In the News: Ali Stroker Live in Concert, Viola Davis Wins Palm Springs Award | Playbill

Streaming In the News: Ali Stroker Live in Concert, Viola Davis Wins Palm Springs Award Plus: HBO Watchmen director Nicole Kassell will helm a new film adaptation of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
Ali Stroker and Viola Davis

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

Ali Stroker in Concert at Kean Stage
Kean Stage will present An Evening With Ali Stroker, an intimate concert streaming live from Kean University's Enlow Recital Hall February 27 at 7:30 PM ET. The Tony Award-winning performer will present songs from the Great American Songbook with composers including Lin-Manuel Miranda, Stephen Sondheim, Carole King, Stephen Schwartz, Rodgers and Hammerstein, and more. In addition to her 2019 Best Featured Actress in a Musical Tony Award for her work as Ado Annie in the revival of Oklahoma!, Stroker made history when she became the first performer in a wheelchair on Broadway in Deaf West's 2015 Spring Awakening revival. The live streamed concert will include ASL interpretation and live captioning. For tickets to the one-night-only event, visit

Viola Davis Will Receive Palm Springs Award for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
The Palm Springs International Film Awards will award Tony and Oscar winner Viola Davis the Desert Palm Achievement Award for her performance as Ma Rainey in the Netflix stage-to-screen adaptation of August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. The star joins this year’s previously announced honorees Tony winner Leslie Odom, Jr. (Spotlight Award for One Night in Miami…) and Tony nominee Carey Mulligan (International Star Award for Promising Young Woman), among others. Palm Springs’ annual film festival and awards gala will not take place this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the honorees will be featured in an Entertainment Tonight tribute, airing February 11 (check local listings).

Nicole Kassell to Direct New Film Adaptation of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
After an extensive search for a director, Nicole Kassell has been chosen to helm a new film adaptation of Frank L. Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Deadline reports. Impressed with her world-building for the HBO series Watchmen, for which Kassell won an Emmy as executive producer, New Line, along with producers Marc Platt, and Temple Hill partners Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey were eager to have Kassell re-imagine the classic novel. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was published in 1900, so it is now public domain, and 1939 film The Wizard of Oz starring Judy Garland is part of the Warner Bros. library. Since New Line is a Warner Bros. label, the new adaptation will be able to draw inspiration from that film as well, using elements that may appear in the film that were not in the original source the ruby slippers.

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