Regal and how he came to acquire this historic building on the South Side.

Who is Jerald Gary?

I am a private equity investor. I bought the Regal Theater in 2014 to provide access to the performing arts for the community. I created the Chicago Regal Foundation to use the theater as a cultural asset that the community can leverage through various arts nonprofits. My day to day is figuring out how to render capital of the community more active and productive.

What is some history that you’ve heard about the Regal?

When I was growing up, the Regal was really in its prime. It reopened in 1987. It revived in 85′. I think it took them two years to do renovation, reopened it in 1987, and got it a landmark right there in ’92. Matter of fact, Mayor Harold Washington facilitated some money because doing the political thing for office in return was bringing dollars into the community. I got a picture of Ed Gardner and Harold Washington right there in the lobby. Harold was giving Ed a million-dollar check for the restoration. I saw a flyer the other day, it was Tupac and Biggie’s first time in Chicago on the Regal Theater stage. They were introducing a new [act], 17-year-old Kanye West, at the bottom of the flyer. Crucial Conflict was at the show, Da Brat was at the show, Common was at the show and a couple of other artists, at one show. That was the type of stuff that was going on. I [saw] Common and told him I was about to buy the Regal Theater and he stated how he thought Beyoncé and Jay were going to buy it. There was no Regal Theater from the mid ’70s until Avalon Theater was restored and they did the New Regal in 1987.

Who were some of the people that got their start with plays here?

Tyler Perry got his start at the Regal Theater. I was too young to go to his stuff but I remember his bus being in the parking lot. He was sleeping in his bus. It was a lot of church plays here.

Have you thought about changing the name from the New Regal Theater?

Yes, so we are going to change the name to Avalon Regal Theater because the building we’re in is the Avalon, which was from 1927 up until the mid ’70s. It was the Operation Regal Theater in Bronzeville so at the time so we had a lot of Irish German immigrants who lived here who came here for shows. Somebody came to me and said ” Wait right here.” The person came back and gave me a flyer from 1929 of a silent movie/music dance with the orchestra pit. They would do that type of stuff here until like the ’60s. It was mostly a movie house before they had multiplexes, this was the spot to come and see movies. A lot of white people come to me and say they use to come to Avalon and use to watch cartoons on Saturday. That’s the heritage as well, we want to preserve. The whole legacy of the Avalon Regal Theater (ART) is what we’re trying to get trending, the rich heritage of the South Side. The concept we have is we really feel this could be a Beale Street like in Memphis, [Tennessee]. They got like 20 or 30 music joints like on one strip, [along with] restaurants and bars. You can’t just have a venue and people can’t go get dinner before the show, a cocktail after the show. What you gonna get? Are you going to get robbed after the show? That’s what’s going to happen here now. Why can’t we have this [be] Beale Street? I feel like the South Side is like the Africa of the city. I think we have the opportunity to do crazy stuff like they did in Dubai. It’s cheap to do. We bought the Regal for $100,000. When I say “we” I mean the companies I chair. We bought it from the FDIC. It took us about nine months to negotiate because it’s a landmark. We had to get a blessing from a commissioner. We got about $7 million dollars worth of work to do. Three million dollars of that is on the facade. We probably are going to do a Kickstarter campaign.

When do you plan on opening?

We hope to be running by 2017.

How can people get more information about the Regal?

They can go to www.regaltheater.org and it has a lot of information about the project and the Regal itself.

To read full article, go to: http://rollingout.com/2016/06/03/new-regal-theater-868707/

RISE UP: Why “Hamilton: An American Musical” is Still a Must-See

Cast of "Hamilton" (

Cast of “Hamilton: An American Musical” performing “My Shot” (photo via nytimes.com)

The first song I heard from the Hamilton soundtrack was “My Shot.”  This song, the third one in the first act, serves the important role of introducing the ten-dollar-founding-father-without-a-father Alexander Hamilton: his burning ambition, his sophisticated oratory, his commitment to revolution.  But the verse that hit me the hardest, that immediately told me that something exceptional was going on with this show, was this one, sung by young abolitionist John Laurens (played by Anthony Ramos):

 

Rise Up!

When you’re living on your knees, you rise up

Tell your brother that he’s gotta rise up

Tell your sister that she’s gotta rise up

This verse — in the show an exhortation to the 18th century colonists to revolt against the British government — is universal and timely enough to be a rallying cry for any recent social justice movement.  As soon as I heard it, I knew Hamilton was trying to do something special.  Without being didactic or preachy, Hamilton was telling people to stand up for their rights, take a seat at the table, and participate in America.  

Much ink has been spilled about Hamilton: about its innovative hip-hop structure, its diverse cast, its best-selling cast album (including time at No.1 on the Billboard Rap charts), its unprecedented popularity on Broadway, its brilliant and social media-savvy creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, its eleven Tony awards.  But despite its runaway popular success, and its seemingly universal appeal, Hamilton feels to me — and I suspect to many fans — deeply personal.  As a mixed-race person, a lawyer who attended the same college as Hamilton, a federal government employee, and a life-long musical theatre nerd, the combination of the music, the lyrics, and the cast feels urgent and relevant.  

Jessica Davis (l), Tony Ramos (m), Julie Bibb Davis (r) [photo courtesy Julie Bibb Davis]

Jessica Davis (l), “Hamilton” cast member Anthony Ramos (c) and Julie Bibb Davis (r) [photo courtesy Julie Bibb Davis]

For my teenage children, who follow the charismatic and thoughtful cast on Instagram and Snapchat, it has made American history feel applicable to their daily lives in a way their school classes never have.  And when we were fortunate enough to see the show on Broadway, watching the diverse cast play the (white) American founders, and seeing how Miranda has also worked to make what has usually been understood as being primarily a story of men include the contributions of women, had an impact that cannot be overstated.

Hamilton shows the influence of American musical theatre traditions that range from Rodgers & Hammerstein to Sondheim to Disney.  The show is most solidly rooted, however, in black musical traditions.  Hamilton’s hip-hop and rap songs have garnered the most attention, but that only scratches the surface.  “What’d I Miss” is a wonderful homage to Cab Calloway, with elements of ragtime and even funk.  

“The Schuyler Sisters” echoes groups like Destiny’s Child, “Wait for It” starts with a dancehall reggae beat, and “Say No To This” is an R&B slow jam straight out of the 90s.  In addition, most of the original main case is black, including Okieriete Onadowan (Mulligan/Madison), Tony nominee Chris Jackson (Washington), and Tony winners Leslie Odom, Jr. (Burr), Renee-Elise Goldsberry (Anjelica), and Daveed Diggs (Lafayette/Jefferson).   Continue reading

“Hamilton” Governs 2016 Tony Awards; Four Black Actors Win in Major Categories

"Hamilton" wins big at the 2016 Tony Awards

“Hamilton” wins big at the 2016 Tony Awards (photo via theepochtimes.com)

article via newsone.com

The 70th Annual Tony Awards set the bar for diversity on Sunday evening as several actors and actresses of color were recognized for their work; a major difference from the #OscarsSoWhite controversy that ensued earlier this year. For the first time in the ceremony’s history, four musical acting awards were nabbed by Black actors.

Broadway hit show Hamilton took home eleven awards including Best Musical, Best Lead Actor, which was won by Leslie Odom, Jr., Best Featured Actor, which was given to Daveed Diggs, and Best Featured Actress, which was awarded to Renee Elise Goldsberry. Cynthia Erivo won Best Lead Actress for her role in the revival of The Color Purple.

The nominees for different categories were diverse as well. Both Christopher Jackson from Hamilton and Brandon Victor Dixon from Shuffle Along were in the running for best featured actor. Diggs said diverse productions like Hamilton serve as inspiration for young children of color who want to get involved in theater. “There is so much diversity on Broadway right now,” he said“It’s nice to have it feeling a little more mainstream and a lot more inclusive.”

See a full list of winners below:

Best Musical
Hamilton (WINNER)
Bright Star
School of Rock—The Musical
Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed
Waitress

Best Play
The Humans (WINNER)
Eclipsed
The Father
King Charles III

Best Revival of a Musical
The Color Purple (WINNER)
Fiddler on the Roof
She Loves Me
Spring Awakening

Best Revival of a Play
Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge (WINNER)
Arthur Miller’s The Crucible
Blackbird
Long Day’s Journey Into Night
Noises Off

Best Book of a Musical
Hamilton: Lin-Manuel Miranda (WINNER)
Bright Star: Steve Martin
School of Rock—The Musical: Julian Fellowes
Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed:George C. Wolfe

Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre
Hamilton (WINNER)

Music & Lyrics: Lin-Manuel Miranda

Bright Star
Music: Steve Martin and Edie Brickell
Lyrics: Edie Brickell

School of Rock—The Musical
Music: Andrew Lloyd Webber
Lyrics: Glenn Slater

Waitress
Music & Lyrics: Sara Bareilles

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play
Frank Langella, The Father (WINNER)
Gabriel Byrne, Long Day’s Journey Into Night
Jeff Daniels, Blackbird
Tim Pigott-Smith, King Charles III
Mark Strong, Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge
Continue reading

“Hamilton” Breaks Tonys Record with 16 Nominations

Shortly after the news broke that “Hamilton” had landed 16 Tony Award nominations, the musical’s director, Thomas Kail, sent a text to choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler and others on the show’s creative team. “I just woke up. What happened?” Kail asked facetiously.

What happened, as it turned out, was one for the Broadway record books.

“Hamilton,” Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hip-hop musical about America’s founding fathers, wrote its own piece of history Tuesday morning. After selling out theaters and becoming a cultural sensation since it opened on Broadway last summer, the show has now broken the record of 15 Tony nominations previously held by “The Producers” (2001) and “Billy Elliot” (2009).

In the top category of best musical, “Hamilton” will compete, nominally, against Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “School of Rock,” the small-town charmer “Waitress,” the Appalachian bluegrass piece “Bright Star” and the race-themed meta-tale “Shuffle Along, or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed.”

But those other shows may consider it an honor just to be nominated. “Hamilton” is considered by nearly all experts to be a shoo-in to win for best musical, and it will aim for the record of 12 Tony wins (set by “The Producers”) when theater’s biggest night kicks off June 12 on CBS from New York’s Beacon Theatre.

“Hamilton” was boosted by multiple nominations in acting categories, including lead actor (Miranda and Leslie Odom Jr., the latter a front-runner) and featured actor (Daveed Diggs, Christopher Jackson and Jonathan Groff). “Hamilton” also will compete for score, choreography and direction of a musical, among others.

The nominations continue a magic-carpet ride that began with a Miranda performance of a “Hamilton Mixtape” at the White House in 2009, continued with an august run at downtown’s Public Theater in early 2015 and then a building juggernaut after opening at the Richard Rodgers in the summer.

The record set Tuesday is an industry capper of sorts on what had become the most unlikely of phenomena: a Broadway musical, often regarded as the narrowest of cultural niches, becoming a crossover hit and a gateway to a larger discussion about history and race.

“Someone asked me today if this is all old hat,” the newly minted Tony nominee Blankenbuehler recalled from the North Carolina set of “Dirty Dancing,” where, in part thanks to the success of “Hamilton” he is choreographing the new ABC reboot. “And I said, ‘Are you kidding? I’m still like a kid in a candy store.’ We all are.”

Miranda, at 36 already one of the theater world’s most influential creators, offered his own valedictory, noting in a statement that “for ‘Hamilton’ to receive a record-breaking number of nominations is an honor so humbling it’s so far been beyond my comprehension.”

To read more, go to: http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/arts/culture/la-et-cm-tony-nominations-20160502-snap-story.html

Broadway Smash “Hamilton” Wins Pulitzer Prize for Drama

"Hamilton"

“Hamilton” (photo via Variety.com)

article by Gordon Cox, Brent Lang via Variety.com

“Hamilton,” the Broadway smash that’s looked like an awards-season favorite from the moment it opened, has been awarded the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

Although it’s rare for a musical to the win the drama prize over plays, “Hamilton” had nonetheless looked like a lock for the Pulitzer, given its link to American history and the fresh, contemporary resonances it finds in the nation’s foundational moments. (The most recent musicals to nab the Pulitzer were the 2010 show “Next to Normal” and 1996’s “Rent.”)

The Pulitzer win could be the first of many victories for “Hamilton.” Much of the theater industry considers the show’s sweep of the Tony Awards as a foregone conclusion. “The Humans,” Stephen Karam’s subtly drawn portrait of one American family’s anxieties, was one of the few obvious titles that seemed likely to give “Hamilton” a little competition; that play was named a 2016 finalist, as was Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ “Gloria.” “Hamilton’s” victory came during the centennial year for the Pulitzers, which recognize excellence in the arts and in journalism.

The Associated Press won the gold medal in public service, considered by many to be the top Prize, for its probe into labor abuses in the seafood business.

“The Sympathizer,” debut novelist Viet Thanh Nguyen’s look at a Vietnamese spy, took the fiction prize, while “Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS,” Joby Warrick’s look at the Islamic terrorist group, nabbed the non-fiction statue. T.J. Stiles won his second Pulitzer in the biography category for “Custer’s Trials: A Life on the Frontier of a New America.”

The New Yorker’s Emily Nussbaum captured the criticism prize, one of two awards for the magazine. The other came in the feature writing category, where Kathryn Schulz was honored for her look at how the Cascadia fault line could lead to environmental disaster. Magazines have only been eligible for Pulitzers for a year. New Yorker staff writer William Finnegan was also honored in biography for his surfing memoir “Barbarian Days.”

To read more, go to: http://variety.com/2016/legit/news/pulitzers-2016-hamilton-pulitzer-prize-drama-1201755578/