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Nene Leakes makes Broadway debut in Cinderella tonight

Tom Millward
Tom Millward

'Glee' and 'The Real Housewives of Atlanta' TV star Nene Leakes makes her Broadway debut tonight, when she replaces The View's Sherri Shepherd as the wicked stepmother, Madame, in the company of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella, at the Broadway Theatre. She will continue in the production until its final performance on 3 January 2015.

Nene Leakes is perhaps best known as a Reality TV star on Bravo's 'The Real Housewives of Atlanta', as well as playing the recurring character of Coach Roz Washington in Fox's musical comedy series 'Glee'. She has also appeared as Rocky on 'The New Normal', and in the BET comedies 'The Game' and 'Let's Stay Together'. This year, she also became the first ever celebrity cast member to join the Cirque du Soleil, as she performed in the company's 'Zumanity' show in Las Vegas.

Cinderella is currently in its second year on Broadway and last month celebrated its 600th performance on Saturday 9 August 2014. The production opened at the Broadway Theatre on 3 March 2013, following previews from 25 January.

The current cast of Cinderella features Keke Palmer as Cinderella, Joe Carroll as Prince Topher, NeNe Leakes as Madame, Judy Kaye as the Fairy Godmother, Ann Harada as stepsister Charlotte, Stephanie Gibson as stepsister Gabrielle, Peter Bartlett as Sebastian, Prince Topher's mentor and Lord Chancellor, Todd Buonopane as the rebel Jean-Michel and Phumzile Sojola as Lord Pinkleton.

Cinderella features music by Richard Rodgers and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, with a new book by Douglas Carter Beane adapted from the original book by Oscar Hammerstein II. The musical opened to mixed reviews: Glittery patchwork of a show (NY Times); Crowd-pleasing family entertainment (Hollywood Reporter); A solid and congenial framework for Rodgers and Hammerstein's wonderful songs (Record).

Douglas Carter Beane's new book for Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella re-charts the journey of the tale's maid-turned-princess: with pumpkin, glass slippers, fairy godmother and other classic story elements intact, it is now Cinderella's turn to rescue the Prince. In addition to musical numbers from the original score, including 'In My Own Little Corner,' 'Impossible/It's Possible,' 'Ten Minutes Ago' and 'Do I Love You Because You're Beautiful?,' this new production will include several songs from the Rodgers & Hammerstein trunk.

The musical is being produced on Broadway by Robyn Goodman, Jill Furman, Stephen Kocis, Edward Walson, Venetian Glass Productions, The Araca Group, Luigi Caiola & Rose Caiola, Roy Furman, Walt Grossman, Peter May/Sanford Robertson, Glass Slipper Productions/Eric Schmidt, Ted Liebowitz/James Spry, and Blanket Fort Productions, in association with Center Theatre Group.

- by Tom Millward

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