Lindsay Mendez to Star in Off-Broadway Revival of “Merrily We Roll Along”

Lindsay Mendez is rolling along

The 39-year-old half-Mexican American actress, singer and Broadway star has been cast in the highly anticipated off-Broadway revival of Merrily We Roll Along.

Mendez will play Mary and Jonathan Groff will play Franklin in the project, which will begin previews at New York Theatre Workshop on November 21 ahead of an official opening night on December 12.

The run is scheduled through January 8.

With a score by Stephen Sondheim and book by George FurthMerrily We Roll Along is based on a play by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart, and features classic songs like “Old Friends,” “Not a Day Goes By,” and “Our Time.”

It tells the story of a trio of creative friends making their way in New York, and is famously told in reverse chronology.

Mendez won the “triple crown” (Tony, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle Awards) for her performance in the 2018 Broadway revival of Carousel.

Mendez and Groff join the previously announced Daniel Radcliffe, who stars as Charley.

Presented in a special arrangement with Sonia Friedman Productions, the Menier Chocolate Factory (Artistic Director David Babani), and Patrick CatulloMerrily We Roll Along will be directed by Maria Friedman and choreographed by Tim Jackson.

The creative team for Merrily We Roll Along will include Catherine Jayes as music supervisor and Alvin Hough, Jr. as music director, with scenic & costume design by Soutra Gilmour, lighting design by Amith Chandrashaker, and sound design by Kai Harada.

Dave Anzuelo will serve as fight & intimacy director, with Jhanaë K-C Bonnick as stage manager.

Tickets will go on sale to the general public on Wednesday, September 21, at noon ET.

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.

Kate del Castillo Signs with Buchwald

Kate del Castillo has new representation…

The 49-year-old Mexican actress and telenovela star has signed with Buchwald.

Kate del Castillo

del Castillo stars in Telemundo’s hit drama La Reina del Sur.

One of the highest rated Spanish-language series in the world, La Reina del Sur adapts the bestseller by Spanish novelist Arturo Perez-Reverte. In the crime drama, which recently wrapped filming for Season 3, del Castillo plays Teresa Mendonza, a woman from Mexico who becomes the most powerful drug trafficker in southern Spain.

Castillo recently completed a two-series deal with Telemundo. Her production company, Cholawood, has a first-look development deal with Boomdog, the Mexico City-based division of Endemol Shine North America.

The actress starred opposite Will Smith as the villain in Sony’s Bad Boys for Life, also recently featuring on NBC’s sitcom Mr. Mayor, from creators Tina Fey and Robert Carlock, and the Netflix animated series Maya and the Three, created by Jorge R. Gutiérrez.

She rose to acclaim in America with her performance in Fox Searchlight’s Under the Same Moon, which is one of the highest-grossing Spanish-language theatrical releases in U.S. history, and has also featured in such films as BordertownNo Good Deed and All About Nina.

del Castillo has also appeared in series including PBSGolden Globe and Emmy-nominated drama American Family, The CW’s Jane the Virgin and Showtime’s Weeds, among others. Her one-woman Off-Broadway show, The Way She Spoke, made her the first Latina actress to earn Drama Desk, Drama League and Lucille Lortel Award nominations.

A philanthropist and outspoken global activist, del Castillo was appointed Ambassador for the Mexican Commission on Human Rights to combat human trafficking in 2009.

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

Lin-Manuel Miranda is readying for a BOOM’in release…

Netflix has released the trailer, key art and the first single from the film’s official soundtrack entitled “30/90” for tick, tick…BOOM!the film directed by the 41-year-old Puerto Rican Tony Award-winning talent behind the hit musicals Hamilton and In The Heights.

Lin-Manuel Miranda

An adaptation of Jonathan Larson’s autobiographical pre-Rent musical, the film stars Andrew Garfield as Larson.

Netflix’s tick, tick…BOOM! will premiere in theaters on November 12, 2021 and will hit streaming a week later on November 19th.

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, of course, would not live to see the success of his “next great American musical,” dying at age 35 on Januaruy 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 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!

tick, tick…BOOM!, with a screenplay by Steven Levenson based on Larson’s musical and choreography by Ryan Heffington.

 

The first single from the film’s official soundtrack entitled “30/90” is available here. Performed by Garfield and featuring additional vocals by Henry, Hudgens, Rodriguez, Shipp and de Jesús, the track is the lead offering from the full soundtrack of music written by Jonathan Larson as heard in the film

 

The first single from the film’s official soundtrack entitled “30/90” is available here. Performed by Garfield and featuring additional vocals by Henry, Hudgens, Rodriguez, Shipp and de Jesús, the track is the lead offering from the full soundtrack of music written by Jonathan Larson as heard in the film.

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.

Melissa Navia to Star in Paramount+’s New Original Series “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds”

Melissa Navia is ready to trek around the universe…

The Colombian-American actor, writer, and stand-up comedian has joined the cast of Paramount+’s upcoming new original series Star Trek: Strange New Worlds as production officially gets underway in Toronto.

Melissa Navia

Navia joins a cast of series regulars that includes Babs Olusanmokun, Christina Chong, Celia Rose Gooding and Jess Bush.

The series is based on the years Captain Christopher Pike manned the helm of the U.S.S. Enterprise.

Navia and the gang join previously announced cast members Ethan Peck, Anson Mount and Rebecca Romijn, who will be reprising their roles from Season 2 of Star Trek: Discovery.

The Strange New Worlds‘ premiere episode is written by Star Trek: Picard EP Akiva Goldsman from a story the Oscar winner wrote with Alex Kurtzman and fellow EP Jenny Lumet. Goldsman and Henry Alonso Myers serve as co-showrunners, with Goldsman directing the premiere episode.

The series is distributed by ViacomCBS Global Distribution Group.

Navia’s recent television credits include a recurring role on AMC’s Dietland and guest roles on Showtime’s Billions and Homeland.

In March 2020, she made her Off-Broadway debut in the praised Bundle of Sticks at INTAR Theatre.

Gregory Diaz IV Signs with United Talent Agency (UTA)

Gregory Diaz IV has new representation…

The 15-year-old Puerto Rican actor, who stars in Jon Chu’s upcoming Warner Bros. feature musical In The Heights, has signed with United Talent Agency (UTA).

Gregory Diaz IV

Diaz previously appeared on Netflix’s Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and NBC’s New Amsterdam.

Diaz made his name on Broadway with his performance as Bruce in Matilda the Musical in 2016 and also performed Off-Broadway in Pedro PanZurich and You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.

He plays Sonny de la Vega in In the Heights, which is based on the musical by Quiara Alegria Hudes and Lin-Manuel Miranda. The film is scheduled for release in June 2021.

Diaz can also be seen in upcoming comedy film Vampires vs. the Bronx, written and directed by Oz Rodriguez and produced by Lorne Michaels.