Although no official announcement has been made, sources close to the Tony Award-winning show say Uggams will play the role beginning in mid-April, when Sheryl Lee Ralph, who originated the part at the Marquis Theatre, takes some time off.
Uggams won Best Actress (Musical) Tony for the 1968 musical, Hallelujah, Baby!, and has performed in concert, on stage and in TV over the years. In Millie, she'll play the wealthy friend and confidant of the title character and gets to sing Jeanine Tesori and Dick Scanlan's ode to Manhattan, "Only in New York" (to say nothing of the choice monologue she gets in Act Two when advising the love-sick Millie).
News of Uggams' casting heralds a spring filled with casting shifts at Millie. Ken Leung, who originated the role of Ching Ho, is the first principal to leave the original troupe. He exits March 30. Gavin Creel is expected to leave the role of Jimmy in spring, though no official announcements have been made for exits or replacements thus far.
Thoroughly Modern Millie, inspired by the film of the same name, is directed by Michael Mayer. It won 2002 Tonys for Best Musical, Best Actress (Musical) for Sutton Foster, Best Featured Actress (Musical) for Harriet Harris, Best Costume Design (Martin Pakledinaz), Best Choreography (Rob Ashford) and Best Orchestrations (Douglas Besterman and the late Ralph Burns).