Director/Choreographer Debbie Allen along with her sister, Tony award winner Phylicia Rashad will make broadway history when they open Tennessee Williams' award -winning play Cat On A Hot Tin Roof on March 6th at the Broadhurst Theater. This will be the first time the estate of the late Tennessee Williams has approved a production featuring an all black cast. Set to join Rashad are Terrence Howard in the role of Brick, James Earl Jones as Big Daddy, Anika Noni Rose as Maggie The Cat, and Lou Myers and Gioncarlo Esposito in supporting roles.
Hypocrisy, greed and secret passions threaten to tear apart a wealthy but dysfunctional Mississippi family in Tennessee Williams' stunning American masterpiece. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof searingly portrays the larger-than-life characters of Maggie 'the Cat,' her alcoholic husband, Brick, and the dominating family patriarch, Big Daddy.
This will mark the fourth time Cat On A Hot Tin Roof has been revived but the first time with an all black cast. Early cast announcements last year had Forrest Whitaker, Audra McDonald, Angela Bassett and Beyonce attached to the project.
Audra McDonald, a four time Tony award winner was originally being considered for the role of sex siren Maggie but was snubbed when producers decided to cast Beyonce. When questioned about the decision Audra had this to say, "I think Beyoncé’s an incredibly beautiful, talented singer. But the stage is a very difficult beast . . . a lot of people don’t understand how difficult it is not just to do it right once, but do it right eight times a week and keep it up". Thankfully, Anika Noni Rose won the role in the end.
Cat On A Hot Tin Roof will begin previews in New York on February 6, 2008.
After over five thousand performances since it opened on Broadway in April 1996, RENT is set to close on June 1st. RENT, the rock musical that dealt with the devastation of the early AIDS crisis, but at the same time gave hope an inspiration to millions of people around the world who flocked to the theater to see this masterpiece created by the late Jonathan Larson, undoubtedly changed musical theater forever.
Winning every major award including The Pulitzer Prize for drama as well as four Tony Awards, RENT was the most unlikely candidate for a successful Broadway production, but won over almost every critic and created a cult -like following of fans known as RENTheads. I was unashamedly one in college, spending 20 bucks almost every week to see the show from the front row.
Current cast members include Tamyra Gray as Mimi from the first season of American Idol and Broadway veteran Michael McElroy as Tom Collins. As of today fans have 185, 526 minutes before RENT takes it's final bow.
Fantasia may have been the six-million dollar woman by earning The Color Purple increased sales before she even hit the stage, but weeks after the end of her contract the producers of The Color Purple have announced the show's closing, shortly after Bebe Winans, Chaka Khan and Lakisha Jones were added to the cast.
The show will play it's final performance on February 24th after playing 910 regular performances at The Broadway Theater.
Now in its third year on Broadway, it recouped its entire $11 million investment in its first year on Broadway, having grossed over $103,000,000. The first North American Tour kicked off in Chicago in April and continued on to San Francisco and Los Angeles and is currently scheduled through 2009.