Popular daytime talk show host Wendy Williams is the latest celebrity to make their Broadway debut in the long-running hit revival of the musical Chicago, playing at the Ambassador Theatre. Williams will take on the part of the brassy prison matron Mama Morton.
Wendy Williams will perform for just seven weeks, starting June 25 and then ending her time in the popular show on August 11. She will be taking over the role of Mama Morton from actress Christine Pedi.
An author and columnist, Wendy Williams has been well known by radio listeners for years. She began reaching an even wider audience in 2009 when she began her nationally syndicated talk show The Wendy Williams Show.
Starting April 8, Adam Pascal will take on the often-replaced role of slick lawyer Billy Flynn in the long-running Broadway revival of Chicago. Pascal is taking over for actor Christopher Sieber.
Adam Pascal was most recently seen on Broadway playing Huey in the Tony Award winning musical Memphis. His other Broadway credits include Aida, Cabaret, and, most famously, Rent, in which he played the role of Roger.
The Tony Award-winning Chicago revival came to Broadway in 1996. Playing at the Ambassador Theatre, the production currently stars Amra-Faye Wright as Velma, Amy Spanger as Roxie, and Raymond Bokhour as Amos Hart. On the same day that Adam Pascal joins the cast, so will Christine Pedi in the role of Mama Morton.
Due to the fact that ticket buying patterns tend to change significantly over holidays, most Broadway shows are altering their schedules accordingly this week. The biggest changes are on Thursday, November 22, Thanksgiving Day itself, when the majority of Broadway shows are canceling performances entirely. Notable exceptions are Chicago, A Christmas Story, and The Phantom of the Opera, which are still planning to hold shows that day.
Almost as significant are the changes made to Broadway show schedules on Friday, November 23. To make up for the lost Thanksgiving Day performances, and to account for the fact that many families are looking for entertainment on that Friday, most Broadway musicals and plays have added matinee performances in addition to their usual Friday evening performances.
There are a few other scattered performance additions and cancellations from now through Sunday. To see the complete Broadway performance schedule for this week, visit the Broadway League’s schedule page here.
Broadway in Bryant Park, the annual summer series that features lunchtime performances from Broadway and Off-Broadway shows, has an exciting schedule this month that will feature current Broadway shows alongside upcoming ones. Held from 12:30pm to 1:30pm each Thursday through August 16, these free midday concerts are ideal for midtown workers and tourists who want to enjoy Bryant Park’s beautiful lawn while watching Broadway singers perform.
On August 2, long-running Broadway musical Mamma Mia! will be showcased, along with Off-Broadway hit Silence the Musical (a hilarious parody of The Silence of the Lambs), the British farce One Man, Two Guvnors, and the forthcoming bio-musical Chaplin.
August 9 will feature another long-running favorite, Chicago, along with the Off-Broadway revival of Rent (which is closing soon, so catch it now!), the new revival of Evita, and the upcoming Broadway musical Rebecca.
From pop icons to has-been TV stars, the Broadway production of Chicago has featured just about everyone imaginable in the role of Billy Flynn. John Schneider, Alan Thicke, Billy Zane, George Hamilton, Huey Lewis, Joey Lawrence, Patrick Swayze, and Usher are just a sampling of the performers who have played the slick, charming lawyer who sings the signature Kander and Ebb tunes “All I Care About Is Love” and “Razzle Dazzle”. Now Chicago is going a little bit country by welcoming former chart topper Billy Ray Cyrus into the role.
Better known to younger generations as Miley Cyrus’s dad, Billy Ray Cyrus created a sensation in the ’90s with his breakout hit “Achy Breaky Heart,” going on to find further success with “Some Gave All”. Cyrus is not new to acting, having played the lead on the PAX TV series Doc and playing a version of himself on the Disney hit show Hannah Montana.
Seeing John O’Hurley (known to TV audiences as J. Peterman on Seinfeld) play Billy Flynn inspired Billy Ray Cyrus to try his hand at the part. Making his Broadway debut, the country singer is scheduled to play Billy Flynn from November 5 to December 23.