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Monday, October 2, 2023

Black Woman Makes History With Lead Role in Upcoming Broadway Premiere of Betty Boop Musical

Jasmine Amy Rogers as Betty Boop

Nationwide — Jasmine Amy Rogers, a 23-year-old African American actress, is set to take on the lead in “BOOP! The Betty Boop Musical” that will debut on Broadway. The musical, which promises to bring Betty’s charm to life on stage, is making its premiere in Chicago this November before hitting Broadway.

This musical, directed and choreographed by Tony winner Jerry Mitchell, is bringing Betty Boop to life. Mitchell is all praises for Rogers, lauding her versatile talents in acting, singing, and dancing that perfectly fit the character of Betty Boop.

“From the moment Jasmine walks into a room and shares that magnificent smile and her contagious laugh, you know you are in the presence of Betty Boop. And, like the cartoon Betty, Jasmine can do everything brilliantly — acting, singing, dancing — I know her performance will capture the hearts of audiences of all ages,” he told Blex Media.

Behind the scenes, a talented team including David Rockwell, Gregg Barnes, Philip S. Rosenberg, Gareth Owen, Finn Ross, and Daryl Waters are working hard on set design, costume design, lighting, sound, projection design, and musical supervision.

The musical is inspired by Max Fleischer’s iconic characters, with music by Grammy winner David Foster, lyrics by Tony nominee Susan Birkenhead, and a book by Tony winner Bob Martin.

The story follows Betty’s quest for an ordinary day away from her celebrity status. Her adventure takes her to colorful, musical New York City, delivering a message of empowerment: “You are capable of amazing things.”

Betty Boop debuted in 1930, initially as a dog-like stage performer. She evolved into a human character, becoming the world’s only female animated screen star in 1932, voiced by Mae Questel.

Moreover, it’s important to acknowledge the Black historical connection to Betty Boop’s creation. Esther Jones, known as “Baby Esther,” is credited with inspiring the character. Born in 1918 in Chicago, she was a talented child performer known for her unique singing style and black-bottom dancing.

A lawsuit in 1930 revealed the true origins of Betty Boop. Helen Kane, a white performer, sued Fleisher Studios for appropriating her “Betty Boop” character. During the trial, it was revealed that Kane had imitated Jones’ scat act, leading to the recognition of neither Kane nor Jones as the source.