Actress, entrepreneur and political activist Sheryl Lee Ralph is heading back to the stage, in “The First Wives Club—The Musical,” according to the Los Angeles Times.
Ralph will reprise the 1996 role of Elyse, the character played by Goldie Hawn in the big-screen version of the story. The show will be at The Old Globe Theater in San Diego. No stranger to the theater, Ralph will replace Tony Award-winning actress Adriane Lenox, who exited the production before rehearsals began because of health concerns.
And this isn’t the first time that a role written for a White woman has come to Ms. Ralph. “I have replaced White women in roles my entire career—Ann Jillian in “It’s a Living,” as Robert DeNiro’s woman in “Mistress,” and now Goldie Hawn,” Ralph told ESSENCE.com. “I am happy when creative people act creatively and embrace diversity in castiing. The hard part is when they tell you they want a non-descript Black woman. That’s the new code for light-skinned. I’m happy that Michelle Obama is the First Lady. She adds a new shade to the perfect woman, an obviously Black woman.”
The actresses, who also include Karen Ziemba and Barbara Walsh, immortalize bitter, middle-age divorcees who scheme to get back at their no-good ex-hubsbands. Much like the film, the show is based on the original novel by Olivia Goldsmith and is said to be headed to Broadway, although no dates have been set.
Ralph, one of the original “Dreamgirls” along with Jennifer Holliday and Loretta Devine, starred as as Deena Jones (Beyonce’s role in the film adaptation) and received a 1982 Tony nomination. She returned to Broadway in the 2002 revival of “Thoroughly Modern Millie.”—KNB