Danielle Brooks, the Orange Is the New Black alum who received a Tony nomination for her performance as Sofia in the 2015 revival of The Color Purple, will play the late gospel singer Mahalia Jackson in an upcoming film for Lifetime, according to TV Line.
Tony winner Kenny Leon (A Raisin in the Sun, Fences) will direct Robin Roberts Presents: The Mahalia Jackson Story.
The New Orleans-born Jackson, one of the most significant gospel artists in U.S. history, was an active participant in the Civil Rights movement. Her recording of “Move on Up a Little Higher” sold millions of copies, and she performed in front of racially integrated audiences at John F. Kennedy’s inaugural ball and Carnegie Hall as well as in the 1963 March on Washington alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. She died in January 1972.
Brooks, also an executive producer of Broadway's Ain't Too Proud, won three Screen Actors Guild Awards for her work in the Netflix series Orange Is the New Black, and has also been seen on Master of None, Sadie, I Dream Too Much, High Maintenance, and Girls. Leon previously directed Brooks in the 2019 Shakespeare in the Park production of Much Ado About Nothing.