Black History Month Dreamcast: An All-Black Revival of Next To Normal

Last updated February 1st, 2021 by BroadwayBox Staff
Black History Month Dreamcast: An All-Black Revival of Next…

Photo by Emilio Madrid

To kick off our Black History Month Dreamcast Series for 2021, BroadwayBox will shine a spotlight on the immensely talented African American artists working in musical theatre by reimagining four more revivals in the tradition of Pearl Bailey's Hello, Dolly!

In November 1967, producer David Merrick opened an all-black production of Jerry Herman’s Hello, Dolly! starring Pearl Bailey as Dolly and Cab Calloway as Horace. The musical received rave reviews and Pearl Bailey was awarded a special Tony Award for her performance as Dolly—they even released a cast recording with the new company.

In most big revivals on Broadway, potentially one principal character is played by a black actor, but these dream revivals feature casts of black Tony Award winners, nominees, and breakout stars.

Let's begin with the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Drama winning musical Next To Normal.

Diana: LaChanze

We would be completely remiss in thanking Second Stage Theater for bringing this dreamcast to life in September. Tony Award winner LaChanze would be a terrific Diana opposite her Tony Award nominated daughter Celia Rose Gooding. LaChanze has captivated Broadway for years in The Color Purple, Once On This Island and Summer to name a few.

Dan: Quentin Earl Darrington

When we thought of LaChanze, we thought Once On This Island and then the recent revival's brilliant Agwe, Quentin! We can totally see him as a grounding presence opposite LaChanze's Diana.

Henry: Roman Wellington Banks

The Dear Evan Hansen and High School Musical The Musical: The Series would be such a charming Henry with vocals that simply cannot be beat. We would love to hear his "Perfect For You."

Natalie: Celia Rose Gooding

We can see this casting clear as day. Celia has proven her acting chops as Frankie in Jagged Little Pill with stellar musical talent to match. Opposite her mother LaChanze, it would be pure magic.

Dr. Madden/ Dr. Fine: Derrick Baskin

The incredible Tony Award nominated star of Ain't Too Proud Derrick Baskin has played a great variety of characters on Broadway, we could see him stepping into these doctor roles with ease making each one his very own.

Gabe: Bradley Gibson

Dreamcasting Gabe was immediate as we could never forget Bradley's passionate performance of "Endless Night." Bradley would shine so brightly on Gabe's "I'm Alive" - we have no doubt.