The Real Housewives of Atlanta and Glee star NeNe Leakes makes her Broadway debut this fall as the wicked stepmother Madame in the Tony-winning production of Cinderella, and she is wonderful. Seeing her opposite Keke Palmer and Joe Carroll was like watching the show again for the first time. Below are just four of the times we were LIVING for Leakes’ Madame.
1. ‘A Lovely Night’
If Broadway stars had a reel, NeNe would put this scene on hers because in her hands, it’s the highlight of the entire musical. Seeing her dancing with her shoulders at the piano and imagining the ball alongside the three actresses playing her daughters had the audience in stitches—with bursts of mid-song applause springing up around the Broadway Theatre.
2. The Disowning of Gabrielle
No T, no shade to the other Madames, but NeNe is the first actress to make that scene actually heartbreaking. Maybe it’s because she’s not looking for laughs; she just wants to show what this mother would go through in that moment, and it’s her finest acting of the evening.
3. ‘The Prince is Giving a Ball’ Stage Business
This is one of the biggest numbers in the show—there’s a major dance sequence and practically all the characters are in it—but NeNe manages to upstage them all with the most amusing stage business happening. Her squinting to read the invitation is a GIF that plays in our head on the daily.
4. Her Playing Ridicule at the Ball
Not since Paris Is Burning has someone been so versed in the art of reading, so to see NeNe put her skills to work in the ball scene is almost like a wink to her TV fans.
See NeNe Leakes in ‘Cinderella’ at the Broadway Theatre through January 3, 2015.