The Arts

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After watching this, boy do I ever miss Glee and Mercedes Jones. That is the first two seasons only, of course. The last couple were a hot mess, right?

Amber Riley is set to make her West End debut later this year by starring in Dreamgirls on the London stage. It also marks the UK premiere of the musical, 35 years after first captivating audiences on Broadway.

The 30-year-old actress will play Effie, originally played by Jennifer Holliday and later by Jennifer Hudson in the 2006 feature film. She teased her debut by sharing a performance of “I Am Changing.” Check it out below. It’s fantastic.

“I am so honored and excited to not only be playing such an iconic role, but also to be working with Sonia Friedman and Casey Nicholaw,” Riley said in a press statement. “Working on the West End is now a dream realized, I just feel like this is going to be something special!”

watch after the jump

broadway-bares-2016

The 26th edition of the annual burlesque fundraiser aka Broadway Bares raised $1,482,724 for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. Though slightly down from last year’s record-breaking total of $1,598,501, this year’s take is still very impressive.

This year’s theme tackled the boob tube in an unrivaled evening of sexy striptease. 198 of the hottest male and female dancers in New York City performed a series of parodies of television shows including Game of Thrones, American Idol and more in very little clothing. My kind of entertainment.

If you weren’t fortunate enough to attend the show in New York City this past weekend, the organizers have shared a video highlighting some of the most eye-catching moments of the night. Check out below some of the memorable performances from Broadway Bares: On Demand.

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jake-gyllenhaal-sean-hayes-duet

As they say on Broadway: the show must go on. And that’s exactly what happened.

The 70th annual Tony Awards aired Sunday night on CBS and delivered some show-stopping performances including an epic opening number from James Corden. The Late Late Show host brilliantly paid homage to iconic musicals with a spectacular mashup.

As entertaining as the show was, it appears some of the best parts took place during commercial breaks. While CBS was busy airing ads, back at the Beacon Theatre in New York City, Corden got celebs to sing during the downtime.

During one break, Jake Gyllenhaal teamed up with Sean Hayes for an adorable duet. They sang the iconic Aladdin theme song, “A Whole New World.” Thankfully, Hayes took to Facebook to share their performance. Check it out below.

“During commercial breaks at The Tony’s tonight, the amazingly brilliant James Corden started up a Broadway-themed ‘commercial karaoke’. He asked for volunteers. Jake Gyllenhaal & I were happy to oblige with our rendition of ‘A Whole New World’ from ALADDIN. ?#?TheTonyAwards?,” – Hayes captioned the clip

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barbra-streisand-2016-tonys

Mark your calendar folks. On June 12, Barbra Streisand makes a triumphant return to the Tonys stage. CBS just announced the 74-year-old legend will present at the 70th Tony Awards. Too bad, she’s not performing.

Believe it or not, this will mark her first appearance at the ceremony since 1970 when she received the “Star of the Decade Award.” The homecoming is perfect timing since Babs is releasing her third Broadway duets album, Encore: Movie Partners Sing Broadway, after completing her nine-city North American Tour in August.

James Corden is hosting the 2016 Tonys and will feature appearances by Cate Blanchett, Steve Martin and Edie Brickell, Carole King, Audra McDonald, Saoirse Ronan, Patina Miller, Nathan Lane and Oprah Winfrey. If you’re a betting man, I’d place it all on Hamilton. The mega-hit has 16 nominations and will no doubt convert many of them to wins.

Leona Lewis Joins Cats Broadway Revival

In: Donovan, The Arts
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Cats returns to the Great White Way on July 31 at Broadway’s Neil Simon Theatre. It marks the first revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s record-breaking musical since its original run closed in 2000.

Nicole Scherzinger, who appeared in the London West End production in 2014, was scheduled to lead the Broadway show but pulled out last second. She opted to do another stint as judge on The X Factor instead. A bit baffling to say the least. Fittingly, a winner from the UK talent show has now been tapped to replace her.

Leona Lewis steps in to play the glamorous cat of them all, Grizabella. If you’ve seen the show, you know the character is famous for the showstopping number, “Memory.”

“It is an incredible honor to be asked by Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber to join the Cats family. I will never forget seeing the show as a little girl and how blown away I was by the magical experience of it. I am beyond thrilled for my Broadway debut to be in such an iconic show. To work with a team as legendary as those on Cats is an experience I will cherish every moment of. I cannot wait to see the audiences out in NYC!” – Leona Lewis

Have you watched Cats? Do you think Lewis is a good replacement? Weigh in below.

kristin-chenoweth-idina-menzel-reunion

Reunited and it feels, and sounds, sooooo good. The original Elphaba and Glinda are back for the newest installment of WICKED’s Out of Oz series. They perform the farewell song of the beloved musical, “For Good.”

The duet marks the first time Kristin Chenoweth and Idina Menzel have performed together since the 2004 Tony Awards. It’s been far too long. If you’re a fan of the Tony award-winning musical, it’s a definite must-watch. Check it out below.

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Cats Feature Film Adaptation In The Works

In: Donovan, Movies, The Arts
cats-feature-film

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s feline musical really does have nine lives.

Cats is heading to the big screen with Tom Hooper sitting in the director’s chair. He previously delivered the Oscar-nominated stage-to-screen adaptation of Les Miserables.

Based on T.S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, Webber’s score for Cats features the iconic number, “Memory.” The musical centers on a tribe of cats who come together for an annual event where one furry friend ascends to heaven.

Cats is the fourth longest-running musical in Broadway history, with over 7,400 shows. The original production ran from 1981 until September 2000. A new production of Cats is set to open this August at the Neil Simon Theatre.

I love musicals, but was underwhelmed when I saw Cats. And that’s putting it nicely. With that being said, I have the utmost respect for Hooper and will most likely check out his adaptation. I wonder who’ll score the coveted role of Grizabella. Any suggestions? Weigh in below.

2016-tony-nominations

Founding Father Alexander Hamilton made history once again. The musical about his life snagged a record-breaking 16 Tony nominations including Best Musical and several nods for its creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda.

The previous benchmark was set by The Producers back in 2001 when it picked up 15 nominations. Billy Elliot, did the same, in 2009. We’ll have to wait until June 12 to see if Hamilton can top The Producers for most Tony wins with 12.

Jennifer Hudson was widely expected to score a Tony nomination for her work in The Color Purple revival, however she was surprisingly snubbed. Her dreams of joining the elusive EGOT club will have to wait. The Dreamgirls actress already has a Grammy and Oscar on her mantle.

Even though J-Hud didn’t hear her name Tuesday morning, plenty of Hollywood names were recognized. Lupito Nyong’o, Michelle Williams, Laurie Metcalf, Zachary Levi, Jessica Lange and many more received nominations.

The 70th annual Tony Awards will be held at the Beacon Theatre in New York on June 12. James Corden will host the ceremony. Check out all the nominations below.

check out all the nominations after the jump

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