Breaking Bway Barriers

A friend of mine tells a story about a dinner theatre in Fresno where they had a production of Evita – presumably with dinner.  There was a rotating cast, and one person stood out.  Eventually people would buy tickets to see the “Black Evita” – who happened to be a 16-year-old Audra McDonald.  It was somewhat unusual to have an Evita of Color in the mid-‘80s.  But Broadway may get to see Audra break another color barrier.  Rumors are flying about that McDonald will turn up in a revival of Gypsy next season (it should be noted that Audra reportedly played a minor role in Gypsy as a kid – also in Fresno).  While everyone always talks about how often Gypsy is revived, it should be noted that the last Broadway production took place in 2008 – helmed by Patti LuPone.  That said, I saw another revival slightly more recently – and starring a Mama Rose of ColorLeslie Uggams led Gypsy at the Connecticut Repertory Theatre in Hartford back in 2014.  What I found more jarring was that Uggams was 71 years old at the time.

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