Friday, August 12, 2016

Short Takes on Miss Saigon, Vanessa Hudgens, Hailee Steinfeld, MindyKaling & Awkwafina

Eva Noblezada stars in the new Miss Saigon production.

Jon Jon Briones

Miss Saigon returns to Broadway
to introduce two new talents

MISS SAIGON, the smash 1989 musical that introduced Lea Salonga to the world is returning to Broadway. A new star may be in the making when the New York critics discover 30-year old newcomer Eva Noblezada playing the role that Salonga made famous. The production is moving from a successful run in London where Filipina/American Noblezada took over the role when she was only 17. From Charlotte, North Carolina, she will be joined by her London castmate, Filipino/American Jon Jon Briones. Born and raised in the Philippines, Briones has won accolades for his portrayal of the Engineer. Miss Saigon, which takes place in Saigon during the Vietnam War, will have a heavily Asian/American cast and should help continue efforts to diversify Broadway's stages. The show's producer, Cameron Mackintosh, announced that the revival will be housed in the Broadway Theater, where the show began its original Broadway run in 1991. Mackintosh also noted that the limited production will only be running until January 2018, and will then tour throughout North America. Previews will begin on March 1, with opening night scheduled for March 23.

Vanessa Hudgens will star in super hero comedy series

Vanessa Hudgens returns to TV
VANESSA HUDGENS is staging a return to series television. The High School Musical  star has signed on to star in an NBC comedy pilot titled Powerless – about regular people living in a world of annoyingly powerful superheroes. The show is set at “one of the worst insurance companies in America — with the twist being that it also takes place in the universe of DC Comics. The show is about the reality of working life for a normal, powerless person in a world of superheroes and villains.” Hudgens will star as the ordinary human Emily Locke, an “insurance claims adjuster who loves her job because she gets to help people. Emily likes to fly under the radar and just get her work done. She finds herself increasingly exasperated by the disruptive antics of the various superheroes that proliferate in her city.” The stills from the show is confusing showing "ordinary" Emily and another version in which she wears a superhero-looking costume. Is that latter shot a spoiler of what's to come?

Hailee Steinfeld has a new movie coming

AS COMING-OF-AGE stories go, The Edge of Seventeen starring one of the busiest actresses in Hollywood, Hailee Steinfeld, looks like it’ll be following in the recent footsteps of The Duff, delivering a smart (and smart-mouthed) look at the complications, conflicts, and crisis of an outsider girl’s attempts to figure out who she is and what she wants in the years preceding college ala Breakfast Club, Pretty In Pink and American Graffitti. It also seems like an ideal lead role for Filipina/American Steinfeld, who on the basis of the film’s debut promo, will get plenty of opportunities to exhibit the same sort of feisty attitude that marked her breakout role in the Coen brothers’ True Grit. The Edge of Seventeen premieres in theaters on Sept. 30. This is 19-year old's second film to premier this year. Term Life with Vince Vaughn was released in January. On top of it all, this month's Seventeen magazine's cover features ... who else?

Mindy Kaling and Awkwafina join 'Ocean's Eight' cast

OCEANS EIGHT, the upcoming all-female spinoff of Ocean's 11 will have loads of star power and one of the most racially diverse casts gathered for a single movie. Mindy Kaling and Nora Lum -- aka rapper/comedian Awkwafina -- joins a heavyweight cast including Academy Award-winning actresses Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway and Sandra Bullock, Helena Boham Carter who was nominated for Oscars twice and super pop star Rihanna.
Casting is still going on, and there's no hint who the the eight member will be. Ealing, we know is the creator and star of Hulu's The Mindy Project, but Awkwafina is not as well known outside of the Asian/American community. She is not your Asian woman fetish or Dragon Lady, far from it. A Chinese-Korean-American rapper, comedian and TV personality, she is one of those Asian artists who has gained a following in the digital world. Her debut comedy rap track “My Vag” when viral in 2012.