Archive for "Whoopi Goldberg"

Review: “Ghost the Musical” on Broadway

Published by Clay Cane on Friday, April 27, 2012 at 10:00 am.

(Photo: The Hartman Group via Getty Images)

Morphing hit films into musical theater is the latest rage on Broadway.  The most recent movie getting the Broadway remix is Ghost the Musical.  In case you don’t know, Ghost is the famous 1990 film staring the late Patrick Swayze as Sam, who is shot and killed but refuses to transition to the other-side in order to solve his murder.  His grief-stricken girlfriend, Molly, was played by Demi Moore.  The woman who connectz Molly and Sam, Oda Mae Brown, was portrayed by Whoopi Goldberg, a role which won her an Academy Award.

Ghost the Musical stays true to the original story even down to the film’s signature song, which was “Unchained Melody” by the Righteous Brothers.  Directed by Matthew Warchus with music and lyrics by Dave Stewart and Glen Ballard (who famously co-produced Michael Jackson’s Thriller and Bad albums), the original songs aren’t standard musical theater.  There is a rock, pop or soul element in each number.  Richard Fleeshman, who plays Sam, has a voice made for rock radio, Caissie Levy as Molly delivers the pop vocals with a mix of musical theater and Da’Vine Joy Randolph is stone-cold soul.  Their three voices as the leads help make Ghost the Musical stand out from standard musical theater.

That said, Ghost does have its bumps in the reincarnation on the Great White Way.  Molly and Sam’s connection isn’t as impactful as it was on film, which is no fault of the leads, who clearly give their best.  Unfortunately, the legendary film haunts Ghost the Musical, a tearjerker of a movie that is nearly impossible to equate in musical theater — inevitably, the two will be compared. 

Ghost in 1990 was known for its fascinating yet subtle special effects.  The musical relies on lofty light projections and video montages (projections by Jon Driscoll and design by Rob Howell) that at times feel like Matrix the Musical, which might be a good sign if the production is appealing to a younger audience.  Visually, the show is eye-popping and is never a bore, but the elaborate sets weren’t matched with an emotionally satisfying storyline.

But let’s be clear, similar to the movie: Da’Vine Joy Randolph as Oda Mae Brown steals the show.  She was the comic relief, the big notes and made the crowd jump to their feet at the curtain call.  Da’Vine Joy Randolph, a Philly soul girl, has a heavy task.  The brilliance of Whoopi Goldberg was so powerful that her dialogue is retained nearly verbatim.  Therefore, Randolph has to avoid the criticism that she is simply copying Whoopi.  Fearlessly, Randolph soars in the music, like the gospel-inspired “Are You a Believer?” and the disco-infused “I’m Outta Here,” allowing her to make Oda Mae Brown her own.  The crowd pleaser of the night?  “Molly… you in danger, girl!”  I am hoping Ghost the Musical will get a spin-off: Oda Mae Brown the Musical: Molly, You in Danger, Girl!

Ghost the Musical is currently playing at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre.

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‘The Color Purple’ Marks 25 Years; Watch Whoopi’s Golden Globe Speech

Published by Clay Cane on Friday, December 17, 2010 at 8:30 am.

Tomorrow marks exactly 25 years since The Color Purple was released in the U.S. The movie featured a then-unknown Whoopi Goldberg in the starring role of Celie, an already established actor, Danny Glover, as Albert/Mister, and a local news anchor named Oprah Winfrey as Sofia.

Directed by Steven Spielberg, The Color Purple was originally met with bad reviews. Critics bashed Spielberg for straying far from the book and making the film too “soft.” Nonetheless, The Color Purple garnered 11 Oscar nominations and the fans spoke — this film is a classic.

The Color Purple was based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Alice Walker. The book dealt with complex issues such as domestic abuse, homosexuality, sexism and racism. When Walker gave permission to remake the film, she insisted on three things: approval of the script, approval of the director (an already famous Steven Spielberg had to audition for Walker) and that the crew behind the scenes be at least 50 percent people of color.  All of these requests were met.

Famously, after 11 Oscar nominations – including Goldberg for best actress and Winfrey for best supporting actress — The Color Purple lost in every single category, even down to best makeup. Spielberg didn’t even receive a best director nod.

The Color Purple grossed over $94 million at the box office and was #4 in the yearly rankings for 1985. The film goes down in history as one of the few to feature an African-American cast and a high production budget. Twenty-four years later, we still haven’t seen anything quite like it… except for maybe Precious.

Watch Whoopi Goldberg’s vintage Golden Globe speech from 1986, where, just like Mo’Nique in 2010, she paid homage to the late, great Hattie McDaniel.

Also, click here for our recent interview with Desreta Jackson who played Young Celie.

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Exclusive: Desreta Jackson Talks Behind the Scenes of Oprah’s ‘The Color Purple’ Reunion

Published by Clay Cane on Tuesday, November 16, 2010 at 8:30 am.

Yesterday, Oprah Winfrey made cinematic history by reuniting the cast of one of the greatest films of all time: The Color Purple. This year marks the film’s 25th anniversary and Oprah’s reunion was a must-see for any fan of the Stephen Spielberg-directed film, which was based on the book by the iconic Alice Walker.

The world also got to see a grown-up Desreta Jackson, who was 13 years old when she played Young Celie. In our 2009 interview with Desreta, which was her first interview with any media outlet in over 15 years, she revealed that she had not seen or spoken to anyone from The Color Purple in 20 years. In addition, Jackson was raped shortly after the film’s release, which caused her to withdraw from Hollywood.  Now she is a grown woman, is married, has three kids and is an entrepreneur.  Jackson revealed that her interview with helped her land the spot on The Oprah Winfrey Show. “Oprah’s producer said to me, ‘The reason why I’m asking you these questions is because while we were searching you out we read an article on It was intriguing.’  They basically wanted to ask questions concerning the article.”

In a exclusive, Desreta tells us the behind-the-scenes story of the reunion special, her new luxury hair line company, Black Silk, and the power of The Color Purple. Also, she candidly opens up about an overdue reconnection with Academy Award winner Whoopi Goldberg.

This is the 25th anniversary of The Color Purple and the last year of Oprah’s show. How did it feel to walk on that “Oprah” stage?
Wow! It was amazing… it was overwhelming in many ways because I actually had a secret goal in my heart that one day I would be on “Oprah”! [Laughs] Then when I heard it was her last year I was like, ‘okay, that’s not happening!’ [Laughs] So, it really was amazing.


In our 2009 interview, you said you hadn’t seen or spoken to the cast in nearly 20 years. Did you have any nerves or fears reconnecting with them because it had been so long?
Not at all. In fact, I didn’t have any expectations going into the show or reconnecting beyond the fact that we are going to do a show. The biggest thing is that I was going on there as a woman, not a child. Not just a woman, but the type of woman I am now. So I was more observant, more aware. I didn’t expect much and it was crazy because just the opposite happened.

In our previous interview, you said there was some tension with Whoopi on the set. How was it seeing her again?

Yes, Whoopi and I connected. We never disconnected after that, we actually email each other up to now. We talked and shared things. It made me feel like, ‘Oh my God, I got cheated all these years out of a relationship!’ She was so seriously concerned to pull me to the side to talk to me. She said, ‘I’m sorry I never got to tell you how wonderful you were in that film.’  There were so many special moments that behind the scenes, after the show was done, we conversed for about 30 minutes. She was very adamant to make sure that we talked, she initiated contact. It was just so genuine. I got a connection from everyone. They genuinely wanted to know how I was doing; they genuinely wanted to reconnect.

Let me tell you, the real show was after the show! [Laughs] Right after the show, Danny Glover was doing a movie so he had to leave, Whoopi had to leave, I had to get back, I had a film I was trying to make a commitment to — everybody wanted to leave but they couldn’t leave. We wanted to just talk. It was crazy; you were going from one dressing room to another green room. Everybody was searching, there were these private conversations. You saw so much happening, it was beyond a show. There were relationships, whether it was people mending misunderstandings or rebuilding. Akosua Busia, who played Nettie, we kept holding hands from the time we saw each other. We walked through halls; I walked with her as a woman, not as a little girl. The bond was unbelievable. I really thought she was still my sister! [Laughs]

And you and Whoopi are still in contact?
Yeah, that was weird to me because I left that reunion show meeting old acquaintances and making new friends. One thing Whoopi did say, ‘Well, you were a little girl.’

Meaning it was hard to connect with you because you were a child?
Yeah, it’s funny because it didn’t matter to me about the past. It hadn’t matter to me for a long time about the past or rumors or things that people had said. It was neither here nor there for me. In fact, I look up to the strength, whatever it is people had to do for their careers. I admire that. I’m not the type of person to hold grudges. It allowed me to be more open to anything or everything. Like I said, I came there expecting nothing and left with everything.

Were you able to have a moment with Oprah?
Yes, I told her, ‘Thank you for inviting me to this.’  She looked like — how could I not invite you? I wanted her to understand that I really appreciate her. I can understand how that would be for her because it seems like when you get to any position in life, it doesn’t have to be to that level that she’s at, people want something from you, everybody wants something. So, I just wanted to thank her and nothing more.

Now that you’ve had that reunion, have you been able to heal old wounds and come full circle?
Just in general, I have been in the process of healing. That is the reason why I am able to talk to people more and reconnect with fans. I don’t have the same fears I did before — because of that I do look at the film differently. I don’t know if it’s just going to the show or overall. I definitely would say one of things that led me to go through that was our initial conversation back in 2009. Getting the fans’ response and positive feedback, finding out how it helped them in many ways, the film and my story.  That was healing.

Tell me about your hair line coming out.

It’s called Black Silk Products; it will be the first African-American luxury hair line. All this time I’ve been away, the thing that I’ve been involved in immensely, is hair. I would make my own shampoos, conditioners; I would get a product, concoct things and figure out why this is not working right.  When I went to manufacturers, I brought my ingredients — I had been testing it for five years on my clients, myself and my daughter. Manufacturers tried to tell me that it was pricey and tried to get me to cut corners. They came out and said, ‘Our research shows that African Americans wouldn’t spend that type of money.’  That infuriated me. I made a decision then, let’s do this. I know that we are quality. I know that we do want the best and I stuck to my guns and that’s when we realized we had a luxury line. Then when I started doing the research I realized we were the first luxury line of our kind. We even cover silk bed sheets, silk scarves; we are branding it because I want people to trust Black Silk. I want them to trust that if we put out something then I know it’s the best and it’s going to work. That’s how it evolved and I accepted where it was going.

When will the Black Silk products be available?
We launch the product line July 4th of 2011. We do have a preview Web site, which is You can put your information in and it will keep you updated.

Do you see yourself acting again?
Recently, I got a wonderful script. It’s called The Diva, it’s about an actress that used to be a child actress; she had to fight her way back up to the top. She’s currently the hottest leading actress in Hollywood and she did it her way. It’s more so a love story that you fall in love with her struggles and why she is the way she is — because she can be a bitch! [Laughs] We’re going through the pre-production phase.

Any closing thoughts on The Color Purple?
I just wanted to tell people that their support, whether they realize it or not, positive energy and words are very uplifting. I wanted to tell them I thank them so much for being fans for over 25 years. I have a certain amount of fans that have never forgotten me. I want them to know I truly appreciate that they’re there.

To read our 2009 interview with Desreta Jackson, click here.

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‘The Color Purple’ Cast Reunites on ‘Oprah’

Published by Clay Cane on Monday, November 15, 2010 at 12:00 am.

Oprah is making her 25th and final season huge. She’s already landed interviews with Michael Jackson’s children, the first interview with Ricky Martin after he came out and now she is bringing the entire cast of The Color Purple together, which airs today.

The Color Purple is one of the greatest films of all time.  Based on the book by Alice Walker and directed by Steven Spielberg, the movie received 11 Oscar nominations and lost all of them.  Nonetheless, the flick has been praised for its powerful acting, perfect cast and emotionally charged scenes that have kept fans entertained for years.

Not one cast member is left out, including Desreta Jackson (young Celie), who in an interview with two years ago said she hadn’t been a part of many of The Color Purple events.  In addition, Oprah and Whoopi Goldberg discuss their legendary feud. Check out the clip below.

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EXCLUSIVE: New Pics of ‘For Colored Girls’

Published by Clay Cane on Monday, October 25, 2010 at 12:00 am. got an exclusive look at the latest images from Tyler Perry’s For Colored Girls, which is in theaters Friday, November 5th. The film is based on the iconic 1974 play For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow Is Enuf by Ntozake Shange.

The movie is directed and written by Tyler Perry with a powerhouse cast that includes Whoopi Goldberg, Janet Jackson, Loretta Devine, Kimberly Elise, Thandie Newton, Phylicia Rashad, Anika Noni Rose, Kerry Washington and Macy Gray. It’s one of the biggest cast of Black actresses since Oprah Winfrey’s Women of Brewster Place in 1989.

Check out the exclusive images below!

Thandie Newton as Tangie, a role that was originally for Mariah Carey.

Oscar-winner Whoopi Goldberg as Alice, a religious woman and the mother of Thandie Newton’s character.

The legendary Janet Jackson as Jo.

Are you excited to see For Colored Girls?

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Whoopi Goldberg: “He’s Not A Racist.”

Published by Clay Cane on Tuesday, July 13, 2010 at 12:00 am.

The Mel Gibson saga continues!  Yesterday, eight-minute audio was released of Gibson screaming and cursing at the mother of his child. Charges will potentially be put against the Braveheart star for domestic violence.

Before the new audio was released, Oscar winner and co-host of The View, Whoopi Goldberg reacted to Gibson using the N-word and said, “I know he’s not a racist — he may be a bonehead… I have had a long friendship with Mel… You can say he’s being a bonehead but I can’t sit and say that he’s a racist having spent time with him in my house with my kids.”

Hmm, I wonder what would qualify as Gibson being racist? He clearly thinks Black, Latins and Jews are inferior, whether or not his rants are drunk or sober. Goldberg has a personal relationship with Gibson but just because Mel has “Black friends” does not mean he isn’t racist.

We will see what Whoopi says today on The View when they discuss Mel’s latest diatribe.

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This Day in Film: ‘Made in America’

Published by Clay Cane on Friday, May 28, 2010 at 8:48 am.

made_in_americaBefore Will Smith was a major movie star he was doing supporting roles in films like 1993’s Made in America, which starred Ted Danson, Whoopi Goldberg and Nia Long. Seventeen years ago today, the film hit theaters and brought in $12 million opening weekend. Worldwide, Made in America earned $100 million and was a bonafide hit movie with a majority Black cast.

Made in America follows the story of Zora Matthews (Nia Long), a teenager who is searching for her father — her mother Sarah (Whoopi Goldberg) conceived her by artificial insemination. In her search, Zora finds out that her father is White (Ted Danson). Sarah is shocked because she asked for a Black sperm donor and Danson’s character is a car salesman who doesn’t have the best manners. Will Smith plays Nia Long’s boyfriend.

The film was met with majority good reviews and legendary film critic, Roger Ebert, said in his ‘93 review, “Made in America, a movie that could have been all over the map emotionally, but turns out to be surprisingly effective.”  He also praised Goldberg’s performance.

Made in America is often a film that is forgotten. But, it is part of the beginning of Black films that came out in the ’90s that brought in money at the box office and showed that Black actors are profitable.

If you don’t remember — check out the trailer below!

MADE IN AMERICA: Movie Trailer – Watch more top selected videos about: Movie_Trailers, Made_In_America, Jennifer_Tilly, Nia_Long, Paul_Rodriguez, Ted_Danson, Whoopi_Goldberg, Will_Smith, Richard_Benjamin

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Cast of ‘For Colored Girls’ Announced

Published by Clay Cane on Wednesday, March 24, 2010 at 12:00 am.

bb_coloredgirlsBack in September, we reported that Tyler Perry was set to direct the film version of the Tony-nominated Ntozake Shange play For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf.  In November, Oprah confirmed with Black Voices that she will play one of the characters — looks like that will not happen.  Black Voices got the list of the official cast:  Janet Jackson, Mariah Carey, Whoopi Goldberg, Phylicia Rashad, Jurnee Smollett, Kimberly Elise, Kerry Washington, Loretta Devine and Macy Gray.

There are only seven main women (the seven colors of the rainbow) in the play, but this list has nine actresses.  There is no answer on who play what and which of the actresses will be the main ladies.

In addition, it will be interesting to see how Perry adapts the play, which is a collection of 20 poems, into a feature length film.  Audiences might be more engaged if a storyline was mapped out versus reciting poetry.  Nonetheless, this is a brilliant play, we will see how it translates to the big screen.


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Whoopi Goldberg Says She Thought She Would Win For “The Color Purple”

Published by Clay Cane on Thursday, February 11, 2010 at 12:01 pm.

whoopiWhenever cast members from 1985’s The Color Purple talk about the shock of being nominated for eleven Academy Awards and losing all of them, I immediately listen!  Precious made history by being the only film with a Black director and predominately Black cast receiving so many nods and one cannot help but make The Color Purple comparisons (even though the film had a White director).

Today on The View Whoopi Goldberg talked about her best actress nod for The Color Purple and said,  “I thought I might win for The Color Purple – I thought I would!”  Sherri Shepherd added, “We thought you would!”  Goldberg continued, “I realized there maybe other opportunities for me but I should be very careful saying what is going to happen when I’m not sure.”

Whoopi also said she lost to a brilliant actress named Geraldine Paige.  Whoopi would late win an Oscar for best supporting actress in 1990’s Ghost.

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R.I.P. Patrick Swayze

Published by Clay Cane on Tuesday, September 15, 2009 at 12:00 am.

patrickswayzeThe legendary Patrick Swayze passed away September 14th after a two-year battle with pancreatic cancer. Swayze died at his Los Angeles home. He was 57 years-old.

The Texas native catapulted into super stardom after 1987’s Dirty Dancing, which earned him his one out of three Golden Globe nominations. The movie grossed 300-million worldwide and spawned a top ten hit pop hit from Swayze called “She’s Like the Wind.”  Also, Swayze delivered one of the classic pop culture lines, “Nobody puts baby in a corner!”

Swayze was a household name and his success only continued with the outrageously successful Ghost in 1990. The movie included Demi Moore, Whoopi Goldberg, which earned her an Oscar, and made Swayze one of the most sought after actors in the world. In 1991 People magazine said Swayze was the “Sexiest Man Alive.”

Other successful films continued such as Point Break and To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar, which racked up his third Golden Globe nomination as drag diva Vida Boheme.

In January 2008 Patrick Swayze was diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer. Swayze was a smoker and in 2008 he told Barbara Walters, “I will go so far as to say probably smoking had something to do with my pancreatic cancer.”

Rest in peace Patrick Swayze.

Check out the clip below from Ghost.

Watch Ghost in Entertainment |  View More Free Videos Online at

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