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Broadway’s first openly trans Roxie Hart is ready to show why she should not be the last

Broadway’s first openly trans Roxie Hart is ready to show why she should not be the last

When Angelica Ross takes the stage in Chicago at Broadway’s Ambassador Theater on September 12, she will make history as the first openly trans woman to play Roxie Hart, but Ross isn’t letting that title take up the spotlight as she dances Bob Fosse’s iconic choreography. “I’m not one to focus on titles,” said Ross.“I know how powerful I am with or without the title of ‘pioneer’ or ‘the first.’ I’m not concerned about that. I love celebrating this moment, but I’m here to do my best and show why I should not be the last.” The historic scarcity of Black trans women representation on Broadway means there’s been a surge of “first” milestones in recent years. In 2018, Peppermint, most well-known from RuPaul’s Drag Race, was the first openly trans woman to originate a principal role on Broadway when she bowed in Head Over Heels. L Morgan Lee’s Best Performance by Featured Actress in a Musical nomination for A Strange Loop at the 2022 Tony Awards ceremony marked the first time an openly trans woman garnered a nod. While the politics of her bestowed title isn’t top of mind for Ross, she acknowledges that her intersectional identity of being a Black trans woman adds nuanced layers to the character of Roxie, one of Chicago’s two leading ladies. The Tony-winning Kander and Ebb musical follows Roxie, along with Velma Kelly, as they navigate the Cook County Jail and their respective murder trials, competing for attention from the press and their shared lawyer, Billy Flynn, during Chicago

Broadway's Beetlejuice comes back from the dead

Broadway's Beetlejuice comes back from the dead

Beetlejuice has been summoned back to Broadway. Five blocks south from its original Broadway home, the Winter Garden Theater, the Tony-nominated musical answers the call from its new haunt: the Marriott Marquis Theater. The musical stage adaptation of the 1988 Tim Burton-directed film of the same name resumed performances April 8, nearly three years after its original Broadway opening. With a book by Scott Brown and Anthony King, and music and lyrics by Eddie Perfect, the story does loosely follow the original source material, but due to mixed reviews from critics and sluggish ticket sales, the musical version got off to a slower start than its film predecessor. The development of a strong cult following turned everything around for the ghost with the most.  RECOMMENDED: Review: Broadway’s musical reboot of Beetlejuice is buggy The resonance with fans was gradually reflected through a boost in ticket sales in late 2019—eventually breaking multiple box office records for the Winter Garden just as the musical announced its June 2020 closing date because of its low grosses during the previous summer and contractual obligations. The COVID-19-induced Broadway shutdown beginning March 12, 2020 meant Beetlejuice was laid to rest earlier than expected, which left fans and company members disappointed. “The heartache of when we got word we were shutting down was gutting,” says Rachel Bauder, Beetlejuice’s Production Stage Manager. “We had a final moment that we didn't realize was our

The Little Prince, now on Broadway, has some surprising NYC roots

The Little Prince, now on Broadway, has some surprising NYC roots

In The Little Prince, author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry writes, “All grown-ups were once children, but only few of them remember that.”  That idea is the thread that director-choreographer Anne Tournié and librettist-co-director Chris Mouron (who also performs as The Narrator in the show) are following in their musical stage adaptation of the novel, playing a limited run at the Broadway Theatre until August 14.  RECOMMENDED: April is the craziest month of new shows on Broadway Perhaps because, for them, The Little Prince was woven into the fabric of their own childhoods. “My father was a big fan,” says Tournié. “He offered the book to my mother when they got married with a note inside that said, ‘This will be a guide for your life.’ Then my mother read it to me as a child. Now it's the guide for my life.”  Mouron was 12 years-old when she was introduced to the story at school through a teacher playing the 1954 vinyl audiobook recording with Gerard Phillipe. “I was in tears,” Mouron remembers. “It was an emotional shock. It was so beautiful. I felt so close to the Little Prince [character].” Channeling their lifelong love of the story, the duo started translating the story to the stage beginning in 2018. Like its original source material, their musicalized stage version follows “the Little Prince on his journey as he meets many fascinating characters who help him learn how to follow his heart.” For him the only possibility was to go to New York. Starring Lionel Zalachas as the

What it's like to be a COVID compliance officer in a Broadway theater

What it's like to be a COVID compliance officer in a Broadway theater

With the continued waves of COVID-19, the 41 theaters that make up Broadway have become their own battlefields, combating the virus with a crucial line of defense: COVID Compliance Teams. Thrust to the frontlines, these teams hold the heavy burden of ensuring a safe environment for audiences and theater workers alike.  The front-of-house compliance teams are responsible for enforcing the audience member protocols set by the Broadway League (the industry’s trade association): attending a show with photo identification and proof of full vaccination. For those who claim exemption, a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of the performance, or an antigen test within six hours, is needed instead.   “It’s a bootcamp in customer service,” says Gianfranco Lentini, Six’s COVID Compliance Manager at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre. “You can’t take it personally. You have to stay pleasant, lower the stakes of the moment, and mediate the situation quickly.” While Lentini acknowledges that crisis and conflict management is a big aspect of his role, he sees that overall success in COVID compliance work means seamlessly pivoting between multiple mindsets: scientists, doctors, psychologists and even babysitters for the parents who didn’t meet the criteria but insist on sending their children to see the show without them.  Understanding the fear and confusion theatergoers might feel about the new COVID routines, Lentini checks for any updates to the CDC guidelines and Broadway League protocols