Santino Fontana to Star in Stage Adaptation of “The Pianist”

Santino Fontana has landed his next Broadway project…

The 40-year-old part-Spanish American actor will star in the stage adaptation of The Pianist, based on the Władysław Szpilman memoir that was the source of the Oscar-nominated 2002 film of the same name.

Santino FontanaThe project is being developed by director Emily Mann with an eye toward Broadway.

An industry reading is set for New York City this month with the Tony Award-winning Fontana in the lead role

The project was announced by producers Robin de Levita Productions, Gorgeous Entertainment, and Wolk Transfer Company.

Described as a play with music, The Pianist features an original score by Dutch concert pianist Iris Hond.

The invitation-only industry reading is set for June 23, with Fontana leading a company that includes Richard Topol, Georgia Warner, Claire Beckman, Arielle Goldman, Paul Spera, Addison Finley, Jordan Lage, Robert David Grant and Tina Benko.

The Pianist tells the true story of Szpilman, a survivor of Nazi-occupied Warsaw in World War II. The 2002 film adaptation of Szpilman’s 1946 memoir won Adrien Brody an Oscar for his portrayal of the composer, with Roman Polanski winning Best Director and Ronald Harwood Best Adapted Screenplay.

The Pianist tells a soaring tale of survival and triumph through music,” says producer Wolk. “It is a riveting story that is fiercely present tense — though it’s set in the past, it shows us that just like today, worlds are destroyed when we demonize each other. And it gives us hope by showing how human connections and the power of music can transcend hate and fear and heal our hearts.”

Producers say the production will feature the first-time theatrical use of “a richly immersive soundscape” enhanced by Atmos Dolby Surround Sound, that allows for surround sound effects, isolating particular parts of an audio track, to be placed in a particular area of a theater. The production team also includes scenic design by Beowulf Boritt and sound design by Mark Bennett.

Carlos Valdes to Star in Hulu’s Musical Romantic Comedy Series “Up Here”

Carlos Valdes is movin’ on up (here)

The 33-year-old Colombian-American actor and singer will star in Hulu’s musical romantic comedy series Up Here alongside Mae Whitman.

Carlos ValdesValdes will portray Miguel, who is described as sensitive and thoughtful, with an artistic sensibility and a romantic streak. Miguel has always struggled with the feeling that he doesn’t quite belong. But after a cataclysmic breakup, Miguel has decided to reinvent himself, burying his feelings and ditching a promising career as a video game concept artist for the lucrative world of investment banking, determined never to get hurt again.

Written by Steven Levenson, Danielle Sanchez-Witzel, Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez and directed by Thomas Kail, Up Here is set in New York City in the waning days of 1999. It follows the extraordinary story of one ordinary couple, Lindsay (Whitman) and Miguel, as they fall in love and discover that the single greatest obstacle to finding happiness together might just be themselves – and the treacherous world of memories, obsessions, fears, and fantasies that lives inside their heads.

Anderson-Lopez and Lopez will pen original songs for the series.

Production on the show, which has an eight-episode straight-to-series order, is set to begin this summer in New York. 20th Television is the studio, producing with Kail’s Old 320 Sycamore Productions.

Valdes most recently appeared in the Starz Watergate drama Gaslit as FBI agent Paul Magallanes. Before that, he had a seven-season run as Cisco Ramon on The Flash and numerous other Arrowverse shows including Arrow, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, and Supergirl.

He made his Broadway debut in 2013 in the Tony Award-winning musical Once.

Lin-Manuel Miranda to Serve as a Presenter at This Weekend’s Tony Awards Show

Lin-Manuel Miranda has a date with Tony

This Sunday’s 75th Annual Tony Awards will feature a line-up of all-star presenters from the stage and screen, including the 42-year-old Puerto Rican actor, rapper, composer, playwright and filmmaker.

Lin-Manuel MirandaMiranda, a multiple Tony Award winner, is among a roster of presenters that includes Andrew Garfield, Laurence Fishburne, Nathan Lane, Bowen Yang and both Paris and Prince Jackson, the children of MJ subject Michael Jackson.

The roster of presenters was announced by Tony Awards producers, and also includes Josh Lucas, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Skylar Astin, Zach Braff, Danielle Brooks, Danny Burstein, Len Cariou, RuPaul Charles, Jessica Chastain, Lilli Cooper, Bryan Cranston, Wilson Cruz, Colman Domingo, Anthony Edwards, Cynthia Erivo, Raúl Esparza, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Tony Goldwyn, David Alan Grier, Vanessa Hudgens, Jennifer Hudson, Bebe Neuwirth, Kelli O’Hara, Sarah Paulson, Bernadette Peters, Jeremy Pope, Billy Porter, LaTanya Richardson, Chita Rivera, Tony Shalhoub, Phillipa Soo, Sarah Silverman and George Takei,

The four-hour June 12 Tony evening begins at 7:00 pm ET/4:00 pm PT with The Tony Awards: Act One, a one-hour streaming event of exclusive content live on Paramount+ hosted by Darren Criss and Julianne Hough.

The 75th Tony Awards, hosted by Oscar-winning actress and singer Ariana DeBose, follows at 8:00 pm ET/5:00 pm PT on CBS and Paramount+. The awards will be presented live coast-to-coast from Radio City Music Hall in New York City.

Last night, DeBose confirmed that the Tony Awards also will pay respect to the swings and understudies who made this Covid-plagued Broadway season possible. In response to a tweet from Actors’ Equity president Kate Shindle dismissing social media rumors that swings and understudies would be ignored during the ceremony,

DeBose reiterated Shindle’s assurances, writing, “To all concerned, all I can ask is that you keep the faith & trust. I am working round the clock to bring you all a beautiful celebration of everyone’s hard work…”

Netflix Releases First Look at Jenna Ortega as “Wednesday” in Upcoming Addams Family Television Series

Jenna Ortega is embracing her Family

Netflix has revealed the first look at “Wednesday,” the upcoming Addams Family television series starring the famous clan’s daughter, with the 19-year-old Puerto Rican and Mexican American actress and Scream 5 star in the title role.

Jenna OrtegaFirst created by Charles Addams for a series of New Yorker cartoons, the Addams Family is a bizarre aristocratic clan with an obsession of the macabre and a complete lack of concern regarding how others perceive them.

Following their creation, the characters grew in popularity after a 1964 sitcom fleshed out their personalities, and have since starred in two live-action theatrical films, two animated series, a Broadway musical and two animated films.

The only daughter of parents Gomez and Morticia, Wednesday was depicted in the original sitcom as the most sweet-natured of the family.

However, the 1991 Barry Sonnenfeld-directed film adaptation changed her personality to be much more deadpan and sadistic, with Christina Ricci’s portrayal in the film making her one of the most popular characters in the franchise.

“Wednesday” spins-off the character as she attends a boarding school Nevermore Academy, where she develops psychic powers and investigates a supernatural killing spree connected to her own family’s history.

In addition to Ortega as Wednesday, the rest of the Addams Family will make appearances in the show. Catherine Zeta-Jones is part of the main cast as matriarch Morticia, while Victor Dorobantu plays the disembodied hand servant of the family, Thing. Isaac Ordonez plays Wednesday’s brother Pugsley in a recurring role, while George Burcea plays the family manservant Lurch. Luis Guzmán will guest star in the series as Wednesday’s father Gomez.

The main cast of the show includes Riki Lindhome, Jamie McShane, Percy Hynes White, Gwendoline Christie, Thora Birch, Hunter Doohan, Joy Sunday, Emma Myers, Georgie Farmer, Naomi Ogawa and Moosa Mostafa. In a nod to the ’90s films, Ricci will also appear in an unconfirmed role.

Al Gough and Miles Millar, the creators of the Superman series Smallville, serve as showrunners and executive producers for the series.

Tim Burton will also executive produce and direct the majority of episodes, with Gandja Monteiro and James Marshall serving as additional directors.

 

The series is produced by MGM Television for Netflix.

Ariana DeBose to Host This Year’s Tony Awards Show

Ariana DeBose has a date with Tony

The 31-year-old half-Puerto Rican actress, singer and Broadway star, who claimed her first Oscar in March for her performance in West Side Story, will host the 75th annual Tony Awards live from Radio City Music Hall in New York City on Sunday, June 12.

Ariana DeBose,DeBose was nominated for a Tony four years ago for playing “Disco Donna” in the acclaimed musical Summer: The Donna Summer Musical. She received a nod for best featured actress in a musical.

“I’m coming home! I’m so honored to celebrate 75 years of excellence in theater, but more importantly every member of this community who poured themselves into making sure the lights of Broadway have the opportunity to shine brightly once again!” DeBose said in a statement.  “This is a dream come true, and I’m excited to see you all on June 12.”

“We are thrilled to have Ariana DeBose, who has captivated audiences with her inspirational roles on stage and in film and television, host this year’s Tony Awards,” said Jack Sussman, executive vice president, specials, music, live event and alternative programming, CBS. “After the last challenging two years there is no one better to bring the theater community together on this important night honoring the best of Broadway, and share the joys of live performing once again than this extraordinarily talented artist.”

The Tonys will air live coast-to-coast for the first time. The show is set to air on Sunday, June 12, from 8 to 11 p.m. ET, and from 5 to 8 p.m. PT on CBS. It will also stream live and on demand on Paramount+.

The celebration will commence from 7 to 8 p.m. ET/4 to 5 p.m. PT, with exclusive content streaming only on Paramount+. Hosts and further information on the Paramount+ presentation will be announced at a later date.

Tony winner Adrienne Warren and Tony nominee Joshua Henry will host the 75th Annual Tony Awards nominations on Monday, May 9, at 9:00 am ET on the Tony Awards official YouTube page. The Tony Awards eligibility cutoff date has been extended for the 2021-22 season to Wednesday, May 4, for all Broadway productions which meet all other eligibility requirements.

DeBose has worked extensively in the theater. In 2015, she appeared alongside Lin-Manuel Miranda in the Tony-winning musical Hamilton as a member of the original cast in both the Broadway and off-Broadway productions, as well as the Emmy Award winning film version that was later released on Disney+.

After her departure from Hamilton in 2016, DeBose completed a run as Jane in the original Broadway cast of A Bronx Tale.  Other theater credits include: Leading Player in the Tony Award-winning revival of Pippin, Mary Wilson in Motown the Musical, Nautica in Bring It On: The Musical and ensemble in Stephen Sondheim’s Company.

She recently had a breakout role in Schmigadoon!, and received critical acclaim for her performance in Ryan Murphy’s Netflix adaptation of the hit Broadway musical The Prom. 

Next, DeBose will star in Sony Pictures’ Kraven the Hunter, Argylle from Apple, and the space thriller ISS.

A limited number of tickets to the 75th Annual Tony Awards will be made available.  Tickets will be available at www.TonyAwards.com/tickets starting on Monday, May 9, at 9 a.m. ET / 6 a.m. PT.

The Tony Awards are presented by The Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing.

Ariana DeBose Makes History with “Best Supporting Actress” Oscar Win

Ariana DeBose has closed out awards season with a bang…

During Sunday night’s Academy Awards show, the 31-year-old half-Puerto Rican actress/singer/dancer has won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her portray of Anita in Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story.

Ariana DeBose, West Side Story

DeBose is the second actress to win the Oscar for portraying the iconic Broadway character, following Rita Moreno‘s win in 1962.

DeBose, a North Carolina native, has also made history as the first queer woman of color to win an acting Oscar.

“Imagine this little girl in the backseat of a white Ford focus, look into her eyes and you see an openly queer woman of color, an Afro-Latina who found her strength in life through art,” DeBose said during her acceptance speech.

“So to anybody who has ever questioned your identity— ever, ever ever—or you find yourself living in the gray spaces, I promise you this: There is indeed a place for us.”

DeBose’s other accolades during this awards season include a BAFTA, Golden Globe, Critics Choice, and SAG Award.

DeBose is currently filming Marvel’s Kraven The Hunter in the role of Calypso, which she says has been challenging in a way she hasn’t experienced before.

Yvett Merino and her fellow Encanto producers took home the Oscar forAnimated Feature Film for the acclaimed animated film about a Colombian family touched by magic.

Alberto Mielgo and Leo Sanchez claimed the Animated Short Film Oscar for their project The Windshield Wiper. The film was written, directed and designed by Mielgo.

Here are this year’s Oscar winners:

Best Picture
CODA
Philippe Rousselet, Fabrice Gianfermi and Patrick Wachsberger, Producers

Actress in a Leading Role
Jessica Chastain
The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Actor in a Leading Role
Will Smith
King Richard

Directing
The Power of the Dog
Jane Campion

Music (Original Song)
“No Time To Die” from No Time to Die
Music and Lyric by Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell

Documentary Feature
Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)
Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, Joseph Patel, Robert Fyvolent and David Dinerstein

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
CODA
Screenplay by Siân Heder

Writing (Original Screenplay)
Belfast
Written by Kenneth Branagh

Costume Design
Cruella
Jenny Beavan

International Feature Film
Drive My Car (Japan)
A C&I Entertainment/Culture Entertainment/Bitters End Production

Actor in a Supporting Role
Troy Kotsur
CODA

Animated Feature Film
Encanto
Jared Bush, Byron Howard, Yvett Merino and Clark Spencer

Visual Effects
Dune
Paul Lambert, Tristan Myles, Brian Connor and Gerd Nefzer

Cinematography
Dune
Greig Fraser

Actress in a Supporting Role
Ariana DeBose
West Side Story

Makeup and Hairstyling
The Eyes of Tammy Faye
Linda Dowds, Stephanie Ingram and Justin Raleigh

Production Design
Dune
Production Design: Patrice Vermette; Set Decoration: Zsuzsanna Sipos

Film Editing
Dune
Joe Walker

Music (Original Score)
Dune
Hans Zimmer

Live Action Short Film
The Long Goodbye
Aneil Karia and Riz Ahmed

Animated Short Film
The Windshield Wiper
Alberto Mielgo and Leo Sanchez

Documentary Short Subject
The Queen of Basketball
Ben Proudfoot

Best Sound
Dune
Mac Ruth, Mark Mangini, Theo Green, Doug Hemphill and Ron Bartlett

Hulu to Release Season Two of Selena Gomez’s “Only Murders in the Building” in June

Selena Gomez is heading back to the building this summer…

Hulu has announced plans to premiere the second season of its acclaimed comedy series Only Murders in the Building, starring the 29-year-old Mexican American actress/singer, Martin Short and Steve Martin on June 28.

Hulu Renews Selena Gomez's "Only Murders in the Building" for Second SeasonThe series’ first season introduced viewers to Mabel Mora (Gomez), struggling Broadway director Oliver Putnam (Short) and semi-retired TV actor Charles-Haden Savage (Martin), three strangers who came to bond over their obsession with true crime. After a suspicious death in their New York apartment building, the Arconia, the neighbors decide to start their own podcast about their investigation of the death, which the police ruled a suicide.

Season 2 picks up with the trio following the shocking death of Arconia Board President Bunny Folger (Jayne Houdyshell), as they race to unmask her killer. However, three (unfortunate) complications ensue—the trio is publicly implicated in Bunny’s homicide, they are now the subjects of a competing podcast, and they have to deal with a bunch of New York neighbors who all think they committed murder.

Only Murders in the Building debuted on Hulu last August and was renewed for a second season the following month.

The series hails from co-creators and writers Martin and John Hoffman, who executive produce along with Short, Gomez, This Is Us creator Dan Fogelman and Jess Rosenthal.

It received a SAG Awards nomination for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series.

Ana Villafañe to Star as Fidel Castro’s Daughter Alina Fernandez in “Alina of Cuba: La Hija Rebelde”

Ana Villafañe is ready to Rebel yell

The 32-year-old Cuban American actress and singer will star in the indie feature Alina of Cuba: La Hija Rebelde.

Ana Villafañe

Villafañe will portray Fidel Castro’s daughter and anti-communism activist, Alina Fernandez, in the film from Mankind Entertainment and Maven Pictures.

Alina of Cuba is based on the true-life story of Fernandez, a Cuban American immigrant and human rights advocate whose birth was the result of a passionate love affair between Castro and Natalia Naty Revuelta. Revuelta, a Cuban-born socialite, sacrificed her and her physician husband’s personal belongings and finances to help fund the revolution.

Fernandez learned of her connection to Castro at the age of 10: when after years of secret visits to her home, she was finally told by her mother that “El Comandante” was her biological father. Fernandez and her mother stayed in Cuba after the former’s stepfather and her sister fled to the U.S. after his medical clinic was shut down.

Fernandez eventually became one of Castro’s most outspoken critics; she was arrested on more than one occasion for trying to leave and classified as a dissident forbidden to travel outside of Cuba. She defected to Spain in 1993 and later made Miami her permanent home.

The biopic will shoot in Cartagena, Colombia this summer with Goya Award-winner Miguel Bardem set as director.

Alina of Cuba, formerly known as Castro’s Daughter, is written by Academy Award nominee Jose Rivera, and Pulitzer Prize winner Nilo Cruz.

Villafañe is best known for her breakout role in the Broadway musical On Your Feet portraying Gloria Estefan.

She later starred as Nina Rosario in the Kennedy Center’s 2018 production of In the Heights, and then made her off-Broadway debut in MCC’s critically acclaimed Collective Rage: A Play in Five Betties that same year.

On television, Villafañe most recently portrayed Dr. Valentin Castro in NBC’s New Amsterdam and Diana Barea in Sunnysidfor the network, as well as KT in the Paramount+ series Younger.

Ruben Santiago Hudson to Star in CBS’ Drama Pilot “East New York”

Ruben Santiago Hudson is heading East

The 65-year-old half-Puerto Rican actor, playwright and director has been cast as a series regular opposite Amanda Warren in the CBS drama pilot East New York.

Ruben Santiago-Hudson

In East New York, co-written by William Finkelstein and Mike Flynn, Regina Haywood (Warren) is the newly promoted deputy inspector of East New York, an impoverished, working-class neighborhood at the eastern edge of Brooklyn. She leads a diverse group of officers and detectives, some of whom are reluctant to deploy her creative methods of serving and protecting during the midst of social upheaval and the early seeds of gentrification.

Hudson will play Marvin Sandeford, who could have become a boss or a detective, but he never wanted to be anything but a street cop. He’s very opinionated and given to quick, intractable judgments, but not without compassion. No one knows as much about East New York as he does.

Finkelstein and Flynn executive produce with Mike Robin of Skyemac Productions, Christine Holder and Mark Holder of Wonder Street. Andrew Maher of Skyemac is co-executive producing. Warner Bros. Television is the studio.

Hudson is a two-time Tony Award winner and star/writer/director of Lackawanna Blues on Broadway. He also write Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.

“West Side Story” Star Ariana DeBose Wins Two “Dorian Awards,” Including GALECA’s Rising Star Prize

They’re Wilde about Ariana DeBose at GALECA: The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics.

The organization has revealed the winners of its 13th annual Dorian Awards, with the 31-year-old half-Puerto Rican actress/singer/dancer taking home two awards.

Ariana DeBose, West Side StoryDeBose took home the “We’re Wilde About You!” Rising Star prize for her breakthrough role as Anita in Steven Spielberg’s film adaptation of the legendary Broadway musical West Side Story.

DeBose also took home the Best Supporting Performance award for her scene-stealing work in the musical.

But DeBose wasn’t the only double Latinx winner.

Pedro Almodovar, the mastermind behind the acclaimed Spanish language film Parallel Mothers, was named Wilde Artist, for being a groundbreaking force in film, theatre and/or television.

The 72-year-old Spanish film director, screenwriter, producer and former actor also earned the GALECA LGBTQIA+ Film Trailblazer prize.

Rita Moreno was honored with the Timeless Star prize.

The 90-year-old Puerto Rican actress, singer and dancer earned the award for an “exemplary career” marked by character, wisdom and wit.

The Dorian Awards are given to the best in film and television, mainstream to queer+, voted on by members of GALECA, a group of 350 critics, journalists and broadcasters in the U.S., Canada and

Here’s the full list of winners:

BEST FILM
The Power of the Dog (Netflix)

BEST LGBTQ FILM
Flee (Neon, Participant)

BEST NON-ENGLISH LANGUAGE FILM
Drive My Car (Janus)

BEST UNSUNG FILM
Passing (Netflix)

BEST DIRECTOR
Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog (Netflix)

BEST SCREENPLAY
The Power of the Dog (Netflix) – Jane Campion (adapted)

BEST FILM PERFORMANCE
Kristen Stewart, Spencer (Neon)

BEST SUPPORTING FILM PERFORMANCE
Ariana DeBose, West Side Story (20th Century Studios)

BEST DOCUMENTARY
Flee (Neon, Participant)

BEST LGBTQ DOCUMENTARY
Flee (Neon, Participant)

MOST VISUALLY STRIKING FILM
Dune (Warner Bros.)

BEST ANIMATED FILM
Flee (Neon, Participant)

BEST FILM MUSIC
Tick, Tick… Boom! (Netflix)

“WE’RE WILDE ABOUT YOU!” RISING STAR
Ariana DeBose

WILDE ARTIST
(to a truly groundbreaking force in film, theatre and/or television)
Pedro Almodóvar

CAMPIEST FLICK
House of Gucci (United Artists)

TIMELESS STAR
(to an actor or performer whose exemplary career is marked by character, wisdom and wit)
Rita Moreno

GALECA LGBTQIA+ FILM TRAILBLAZER
Pedro Almodóvar