Liesl Tommy(Photo: Emilio Madrid-Kuser for Broadway.com)
Here’s a quick roundup of stories you might have missed today.
Liesl Tommy to Direct Jennifer Hudson in Aretha Franklin BiopicTony-nominated director Liesl Tommy (Eclipsed) has signed on to helm the upcoming Aretha Franklin biopic Respect, according to Variety. Callie Khouri will write the screenplay for the film, which will star the previously announced Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson as the “Queen of Soul,” who passed away in August 2018. Tommy said, “As a filmmaker, there is no greater gift than to be able to bring this transcendent chronicle of a woman’s fight for self-realization to visual life with the enormous talents of the soulful Jennifer Hudson, Callie Khouri, and our incredible producers.”
Ruthie Ann Miles & More to Lead Theatrical Reenactment of Deportation ProceedingsCasting is here for the upcoming world premiere production of The Courtroom, a reenactment of deportation proceedings to be presented in two courtrooms in New York City. Obie winner Lee Sunday Evans will direct the previously announced production, featuring text arranged from real court transcripts by Tony nominee Arian Moayed (The Humans), set to play four performances in two active legal spaces: Fordham University School of Law on January 23 at 7:00pm and January 26 at 7:00pm and Thurgood Marshall United States Courthouse on January 24 at 6:30pm and January 25 at 6:30pm. The cast will include Tony winner Ruthie Ann Miles, Tony nominee Kathleen Chalfant, Happy Anderson, Michael Braun, Hanna Cheek, Michael Bryan French, Mick Hilgers, Linda Powell and Kristin Villanueva. Tickets are free and available here.
Sisters Alum & Stage Veteran Patricia Kalember Is the New Star of Gloria: A LifePatricia Kalember is returning to the stage. The veteran actress will portray Gloria Steinem in Emily Mann’s Gloria: A Life at the Daryl Roth Theatre beginning on January 29. Kalember will succeed original cast member Christine Lahti, who will play her final performance on January 27. Kalember is a television veteran, known for her acclaimed turn as Georgie on Sisters, with additional appearances on Madam Secretary, Orange Is the New Black and Power. She has been seen on Broadway in The Nerd, Losing Louie and Don’t Dress for Dinner. Directed by Diane Paulus, Gloria: A Life is slated to play a limited engagement through March 31.
Ruby Rakos, Andrew Keenan-Bolger & More Lead Workshop of Chasing RainbowsA starry slate of Broadway alums led an industry presentation of the new musical Chasing Rainbows: The Road to Oz today in New York City. The Broadway-aimed tuner follows the early life of Judy Garland, from her vaudeville sister act through her rise at MGM to win the role of Dorothy. The cast included Ruby Rakos as Frances Gumm/Judy Garland, Andrew Keenan-Bolger as Mickey Rooney, Daniel Reichard as Frank Gumm, Sally Wilfert as Ethel Gumm, Karen Mason as Kay Koverman, Michael McCormick as L.B. Mayer, Colin Hanlon as Roger Edens and more. Chasing Rainbows: The Road to Oz is written by Marc Acito and David Libby, with music direction by Larry Yurman and direction by Denis Jones. News of a full production is forthcoming.