Marc Shaiman to Score "Ventura Boulevard" Film Project with Jenifer Lewis and Debbie Allen

By Adam Hetrick
29 Jan 2014

Jenifer Lewis
Jenifer Lewis

Multi-award winner Debbie Allen is collaborating with actress Jenifer Lewis on "Ventura Boulevard," a comedic film homage to the Billy Wilder classic "Sunset Boulevard," which will feature a score by Tony Award winner Marc Shaiman, according to IndieWire.

Akin to Wilder's faded silent film star Norma Desmond, Lewis will star as an R&B diva attempting to make a comeback after years in obscurity. Mark Alton Brown and Dee LaDuke, who also wrote Lewis' "Jackie's Back!," are attached to write the script for "Ventura Boulevard." Allen will direct.

Shaiman previously collaborated with Lewis on "Jackie's Back!" in 1999, along with his Tony-winning co-writer Scott Wittman.

"Ventura Boulevard," according to IndieWire, casts Lewis as the ex-queen of 1970's blaxploitation films who manipulates a young, white screenwriter to pen a screen return for her.



"I am taking things into my own hands by producing 'Ventura Boulevard,'" Lewis told IndieWire. "The Hollywood establishment isn't going to finance a movie about a middle-aged African-American diva who deceives and beds a young white man."

Lewis will produce along with Nathan Hale Williams and Carol Ann Shine.

"Ventura Boulevard" is in development for a 2015 release.

Lewis, who played the role of Motormouth Maybelle in Broadway's Hairspray, has also been seen in Rock 'n Roll! The First 5,000 Years; Comin' Uptown; and Eubie! Her film and television credits include "Jackie's Back," "Strong Medicine," "What's Love Got to Do With It," "Beaches," "Cars" and "The Princess and the Frog." Visit her page at the Playbill Vault.