Theatre News: Audra McDonald and Brandy on Broadway, Jesse Tyler Ferguson in the Park, ‘Cabaret’ on Tour
> Brandy Norwood (otherwise known as Brandy) will make her Broadway debut as Roxie Hart in the long-running production of Chicago, producers Barry and Fran Weissler announced this week. The revival, which opened on Broadway in 1996, has welcomed many stars in its nearly 20-year run, including most recently Jennifer Nettles in the role of Roxie. Brandy will begin performances on April 28 and continue through June 21.
> Six-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald will return to Broadway in spring 2016 in Shuffle Along, Or, The Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed, a backstage musical about the making of the 1921 musical Shuffle Along, producer Scott Rudin announced. To be directed by George C. Wolfe (Angels in America) and choreographed by famed dancer Savion Glover, the show will mark the first collaboration between the two artists since Bring in ‘da Noise, Bring in ‘da Funk in 1996. Shuffle Along, a controversial all-black musical that launched the career of Josephine Baker, was created by Flournoy Miller and Aubrey Lyles, with music and lyrics by Eubie Blake and Noble Sissle.
> Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Lily Rabe and Hamish Linklater will join Sam Waterston in this summer’s free Shakespeare in the Park season, the Public Theater revealed last week. Ferguson joins previously announced Waterston in director Michael Greif’s production of The Tempest, which will run from May 27 to July 25, while Rabe and Linklater will play opposite each other in director Daniel Sullivan’s production of Cymbeline, which plays from July 23 to August 23, both at the Delacorte Theatre in Central Park.
> Roundabout Theatre Company announced the launch of a national tour of its acclaimed production of Cabaret, beginning performances in Providence, R.I., in January 2016. Directed by Sam Mendes and Rob Marshall, the revival was originally produced by the Roundabout in 1998 and returned to Studio 54 last season starring Alan Cumming and Michelle Williams. Emma Stone and Sienna Miller have also stepped in to play the role of Sally Bowles in the Broadway run. Casting for the tour has not yet been announced.