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Cynthia Erivo Unveils Key Art for GENIUS: ARETHA

Erivo will star as the legendary Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, in the third season of the Emmy award-winning global anthology series.

Cynthia Erivo Unveils Key Art for GENIUS: ARETHA

Cynthia Erivo marked her birthday by unveiling the exclusive key art to National Geographic's critically acclaimed anthology series, GENIUS: ARETHA.

Erivo will star as the legendary Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, in the third season of the Emmy award-winning global anthology series, premiering on National Geographic this March.

This installation will explore Aretha Franklin's musical genius and incomparable career, as well as the immeasurable impact and lasting influence she has had on music and culture around the world. GENIUS: ARETHA will premiere on National Geographic this March.

The previously announced cast includes Emmy®-winning Courtney B. Vance ("The People V. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story") as Aretha's father, C.L. Franklin; Malcolm Barrett ("Timeless," "Preacher") as Ted White, Franklin's first husband and business manager; David Cross ("Mr. Show," "Arrested Development") as legendary music producer Jerry Wexler; Grammy® Award winning musician and actor Tip "T.I." Harris ("Ant Man," "Get Hard") as Ken Cunningham; Patrice Covington ("The Color Purple", "Ain't Misbehavin'") and Rebecca Naomi Jones ("Oklahoma!," "The Big Sick") portray Erma and Carolyn Franklin, respectively, as Aretha's sisters and frequent background singers who supported and collaborated with their famous sibling; Steven Norfleet ("Watchmen," "Dynasty") as older brother Cecil Franklin, who stepped in as Aretha's manager following her divorce from Ted White; veteran actress Pauletta Washington ("Beloved," "She's Gotta Have It") as Aretha's nurturing and loving paternal grandmother, Rachel; Omar J. Dorsey ("Queen Sugar") as James Cleveland; Marque Richardson ("Dear White People") as King Curtis, Kimberly Hébert Gregory ("Vice Principals") as Ruth Bowen; and introducing Shaian Jordan as young Aretha Franklin, Little Re.

Erivo made her Broadway debut reprising her starring role as 'Celie' in the critically acclaimed revival of "The Color Purple." She first played the role in 2013 at London's Menier Chocolate Factory and her performance on Broadway earned her several awards, including the Tony Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical, a Grammy Award as a principal soloist on original cast recording of "The Color Purple" (Best Musical Theater Album), a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Musical Performance in a Daytime Program, and the Drama Desk Award, Theatre World, and Outer Critics Circle Awards.

Additional theatre credits include: 'Puck' in the Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream;" The Donmar Warehouse's acclaimed all-female production of "Henry IV;" the European premiere of Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty musical, "Dessa Rose;" the Perfect Pitch musical, "Lift;" Kneehigh Theatre's production of "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg;" the UK tour of Jerry Zaks' production of "Sister Act;" Harry Hill and Simon Cowell's musical, "I Can't Sing," at the London Palladium; Simon Stephens' "Marine Parade;" John Adams' experimental song play, "I Was Looking at the Ceiling and Then I Saw The Sky;" and Dominic Hill's "The Three Musketeers and The Princess of Spain."

The series is produced by 20th Television and Imagine Entertainment. Imagine has partnered with Warner Music Entertainment for this third season, which will again be executive produced by Imagine's Brian Grazer and Ron Howard. Pulitzer Prize recipient, MacArthur "Genius" grant receiver and Tony Award winner Suzan-Lori Parks ("Topdog/Underdog") is showrunner, executive producer and lead writer. Emmy, Golden Globe and BAFTA TV Award winner Anthony Hemingway ("The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story") serves as executive producer and director.

Legendary hit record producer Clive Davis and Atlantic Records Chairman and CEO Craig Kallman are executive producers. Returning executive producers include Francie Calfo (GENIUS: EINSTEIN, GENIUS: PICASSO, "Empire"), Ken Biller (GENIUS: EINSTEIN, GENIUS: PICASSO), Gigi Pritzker and Rachel Shane (MWM Studios), and Sam Sokolow (EUE/Sokolow). In addition, Imagine's Anna Culp serves as co-executive producer alongside producer Peter Afterman.

See Erivo's Instagram post here:



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