The Humor Mill

‘Trading Places’ To Become A Stage Musical And Eddie Murphy’s Role Will Feature A Gender Change

Posted Mar 24, 2022

A world premiere musical stage adaptation that reimagines the hit 1983 Eddie Murphy-Dan Aykroyd comedy Trading Places has cast Freestyle Love Supreme‘s Aneesa Folds in the role that made Murphy a Hollywood superstar, with Bryce Pinkham (Broadway’s A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder) in the Aykroyd spot.

With a book by Reno 911! actor and writer Thomas Lennon, direction by Kenny Leon (A Raisin in the Sun, A Soldier’s Play) and music and lyrics by Alan Zachary and Michael Weiner (Broadway’s First Date), Trading Places will debut at Atlanta’s Alliance Theatre on May 25, running through June 26.

“I am so excited to come home with this world-class cast and creative team and a new musical that I know will resonate and be embraced by the Atlanta community,” said Leon in a statement. “With Trading Places, we’re exploring the idea of what would happen if we all traded places with someone else, even for a day, literally putting yourself in someone else’s shoes. It’s relevant; it’s uplifting; everyone will feel heard and represented. And you’re going to laugh, a lot! It’s the perfect play for right now.”

With a cast and creative team largely made up of Broadway stalwarts, an eventual move from Atlanta to New York is certainly under consideration. In addition to Folds and Pinkham, the cast includes Marc Kudisch (Girl From the North Country) and Lenny Wolpe (Bullets Over Broadway) as Mortimer and Randolph Duke (Don Ameche and Ralph Bellamy in the movie), and McKenzie Kurtz (Frozen), Josh Lamon (The Prom), Don Stephenson (Trouble in Mind) and Joe Montoya, who plays Phil, the musical’s apparent reinterpretation of the movie’s Ophelia (played by Jamie Lee Curtis).

The film, directed by John Landis from a screenplay by Timothy Harris and Herschel Weingrod, made a big-screen superstar of Murphy, who played a broke con man named Billy Ray Valentine who, as a social experiment, swaps places with Aykroyd’s wealthy commodities broker.

Aykroyd, Murphy, ‘Trading Places’ (1983)Paramount/Everett Collection

For the musical, Billy Ray has been reimagined as Billie Rae. Folds, who also used the name Young Nees when she appeared as part of the cast of Broadway’s Freestyle Love Supreme, co-created by Lin-Manuel Miranda, can currently be seen as Danya in Miranda’s film adaptation of tick, tick…BOOM!

The musical’s creative team also includes choreography by Fatima Robinson (whose film credits include Dreamgirls and Coming 2 America 2), scenic design by Beowulf Boritt, lighting design by Adam Honoré, sound design by John Shivers, and costume design by Emilio Sosa. The musical is produced by special arrangements with Marc Madnick and Michael Cassel Group.

Source: Deadline

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