In the News: Billy Porter to Direct LGBTQ+ Coming-of-Age Film, Jane Krakowski Will Host Revamped Name That Tune, More | Playbill

Film & TV News In the News: Billy Porter to Direct LGBTQ+ Coming-of-Age Film, Jane Krakowski Will Host Revamped Name That Tune, More Plus, Raúl Esparza, Ron Cephas Jones, and more are set for free Shakespeare readings.
Billy Porter and Jane Krakowski

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

Tony Winner Billy Porter to Direct LGBTQ+ Coming-of-Age Movie
Tony and Emmy winner Billy Porter is set to direct What If?, an LGBTQ+ coming-of-age movie with a screenplay by Alvaro García Lecuona. Deadline reports the film follows high school senior KHAL, who posts on Reddit about his crush on Kelsa, a trans girl at school. The internet encourages him to go for it and, soon, the two are navigating a relationship neither anticipated. What If? is the first film to relaunch the Orion Pictures banner, which produced comedies like Caddyshack and Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure along with Best Picture Oscar winners The Silence of the Lambs and Dances With Wolves.

Tony Winner Jane Krakowski Will Host New Version of Name That Tune
Tony winner Jane Krakowski (Nine, She Loves Me) will host a new version of the classic TV game show Name That Tune for Fox. Created by Harry Salter, the one-hour game show tests contestants’ music knowledge, as they battle it out in an assortment of musical games for cash and prizes. Grammy winner Randy Jackson (American Idol) will serve as band leader for the series, which launches January 6, 2021, at 9 PM ET.

Lucie Jones, Rosalie Craig, Cedric Neal, More Set for Monday Night at the Apollo Concert Series
Monday Night at the Apollo, a concert series taking place in front of a socially distanced audience at London's Apollo Theatre, will be presented January 11, January 25, and February 8, 2021. The evenings will also be livestreamed to audiences at home. Hosted by Greg Barnett (Miss Littlewood, Duchess of Malfi), the January 11 performance will feature Rosalie Craig (Company, City of Angels), Arthur Darvil (Once, Sweet Charity), Hadley Fraser (Les Misérables, City of Angels), Lucie Jones (Waitress), and Cedric Neal (Chess, Mowtown the Musical), who will share career highlights and songs. The series is musically directed by George Dyer and produced by Greg Barnett and Hugh Summers for Wild Mountain Productions Ltd. Ten percent of all ticket sales will be donated to Acting for Others, an organization made up of 14 individual theatrical charities. For ticket information click here.

Raúl Esparza Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Raúl Esparza, Ron Cephas Jones, More Set for Shakespeare Readings
Brooklyn Public Library has teamed up with The Public Theater to present its first digital Shakespeare program. The free series will provide audiences an opportunity to see performances by Raúl Esparza, Ron Cephas Jones, Eisa Davis, and William Jackson Harper, followed by insights from leading scholars and writers. Things kick off November 22 with a focus on the presentation of Blackness and questions of vengeance through Aaron the Moor in Titus Andronicus, followed by a conversation with the Director of The Public Theater’s Shakespeare Initiative, Michael Sexton, who will moderate all three events, and Ayanna Thompson, Public Theater Shakespeare scholar in residence. For more information on events and ticketing, visit

Lineup Set for Free Virtual Broadway's Future Songbook Series Concert
Broadway’s Future Songbook Series, presented by Arts and Artists of Tomorrow, will continue its virtual season November 30 at 5:30 PM ET with a concert sponsored by the Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center. Produced and hosted by John Znidarsic, the free evening will spotlight the songs of pianist-composer Jeff Franzel ("Don't Rush Me," scores to Hurt and The Rehearsal). Interpreting his songs will be Tom Kimmel, Robert Montano, Anthony Nunziata, Robin Lyon, Kevin Ahart, Jack and Mark McNeilage, Dennis van Aarssen, Dina Layzis, Dalal Bruchmann, and Peter Sachon. Click here for reservations.

Kris Kringle The Musical Arrives Just in Time for Christmas
A new, family-friendly holiday musical, Kris Kringle The Musical, will be released beginning December 1. Directed by Jaimie Selke with musical direction by Randy Glass, the video series has costumes by Inda Blatch-Geib and animation by John Narun. The cast, who recorded the musical from their respective homes, includes Kyle Sherman as Kris Kringle, Jason Simon as Santa, Kim Crosby as Mrs. Claus, and Amy Coelho as Evelyn Noel. The musical, revealing the untold story of Kris Kringle, features a book and additional lyrics by Maria Ciampi, and music and lyrics by Tim Janis and Angelo Natalie. Produced by 2500 Productions, this series will support The Actors Fund. Click here for more information.


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