Sherri Shepherd used one of her final episodes as a co-host of “The View” to announce what she’s doing next: Going to Broadway, to star as the wicked Stepmother in the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical version of “Cinderella.”
Shepherd announced the news on the Aug. 5 episode of the ABC morning show. She’ll appear in “Cinderella” opposite Keke Palmer, who joins the cast in the title role. Palmer will be the first African-American Cinderella on Broadway, although TV got there first with the 1997 telepic version of the tuner that starred Brandy.
With the casting of Shepherd, currently riding a wave of publicity during the final week of her seven-year stint as “View” co-host, the producers of “Cinderella” look to be making a solid bid to keep the musical’s sales healthy after summer ends and the tourist slowdown hits Broadway box office hard. The pairing of Shepherd and Palmer could potentially attract an African-American demo that hasn’t turned out for the production before.
Sales for the musical have softened a bit this summer compared to last summer, when the fairy-tale title (which opened in March 2013) was newer to the boards and benefited from the attention of its Tony nominations. This year sales have proven relatively steady but have rarely wowed.
Shepherd makes her Broadway debut as part of a career that has seen her carve out a spot in seemingly every quadrant of television, where she has made notable appearances on shows ranging from “Dancing with the Stars” to “How I Met Your Mother” to “30 Rock.” Her upcoming films including “Ride Along 2″ and “Top Five.”
Both Shepherd and Palmer join “Cinderella” Sept. 9, right around when most Broadway shows are likely to be suffering the annual back-to-school dry spell. The launch of their engagement in the show is timed to counteract that downturn.