Broadway baby Andrea McArdle may be the next star of Broadway's Beauty and the Beast. Show spokesman Chris Boneau told Playbill On-Line (Jan. 5) that producers and McArdle are in negotiations and a deal looks close. McArdle would success pop diva Toni Braxton as Belle. Braxton is scheduled to leave the show Feb. 28, 1999.
McArdle was last on Broadway in the musical State Fair . She continues to be best known for creating the title role in Annie. McArdle, a theatre veteran, would follow in the footsteps of two pop singers-turned-actresses: Braxton, who gave her first performance on Sept. 9; and Deborah Gibson. (Kim Huber played Belle between Gibson's and Braxton's tenures.)
Braxton is the recipient of five Grammy awards. Her albums have sold more than 20 million copies worldwide. Braxton's hit songs include "Love Shoulda Brought You Home," "Unbreak My Heart," and "How Could an Angel Break My Heart." Gibson wrote and sung such teen hits as "Foolish Beat" before turning to the stage.