Leslie Grace to Star as Title Character in Warner Bros. & DC Films’ “Batgirl”

Leslie Grace is the (bat)girl of the hour…

The 26-year-old Dominican American actress and Latin Grammy-nominated singer has been cast as Barbara Gordon in Warner Bros. and DC Films’ Batgirl.

Leslie Grace

The decision was made after testing actresses this week.

The studio was already extremely interested in the rising Afro-Latina star following her breakout role in In the Heights, and sources say her audition sealed the deal as the choice.

The studio had no comment.

The film will bow on HBO Max, marking one of the first major DC properties to debut exclusively on the streamer. Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah will direct the film from a script by Christina Hodson.

While plot details are under wraps, it is known that Barbara Gordon, the daughter of Commissioner Gordon, will be the character behind the cape in this version. Gordon is the most established version of the Batgirl character and was first introduced in 1961 as Betty Kane.

Grace was among a final group of actresses being tested for the role that included Isabella MercedZoey Deutch and Haley Lu Richardson.

Anthony Ramos Releases Sophomore Album “Love and Lies”

Anthony Ramos is spreading love and lies

The 29-year-old Puerto Rican actor/singer, currently starring in the film adaptation of Tony Award-winning musical In The Heights, has released his sophomore album Love and Lies via Republic Records.

Anthony Ramos

Home to 12 tracks, including his previously released “Blessings,” “Say Less” and “Échale,” the set spotlights Ramos’ ability to fuse genres from retro electro-pop and soulful R&B to Latin urban.

“I want to listen to music that makes you want to stay up late, music that makes you want to love, and music that ultimately makes you feel connected,” he expresses.

Love and Lies was helmed by Ramos’ longtime friend and executive producer Will Wells and co-writer Castle, who’s also his childhood friend.

On this set, Ramos also joined forces with select new producers, including Latin hitmakers Andres Torres and Mauricio Rengifo, who brought to life his single “Right Now.”

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “Freestyle Love Supreme” Returning to Broadway in October

Lin-Manuel Miranda is bringing the (freestyle) Love to Great White Way…

Freestyle Love Supreme, the improvisational rap musical revue co-created by the 41-year-old Puerto Rican actor, singer, songwriter, rapper, producer, and playwright, is returning to Broadway’s Booth Theatre for a strictly limited three-month engagement in October, producers announced today.

Lin-Manuel Miranda

“If live theater is coming back, so is FLS,” said Miranda, who co-created the show with Thomas Kail and Anthony Veneziale. “Our most important collaborator is the audience, and we can’t wait to get back in the Booth.”

The limited engagement begins Thursday, October 7, and runs through Sunday, January 2, 2022.

“We are thrilled to be back on Broadway and part of this theatrical community we love so much,” said Kail, who directs. “The immediacy of our show, with its content driven by audience suggestion, makes it one of the rare shows that can speak to whatever is happening in the moment.”

The production’s core performers will include Andrew Bancroft AKA Jelly Donut, Tarik Davis AKA Tardis Hardaway, Aneesa Folds AKA Young Nees, Arthur Lewis AKA Arthur the Geniuses, Kaila Mullady AKA Kaiser Rözé, Chris Sullivan AKA Shockwave and Anthony Veneziale AKA Two-Touch.

As with the original 2019-2020 Broadway production, the revival will include spontaneous, unannounced special guests which “may include” Miranda, Christopher Jackson, Daveed Diggs, James Monroe Iglehart, Wayne Brady, Ashley Pérez Flanagan, Bill Sherman, Utkarsh Ambudkar and others.

Hamilton creator Miranda has been much in the spotlight lately, with the film adaptation of his In The Heights opening last week, his feature directorial debut tick, tick… Boom! arriving this Fall and his partly-owned The Drama Bookshop bookstore opening earlier this month in Manhattan’s theater district.

Prior to its purchase by Miranda, Kail and producers Jeffrey Seller and James L. Nederlander, the Book Shop, in a nearby location, had long been theater district institution and gathering place but was threatened with closure by rising rents and financial difficulties. Miranda, Kail and Veneziale began writing Freestyle Love Supreme more than 17 years ago in the basement of the old Book Shop, a history chronicled in the 2020 documentary We Are Freestyle Love Supreme.

Freestyle Love Supreme is produced on Broadway by Kail, Miranda, Jenny and Jon Steingart, and Jill Furman.

Anthony Ramos Contributes Single “The Best” to “Space Jam: A New Legacy” Soundtrack

Anthony Ramos is ready to (space) jam

Republic Records and Warner Bros. Pictures have announced details of the official soundtrack for Space Jam: A New Legacy, the upcoming sequel starring LeBron James, with the 29-year-old Puerto Rican actor, singer and In The Heights star contributing a track.

Anthony Ramos

Among the 16 singles on the soundtrack: Ramos’ “The Best.”

Other artists in the mix are Lil Uzi Vert (“Pump Up the Jam“), Jonas Brothers (“Mercy”), Big Freedia (“Goin’ Looney“), Lil Baby and Kirk Franklin on the lead single “We Win (Space Jam: A New Legacy)” and SAINt JHN and SZA on follow-up single “Just for Me.”

Space Jam: A New Legacy Official Soundtrack arrives in stores and on digital platforms on July 9, one week before the film’s July 16 release.

Here’s the full track list for Space Jam: A New Legacy Official Soundtrack:

Lil Baby & Kirk Franklin – “We Win (Space Jam: A New Legacy)”
24kGoldn feat. Lil Wayne – “Control the World”
Chance the Rapper feat. John Legend & Symba – “See Me Fly”
Saweetie feat. Salt-N-Pepa & Kash Doll – “Hoops”
Lil Uzi Vert – “Pump Up the Jam”
SAINt JHN feat. SZA – “Just for Me”
John Legend – “Crowd Go Crazy”
Jonas Brothers – “Mercy”
Lil Tecca & Aminé – “Gametime”
Dame D.O.L.L.A., G-Eazy, P-Lo & White Dave – “About That Time”
BROCKHAMPTON – “MVP”
Cordae & DUCKWRTH – “Settle the Score”
Big Freedia – “Goin’ Looney”
Joyner Lucas – “Shoot My Shot”
Leon Bridges – “My Guy”
Anthony Ramos – “The Best”

Anthony Ramos Teams Up with “In The Heights” Co-Stars Leslie Grace & Marc Anthony for New Single “Home All Summer”

Anthony Ramos has found his summer home

The 29-year-old Puerto Rican actor/singer and current In The Heights star has joined voices with his co-stars Leslie Grace and Marc Anthony have joined voices to release the new singleHome All Summer.”

Anthony Ramos

Ramos and Grace’s voices blend beautifully on the upbeat “Home All Summer,” Lin-Manuel Miranda‘s new song for the big screen adaptation of his Broadway hit In the Heights.

Just like the movie it hails from, it’s comforting, effortlessly charming, flawlessly executed and boasts a memorable Marc Anthony cameo. 

Dascha Polanco to Star in the NBC pilot “Dangerous Moms,” Based on Spanish Series “Señoras del (h)AMPA”

It’s a dangerous time for Dascha Polanco

The 38-year-old Dominican actress has been cast as a co-lead opposite Shanola Hampton in the NBC pilot Dangerous Moms, from Warner Bros. Television and Universal Television.

Dascha Polanco

Written by Janine Sherman Barrois and based on the Spanish series Señoras del (h)AMPA, Dangerous Moms is an off-center dark dramedy about four diverse mothers — two of them played by Hampton and Polanco — who accidentally kill the queen bee of their school’s PTA during the demonstration of a new high-end food processor.

The story becomes a female anthem about friendship and family as it tells the story of one completely unprepared group of women who must juggle their everyday lives while their worlds are turned upside down.

Polanco will play Pia, the impeccable nemesis of Monique (Hampton). Pia is the No. 1 salesperson for the state-of-the-art TurboThunder3000 food processor and a popular mommy blogger. She also is the landlord of a few apartment buildings in the community, which she hopes to gentrify.

Barrois executive produces with Rachel Kaplan, Intrigue Entertainment’s Tariq Jalil and Lucas Carter as well as Arantxa Écija from Mediaset España Comunicación and Santi Botello from Producciones Mandarina SL, who produced the original series.

Polanco, currently co-starring in Warner Bros. In the Heights, is best known for her work on Orange Is the New Black, for which she shared in three comedy ensemble SAG Awards.

She’s set to star in the upcoming MGM superhero thriller film Samaritan, opposite Sylvester Stallone, and will make her leading film role debut in Adrian Martinez’s indie dark comedy iGilbert.

Netflix Releases Trailer for Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Feature Directorial Debut “tick, tick…BOOM!”

Lin-Manuel Miranda is tickin’ ahead…

The first trailer has been released for tick, tick…BOOM!, directed by the 41-year-old Puerto Rican actor, singer, songwriter, rapper, director, producer, and playwright.

Lin-Manuel Miranda 

It’s a film adaptation of Jonathan Larson’s autobiographical pre-Rent musical.

Starring Andrew Garfield in the Larson-inspired lead role, Netflix’s tick, tick…BOOM! will hit the streaming service and theaters this fall.

Garfield plays Jon, a young theater composer who’s waiting tables at a New York City diner in 1990 while writing what he hopes will be the next great American musical. As described by Netflix: Days before he’s due to showcase his work in a make-or-break performance, Jon is feeling the pressure from everywhere: from his girlfriend Susan (Alexandra Shipp), who dreams of an artistic life beyond New York City; from his friend Michael (Robin de Jesús), who has moved on from his dream to a life of financial security. Amidst an artistic community being ravaged by the AIDS epidemic, Jon feels the clock ticking and faces the question everyone must reckon with: What are we meant to do with the time we have?

Larson would not live to see the success of his “next great American musical,” dying at age 35 on January 25, 1996, the morning of Rent’s first Off Broadway preview. The cause of death was an aortic aneurysm caused by undiagnosed Marfan’s Syndrome.

The trailer begins with Garfield singing “Boho Days,” a song from the earliest incarnations of tick, tick…BOOM! It was the title song when Larson first performed the musical as a one-man show in 1990.

The film, which also stars Joshua Henry, MJ Rodriguez, Bradley Whitford, Tariq Trotter, Judith Light and Vanessa Hudgens, will mark Miranda’s feature directorial debut.

In 2001, Miranda, then 21, was writing In The Heights when he attended an Off Broadway revival of tick, tick…BOOM! In 2014, Miranda, who would later say that Rent inspired him to begin writing musicals, portrayed Jon in a two-week Encores! production of tick, tick…BOOM!

The film adaptation of Miranda’s In The Heights, directed by Jon M. Chu, hit theaters and HBO Max today.

Ana Villafañe to Star in NBC’s Comedy Pilot “Night Court,” a Follow-Up to the Classic Legal Series

Ana Villafañe is holding court

The 32-year-old Cuban and Salvadoran American actress/singer has landed a series regular in NBC’s half-hour pilot Night Court.

Ana Villafañe

The project is a follow-up to the classic legal comedy series headlined and executive produced by The Big Bang TheoryMelissa Rauch, with the original series’ John Larroquette reprising his Emmy-winning role.

Written/executive produced by Dan Rubin based on the original series created by Reinhold Weege, the multi-camera Night Court centers on unapologetic optimist judge Abby Stone (Rauch), the daughter of the late Harry Stone, who follows in her father’s footsteps as she presides over the night shift of a Manhattan arraignment court and tries to bring order to its crew of oddballs and cynics, most notably former night court prosecutor Dan Fielding (Larroquette).

Villafañe will play Monica, the court’s assistant district attorney. Type A, superficial and tightly wound. Monica sees the night court as a stepping stone to bigger and better things. She’s above this place and all the people in it, but it’s a good way to get some courtroom experience under her belt. It’s all part of her plan to land a job at one of the big firms. Thirty will be here before she knows it and if she’s not wildly successful by then…well it’s best not to think about it.

Villafañe is recurring on the final season of Younger, which streams on Paramount+.

She has also recurred on two NBC/Universal Television series, drama New Amsterdam and comedy Sunnyside.

On stage, Villafañe originated the role of Gloria Estefan in the Broadway production of On Your Feet and starred throughout the musical’s entire 2014-2017 run, winning the 2015 Theatre World Award for Best Actress.

She later starred as Nina Rosario in the Kennedy Center’s 2018 production of In the Heights and made her off-Broadway debut in MCC’s Collective Rage: A Play in Five Betties in 2018. She is a two-time Drama League Award nominee for On Your Feet and Collective Rage.

Justina Machado to Star in Amazon Studios’ Pilot “The Horror of Dolores Roach”

It’s a scary time for Justina Machado

Amazon Studios has given a formal pilot order to The Horror of Dolores Roach, starring the 48-year-0ld Puerto Rican actress.

Justina Machado

Based on the hit Gimlet podcast and written and directed by podcast creator Aaron Mark, The Horror of Dolores Roach originally was developed by Mark as a one-woman play starring Daphne Rubin-Vega.

It’s a grotesque Sweeney Todd-inspired tale of eat or be eaten — a macabre urban legend of love, betrayal, weed, gentrification, cannibalism and survival of the fittest.

“Magic Hands” Dolores Roach (Machado) is released from prison after 16 years and returns to a severely gentrified Washington Heights with $200 and the clothes on her back. With her boyfriend missing, her family long gone and her apartment now occupied by strangers, Dolores finds respite in the dilapidated storefront Empanada Loca around the corner — the only remnant of her former life.

Roxann Dawson is attached to direct and executive produce the pilot, which has been casting for the past four months. The project, in development at Amazon since 2020, hails from Blumhouse Television, which won the rights to adapt the podcast in 2019 in a competitive situation, and Spotify.

Mark penned the pilot script and will executive produce alongside Home Before Dark co-creator Dara Resnik and Rubin-Vega. Jason Blum, Chris McCumber and Jeremy Gold of Blumhouse Television and Chris Giliberti and Justin McGoldrick of Spotify also will executive produce.

Machado most recently starred in the One Day at a Time reimagining, garnering multiple award nominations and winning two Imagen Awards for her role.

She previously shared in a SAG Award for her role in the Emmy-winning HBO series Six Feet Under.

Her other television credits include Jane the Virgin and Queen of the South.

Her work in film includes Blumhouse Productions’ The Purge: Anarchy, Netflix’s All Together Now and the indie Pedro.

On stage, Machado made her Broadway debut in the Tony-winning musical In the Heights, created by and starring Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Melissa Barrera to Star in the Netflix Survival Drama Series “Breathe”

Will Melissa Barrera make it through the wilderness?

The 30-year-old Mexican actress and singer has been cast as the lead in BreatheNetflix’s one-hour drama series from Blindspot creator Martin Gero and writer-executive producer Brendan Gall, and Warner Bros. Television.

Melissa Barrera

Barrera, who rose to acclaim in Starz’s Latinx series Vida, will portray a lone woman who must battle the elements and odds to survive after her plane crashes in the middle of the Canadian wilderness.

Barrera’s Eve is a razor-sharp Manhattan attorney who finds herself profoundly out of her comfort zone when her plane crashes and she must battle for survival.

Gero executive produces via his Quinn’s House production company, along with Gall. Warner Bros. Television is the studio.

Barrera most recently starred as co-lead Lyn in Tanya Saracho’s Vida, which aired for three seasons on Starz.

She next stars in In the Heights, the feature adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony-winning musical, and also will be seen in a key role in the upcoming Scream 5.

She recently wrapped Sony Pictures Classics’ Carmen, the modern-day reimagining of the classic opera.