Arts Briefs

Disney has announced the cast for the upcoming live-action version of The Lion King, which comes during the month of the Broadway musical’s 20th anniversary. Joining Donald Glover, who will play the voice of Simba, are Beyoncé, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Alfre Woodard, Seth Rogen, John Oliver, Eric Andre and others. James Earl Jones will reprise his role as Mufasa.

Grammy award-winning singer and songwriter Jason Mraz is joining the company of Sara Bareilles’ Broadway musical Waitress for a limited 10-week engagement. Mraz will portray Dr. Jim Pomatter, the new gynecologist in town who offers local diner employee and baker Jenna, currently played by Betsy Wolfe, an escape from her abusive marriage.

Country artist Kenny Chesney debuts at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with his new album Live In No Shoes Nation, scoring a total of eight number ones. Chesney sold 219,000 copies, most of which were traditional album sales — proving that there is still space for CDs in the digital world of streaming. Kelly Clarkson scores her eighth top 10 album, as her newest work Meaning of Life bows on No. 2. Chris Brown’s new 45-track double album Heartbreak on a Full Moon closes the pedestal at No. 3, giving Brown his ninth total and consecutive top 10 album.

The Boys in the Band, a play about a group of gay men assembling in a New York City apartment for their friend’s birthday, will return to Broadway on its 50th anniversary. A piece of theater that was considered a landmark of LGBTQ representation, The Boys in the Band is written by Mart Crowley and will be produced by “American Horror Story” showrunner Ryan Murphy. The play will star Zachary Quinto, Andrew Rannells, Jim Parsons and Matt Bomer — all of who are open and influential gay men.

Tony award winner Kelli O’Hara will lead the Roundabout Theatre Company’s revival of the 1948 musical Kiss Me Kate, based on the Shakespeare play The Taming of the Shrew. Directed by Scott Ellis, the production is expected to open in February 2019.

Disney and Marvel's new superhero film Thor: Ragnarok picked off the 2017 holiday movie season in powerful grip, debuting with over $120 million as the Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to fill theaters. STX's A Bad Moms Christmas is second at the box office, bringing in over $20 million from its five-day start, but it is the road ahead that will tell of its success as it hopes to play well into the holiday season. Jigsaw finishes up third with almost $6 million in its second week.

One of New York City’s most progressive, vibrant and experimental art venues, Performance Space 122, will return to its original location in the East Village after six years of travelling from place to place while the organization’s building was renovated. A home to many visual arts, dance and theater events, Performance Space 122 will be led by new artistic director Jenny Schlenzka, whose next biggest task is the organization’s 13th annual Coil Festival in January.