NeNe Leakes is set to make her Broadway return as the infamous Matron “Mama” Morton in the Tony-winning revival of Chicago. The Real Housewives of Atlanta alum will return to the Big Apple just a year after making her stage debut as the wicked stepmother in Cinderella. Reality Tea notes that her performance, which ran through the Holiday season, earned some of the highest ticket sales for the show. Leakes announced her Broadway return this week on social media, saying how “lucky” and “blessed” she feels.
“I’m so excited to say I am headed back to BROADWAY in CHICAGO as Matron Mama Morton #neneismama,” she wrote.
— NeNe Leakes (@NeNeLeakes) October 22, 2015
Broadway clearly loves the powerhouse that is NeNe, and it is hoped that her performance as the matron of the Cook County Jail generates as much buzz as Queen Latifah’s take on the role, a performance that earned her a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for the 2002 film adaptation. The project will be the first big role for Leakes since her announcement in June that she would not return for the eighth season of Real Housewives of Atlanta.
The multi-hyphenated businesswoman did have a new reality show set to premiere on Bravo with co-star Kim Zolciak — NeNe and Kim: Road to Riches. The two were set to drive around the country to visit small towns, but it was scrapped by Bravo because of scheduling issues, according to TMZ.
Daily Mail reports that she is also presumably busy filming a reboot of the ’60s game show To Tell the Truth for ABC, though no air date or production details has been announced yet. The premise of the game show: three contestants must try to convince NeNe, Betty White, and a third panelist that they invented something or discovered something. Two of the contestants are lying and one is telling the truth, and the panelists must ask questions to figure it out. Leakes announced the new role opposite Betty on her blog in early July.
“When one door closes, another door opens!!!! Your girl is returning to primetime network TV on the new ABC variety series To Tell the Truth with Betty White and Anthony Anderson,” she wrote.
Nene explained in a recent interview with the Daily News that this is the second time she’s been approached to star in the musical, and no way was she going to turn it down again.
“Acting is my first love,” says Leakes. “I was asked to do ‘Chicago’ when I was asked to do ‘Cinderella.’ I chose ‘Cinderella.’ This is a second chance to do ‘Chicago,’ so I jumped at it.”
I’m n such a good place in my life right now! Many have tried kicking me down but God keep lifting me up pic.twitter.com/xghbJHKs5p
— NeNe Leakes (@NeNeLeakes) October 23, 2015
Leakes, who’s also known for appearances on Glee, Dancing with the Stars, The Celebrity Apprentice, and makes regular appearances on E!’s Fashion Police, took to Twitter last week to announce that despite the efforts by many to knock her down, she is in a good place right now.
“I’m n such a good place in my life right now! Many have tried kicking me down but God keep lifting me up,” NeNe revealed on Twitter, hinting that she has struggled a bit since leaving The Real Housewives of Atlanta.
NeNe Leakes has been preparing for her Broadway return by working with a vocal coach. She will take the stage at the Ambassador Theatre from November 23 through December 20.
[Image courtesy Isaac Brekken/Ethan Miller/Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images/Twitter]