Read on for some recent theatre headlines and videos you may have missed.
Tamara Tunie Will Direct New Musical Love & Southern D!scomfort
Tony and Obie winner Tamara Tunie (Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Julius Caesar, Black Earth Rising) has joined the creative team of the New York-aimed musical drama Love & Southern D!scomfort. Tunie will direct the new musical, which features a book and lyrics by Monica L. Patton and music and lyrics by Robert “Bobby” Daye. Set in present-day Louisiana, the musical spotlights the Dejoies, an old-money family torn apart by greed, addiction, undiagnosed mental illness, and a family secret. Patton Daye Slater Productions (Monica L. Patton, Robert Daye, Adam Slater) plans to present a showcase of Love & Southern D!scomfort spring 2021. Tony winner Ken Davenport (Once On This Island) will serve as the executive producer on the project. Tony nominee Felicia P. Fields (The Color Purple) is also attached to the project.
Sean Hayes, Todd Milliner Developing Shakespeare-Themed The Stratford
Sean Hayes and Todd Milliner are at work with NBC on a one-hour drama series inspired by the Bard. The Stratford, Deadline reports, will offer a contemporary look at some of Shakespeare’s most famous characters, set within a luxury hotel as a young man hunts for his father’s killer (not unlike a certain Shakespearean Danish prince). The series is reminiscent of Grimm (also from Hayes and Milliner through their production company Hazy Mills), which placed fairy tale staples into a cop procedural. Vincent Angell will serve as executive producer.
Ayad Akhtar Named Next PEN America President
Playwright Ayad Akhtar will succeed novelist Jennifer Egan as president of PEN America beginning December 2. The Pulitzer Prize winner and Tony nominee (Disgraced, Junk, The Invisible Hand) outlined three priorities for the non-profit in a conversation with The New York Times: “continuing the national outreach,” “engaging in the increasingly vociferous free expression issues that have been raised,” and “widening access and also supporting excellence in literary production.” Akhtar’s latest work, the novel Homeland Elegies, arrives September 15.
Watch Broadway Aladdin Stars Virtually Join Australian Stage Favorites in New Music Video
In response to the global theatre shutdown due to COVID-19, Jess Newman has written a new song, "Return," to raise funds for The Actors Benevolent Fund and Wilin Centre for Indigenous Arts. Check out Aladdin Broadway alums Ainsley Melham and Arielle Jacobs, plus Australian recording and stage stars Tim Omaji, Ruva Ngwenya, David Harris, Jemma Rix, and Laura Murphy, below. The music video, recorded completely in isolation, is directed and choreographed by Luca Dinardo and musically produced by Isaac Hawyard.
Nathan Gehan Launches ShowTown Theatricals
Veteran Broadway general manager Nathan Gehan, who has spent the past three years as president of Fifth Estate Entertainment, has opened his own general management firm, ShowTown Theatricals. Staff members include Creative Producer Jamison Scott, General Managers Michelle Tamagawa and Samuel Dallas, Head of Development Michael Fiske, and Management Assistant Ryan Logue. ShowTown Theatricals comes to the industry with a large roster of projects that includes The Old Vic’s A Christmas Carol (recently seen on Broadway), American Prophet (Arena Stage), Anne of Green Gables (Goodspeed Musicals), The Glorious Death of Comrade What’s His Name, Mr. Rickey Calls a Meeting, May We All, Notre Dame de Paris (Lincoln Center), Romy & Michele The Musical, Room, Syncing Ink, The King’s Speech, and the upcoming virtual developmental presentations of ShAme and Disenchanted. ShowTown Theatricals is also committed to increasing diversity and equity on Broadway and is partnering with the Black Theatre Coalition to provide employment opportunities for Black theatre professionals.