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Odds & Ends: Cynthia Erivo to Star in Movie Musical Talent Show & More

July 23rd, 2020 | By Lindsey Sullivan

Here’s a quick roundup of stories you might have missed recently.

Cynthia Erivo Set for Movie Musical Talent Show
Tony, Emmy and Grammy Award winner Cynthia Erivo has a new film project. According to The Hollywood Reporter, she has joined the movie musical Talent Show. Gandja Monteiro is slated to direct the project, which is based on an idea by Duane Adler, the Save the Last Dance scribe who originated the Step Up franchise. Erivo would play a failed songwriter who returns to her hometown of Chicago to lead a group of at-risk youth in their annual talent show. Master of None Emmy winner Lena Waithe has penned the latest version of the screenplay.

Netflix’s Sweet Magnolias Renewed for Second Season
Great news for those who have bingewatched Sweet Magnolias in quarantine! The show, which is based Sherryl Woods’ novel franchise of the same name, has been renewed for a second season. Sweet Magnolias is about three longtime best friends who lean on each other through thick and thin and embark on a joint professional venture. Tony winner Heather Headley stars as one of the besties.

Kennedy Center Announces 2021 Season
After canceling its performances due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Kennedy Center now has news regarding their theatrical season, which will begin in 2021. Highlights include a new 50th anniversary production of Jesus Christ Superstar (May 25–June 13), the Kennedy Center return of hip-hop improv show Freestyle Love Supreme (June 8–13, 2021), the 2019 Tony-winning revival of Oklahoma! (June 22–27), Dear Evan Hansen (June 29–July 18), The Band’s Visit (July 28–August 8), Frozen (July 21–September 5) and Hadestown (August 10–September 5). For info on the Kennedy Center’s coronavirus health and safety procedures, head here.

Michael R. Jackson Among Williamstown Artists-in-Residence
Williamstown Theatre Festival has announced its 2020 Artists-in-Residence, including Pulitzer Prize winners Michael R. Jackson and Martyna Majok as well as Trip Cullman, Joshua Harmon, Sylvia Khoury and Tyne Rafaeli. James Anthony Tyler has also been named a Community Works Engagement Artist; Maya Davis, in addition to being named a Community Works Engagement Artist, has also been named the Boris Sagal Directing Fellow. Tyler Thomas will be the Bill Foeller Directing Fellow, and Charlie Barnett IV will be the J. Michael Friedman Fellow.

Sleepless Musical Rounds Out Casting & Begins COVID-19 Tests
Sleepless, the previously announced Sleepless in Seattle musical set to begin its run on August 25 at London’s Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre, has confirmed further casting. In addition to Jay McGuiness and Kimberley Walsh playing the Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan roles, respectively, the cast will include Daniel Casey as Walter, Harriet Thorpe as Eleanor, Tania Mathurin as Becky and Jake Sharp as Rob. The company will also feature Charlie Bull, Colin Burnicle, Christie-Lee Crosson, Laura Darton, Leanne Garretty, Matt Holland, Ross McLaren, Gary Murphy, Dominique Planter, Annie Wensak and Benjamin Wong. Theo Collis, Mikey Colville, Jobe Hart and Jack Reynolds will share the role of Jonah. The production will begin using a new accurate COVID-19 test on cast, musicians, crew and theater staff on a daily basis during rehearsals and during the run of the show. Testing will be carried out on-site, and results will be sent directly to personal phones via a secure app within an hour of a swab being taken.

P.S. Six-time Tony winner Audra McDonald‘s singing voice always stuns. Watch her get animated in this clip from Central Park.


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