In the News: Christiani Pitts Joins Netflix Rom-Com From Alicia Keys, Wicked Stars Sing for Jerad Bortz, More | Playbill

Industry News In the News: Christiani Pitts Joins Netflix Rom-Com From Alicia Keys, Wicked Stars Sing for Jerad Bortz, More Plus: Liesl Tommy and Lea Delaria will head the ACLU and NYCLU's upcoming Sing Out for Freedom.
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Christiani Pitts Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Read on for some recent theatre headlines you may have missed in today's news.

Christiani Pitts Joins Netflix Rom-Com From Alicia Keys
King Kong star Christiani Pitts has been cast in an untitled Netflix romantic comedy produced by singer-songwriter Alicia Keys. Deadline reports Karen Obilom, Alexander Hodge, TJ Power, Sylvaine Strike, Jeryl Prescott, and Tymberlee Hill will join Pitts on screen. The performers round out a star-studded lineup with Christina Milian, Jay Pharoah, and Sinqua Wall already on the roster. Steven Tsuchida will direct with a screenplay by Dana Schmalenberg and Rheeqrheeq Chainey.

Stephanie J. Block and Annaleigh Ashford
Stephanie J. Block and Annaleigh Ashford Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Wicked Stars and More Sing Out for Jerad Bortz on New Album
A host of Broadway favorites will sing out on Thankful, a new album to help raise funds for The Actors Fund, Canine Companions for Independence, and the ongoing medical needs for Jerad Bortz, a Broadway veteran who was paralyzed from the chest down following a 2018 car accident. Among those taking part are Tony winners Stephanie J. Block, Annaleigh Ashford, Norbert Leo Butz, Ben Vereen, Beth Leavel, and Ali Stroker, Tony nominees Alex Brightman, Liz Callaway, Christopher Jackson, Andy Karl, Megan Hilty, and Norm Lewis, and Shoshana Bean, Breedlove, Lisa Brescia, Gaelen Gilliland, Jin Ha, Cheyenne Jackson, Julia Murney, Q. Smith, Steven Skeels, Marty Thomas, Katie Thompson, Ryan Vasquez, Ann VanCleave, and Bortz himself. Many are fellow castmates of his, with his credits including Wicked and Mamma Mia!. The album, from Lynn Pinto of Rock-It Science Records, will drop November 27.

Mean Girls’ Renée Rapp and The Book of Mormon’s Alyah Chanelle Scott to Lead New Series From Mindy Kaling
Renée Rapp (Regina George in Broadway's Mean Girls), and Alyah Chanelle Scott (Nabulungi in The Book of Mormon’s national tour) will lead a new HBO Max comedy series The Sex Lives of College Girls, co-starring Pauline Chalamet and Amrit Kaur. The series, co-written by Mindy Kaling and Justin Noble, will see the foursome as roommates at a prestigious New England college, with Rapp playing Leighton, a fourth-generation legacy student from a rich (and secretly Republican) family hailing from New York’s Upper East Side; and Scott as Whitney, an rising star athlete and daughter to an influential Black senator.

Sound Bites Festival Selections to be Released in New Book
Theatre Now will release The 10-Minute Musical, an anthology compiled from 25 competitors in the annual Sound Bites Festival, November 1. Among those included are Book Lovers by Talaura Harms and Jonathan Bauerfeld; Pellets, Cherries, and Lies: The Pac Man Story by Erik Przytulski; and Run This Town by Cindy Sideris and Assaf Gleizner. In addition to music, lyrics, and production notes for each short musical, the book features a foreword by NY1 chief theatre critic Roma Torre. Click here for more information.

Liesl Tommy and Lea Delaria Tapped for Sing Out for Freedom
The ACLU and NYCLU will present Sing Out for Freedom—a virtual version of the annual concert formerly known as Broadway Stands Up for Freedom—November 2 at 6:30 PM. Tony nominee Liesl Tommy (Eclipsed, the upcoming Aretha Franklin biopic Respect) will direct, with Obie winner Lea DeLaria serving as emcee. Performers and more will be announced at a later date.

Cast of Conscience Will Reunite in Virtual Production
Tony winner Harriet Harris, Lee Sellars, Mark Junek, and Cathryn Wake will reunite for a virtual reading of Joe DiPietro’s Conscience October 27–30. The world premiere play, surrounding Senator Margaret Chase Smith’s famous “Declaration of Conscious” speech, was shuttered by the pandemic in March just days after it opened at the George Street Playhouse ini New Jersey. Click here for tickets.

Jason Suran Will Present Reconnected Online
The mentalist and performer brings a virtual adaptation of his new show, Reconnected, this fall, with previews every Friday and Saturday at 8:30 PM ET on Zoom, beginning October 16 ahead of a November 14 opening. The piece is an intimate and interactive experience where acts of mind-reading and immersive elements meet. The production will move to an in-person presentation when safe to do so. Reconnected is written and performed by Jason Suran, who created the piece in collaboration with Adam Rei Siegel, and features graphic design by Remy Kass, Emily Murtaugh and Matt Rinehart and technical direction by William O’ Connell and Rob Auten. Siegel and Carl Moellenberg are producers. Click here for tickets.

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