Tituss Burgess, having fun with small-screen fame as the struggling actor of Netflix’s “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” is additionally the driving inventive drive behind “The Preacher’s Spouse,” a brand new musical based mostly on the 1996 movie starring Whitney Houston.
Burgess has written a rousing gospel rating to the present, which is producing robust business buzz after a workshop final week for potential backers. Michael Arden is directing. Arden staged the terrific revival of “As soon as on This Island,” which snatched the Tony Award in June from two far greater revivals, “My Honest Girl” and “Carousel.”
Theater house owners and high Broadway producers attended the workshop, and phrase is the La Jolla Playhouse is probably to produce a pre-Broadway engagement subsequent yr.
Burgess and Arden put collectively a first-rate forged led by 12-time Grammy nominee Ledisi Younger, Quentin Earl Darrington, the standout Agwe (God of Water) in “As soon as on This Island,” and Donald Webber Jr. (“Hamilton”).
Loretta Devine, who appeared in the movie and was in the unique Broadway firm of “Dreamgirls,” had a scene-stealing flip as a sharp-tongued matriarch.
A remake of the 1947 traditional “The Bishop’s Spouse,” “The Preacher’s Spouse” tells the story of a pastor struggling to maintain his small Baptist church from floundering in a poor New York neighborhood. He will get some assist in the type of a suave angel, who falls in love with the pastor’s spouse.
Houston’s recognition, together with that of her co-stars Denzel Washington and Courtney B. Vance, helped the movie earn $48 million at the field workplace. The movie’s soundtrack spent 26 weeks atop Billboard’s gospel chart.
Burgess, who acquired the stage rights a few years in the past, determined not to use any of the songs in the movie, opting as a substitute to write his personal music and lyrics.
It seems to be a shrewd resolution. My spies say his songs are catchy and highly effective, and had viewers members clapping alongside. “Kimmy Schmidt” author Azie Dungey’s e book for the present, a supply says, is “humorous and candy in all the proper locations.”
I tip my Broadway high hat to Burgess for recognizing its potential.
By the manner, “The Bishop’s Spouse,” which stars Cary Grant, Loretta Younger and David Niven, is an enthralling outdated movie. I checked it out the different day, and it’s undoubtedly good stage materials. I tip my Broadway high hat to Burgess for recognizing its potential.
My colleague Johnny Oleksinski made the case the different day that director Michael Grandage’s revival of “The Lieutenant of Inishmore” ought to be a part of the parade of London reveals “Brexiting” to New York. We’ve already bought a full slate that features “The Nap,” “The Ferryman” and (coming quickly) “The Inheritance” and “The Lehman Trilogy.”
Let me put in a phrase for David Hare’s new play “I’m Not Operating,” a meaty examination of the state of British politics at present. It opened final week at the Nationwide Theatre to blended critiques. Critics picked at dramatic flaws however stated the play was sensible and absorbing, with compelling characters.
A brand new play by Hare is at all times an occasion. “Stuff Occurs,” about the run-up to the struggle in Iraq, is one in all my favourite performs from the 2000s.
I hope Lincoln Heart or the Manhattan Theatre Membership give the play a correct look. Pretty much as good as the latest revival of his “Skylight” was, we haven’t had a brand new Hare play in New York since “The 12 months of Magical Considering” in 2007.
You’ll be able to hear Michael Riedel weekdays on “Len Berman and Michael Riedel in the Morning” on WOR radio 710.