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American Darlings: It's Diva-riffic!
Stating the obvious, the musical Chicago was a blockbuster success. It earned over $300 million worldwide and bagged six Oscars including Best Picture. Now, the movie's executive producers, Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, have found the perfect follow-up project for a production which can't (well, shouldn't) have a sequel.
Based upon an idea by Hollywood acting coach Susan Baton, whose client list includes one Nicole Kidman, American Darlings is the story of an all-girl swing band in the 1930s and 1940s. During a time of industry oppression against minorities, the caucasian ladies find themselves facing the same obstacles as black and Hispanic musicians. In order to combat their difficulty in booking venues, they start playing in the same minority-populated clubs as their oppressed brethren.
The situation changes for the American Darlings when world war breaks out, as women are suddenly allowed and in fact encouraged to perform in the hottest clubs in the US as a way to keep up spirits during troubling times. In time, the group grows so successful that they wind up in a band competition at the legendary Apollo Theater. Their competition is none other than the Count Basie orchestra.
While definitely a musical, this title will be more dramatic in tone than Chicago. The key to the production is not the story, though. Instead, it's the casting of the leads. Chicago might have seemed to max out with Catherine Zeta-Jones and Renee Zellweger, but American Darlings might have it beat. Academy darling Nicole Kidman and platinum recording artist/Gigli survivor Jennifer Lopez will portray the leaders of the band. This has been a pet project of Kidman's for some time, and she will receive an executive producer credit for the outing. (David Mumpower/BOP)