Crossovers is STAGE’s original, half-hour talk show taped in front of a live studio audience of aspiring theater and film artists. Host Taye Diggs leads a discussion with a high-profile artist who has crossed over from theatre to other media such as film, TV or sound recordings. These lively conversations highlight each artist’s professional journey and explore how theatre has informed that journey.
HOST: Taye Diggs
GUESTS: Billy Magnussen, Tamara Tunie, Leslie Uggams
PRODUCED BY: The STAGE Network
EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: Jennifer Dumas, Tom Wiggin
CREATED BY: Tom Wiggin
Taye Diggs (Host) stars in the romantic comedy, “Set It Up” opposite Zoey Deutch and Lucy Liu, which will begin streaming on NETFLIX, June 15th. Diggs will begin filming the new series “All American” for The CW this summer. He also completed the independent film “River Runs Red,” featuring John Cusack and George Lopez. He was most recently seen on season 4 of “Empire” as Angelo Dubois. Diggs starred in three seasons of TNT’s “Murder in the First,” alongside Kathleen Robertson. For his role in the series, Diggs earned a nomination for a 2014 NAACP Image Award in the category of “Outstanding Male Actor in a Drama Series.”
On September 18th of this year, Taye and collaborator, Shane Evans (cousin and illustrator) will release their third children’s book, “I Love You More Than”. This book is a follow up to his first two children’s books, “Chocolate Me,” and “Mixed Me!” through MacMillan Publishing.
An acclaimed stage actor, Diggs was the first African American to star as the title role on Broadway in “Hedwig and the Angry Inch”.
Diggs’ film credits include: “The Best Man Holiday,” “Baggage Claim,” “Rent,” “Chicago,” “Brown Sugar,” “Equilibrium,” “Basic,” “The Way of the Gun,” “The Best Man,” “Just a Kiss,” “The House on Haunted Hill,” “Go,” “Drum,” “Cake,” and “Malibu’s Most Wanted.” His television credits include: “Private Practice” (NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor), “Rosewood,” “The Good Wife,” “Daybreak,” “UPN” (NAACP Image Award for Best Actor – Television), “Ally McBeal,” “Will & Grace,” “Ed,” “The West Wing,” “New York Undercover,” and “Law and Order.” His theatre credits: “A Soldier’s Play” (Second Stage Theatre), “Wicked,” “Chicago,” “The Wild Party” (Manhattan Theatre Club), “Rent,” and “Carousel.”
Leslie Uggams (Guest) is a Tony and Emmy Award-winning actress and singer whose career has brought her from Harlem (The Apollo Theater) to Broadway (Hallelujah, Baby!), the big screen (Deadpool, Skyjacked) to television (Empire, The Leslie Uggams Show). Perhaps best known for her stirring portrayal of Kizzy in the landmark TV mini-series Alex Haley’s Roots (Critics Choice Award, Emmy and Golden Globe nominations), Leslie has performed to critical and popular acclaim ever since her first professional appearances at the age of nine at the famed Apollo Theater in New York City. There she opened for such musical legends as Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald and Dinah Washington. Now, after nearly seven decades on stage and screen, Leslie is a legend in her own right. She is on the Board of Directors of the Apollo Theater, and she was recently awarded an Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts from the University of Connecticut. She is also the recipient of an American Artist Award from Arena Stage in Washington, DC.
Currently Leslie can be seen as Leah Walker in the hit television series Empire. She also stars as Blind Al in the blockbuster 20th Century Fox films Deadpool and Deadpool2 opposite Ryan Reynolds. She recently co-starred in the HBO original movie The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks with Oprah Winfrey. Other recent television appearances include Nurse Jackie; The Good Wife; Memphis Beat; and NYC 22.
In addition, Leslie continues to tour nationally, performing to sold-out audiences, with her autobiographical one-woman musical Uptown/Downtown (LA Drama Critics Circle Award, NAACP Theatre Award, IRNE Award, Broadway World People’s Choice Award) which chronicles her extraordinary career in stories and song. From New York to Boston and Los Angeles, critics have raved, calling Leslie “dazzling,” “indefatigable,” and “delectable!” Recently Leslie also made theater history by becoming the first African-American actress to portray the iconic character of Mama Rose in Connecticut Repertory Theatre’s acclaimed production of Gypsy. She also recently starred as Mame at the Wick Theatre in Florida; in the Encores! presentation of Pipe Dream at New York City Center; and in the Broadway-bound world premiere of Stormy Weather: The Lena Horne Story (Ovation nomination) at the Pasadena Playhouse in California, where she broke the all-time house attendance record.
On Broadway Leslie made her stunning musical theater debut starring in Hallelujah, Baby! earning both Tony and Theater World awards. Since then she has starred on Broadway in Blues in the Night, Her First Roman with Richard Kiley, Jerry’s Girls, Anything Goes at the Lincoln Center Theatre (also the first national tour), King Headley II with Brian Stokes Mitchell (Tony Award nomination), Thoroughly Modern Millie, and On Golden Pond opposite James Earl Jones. Off-Broadway Leslie has won Audelco Awards for The Old Settler, Keb Mo’s blues musical Thunder Knocking on the Door, and First Breeze of Summer at the acclaimed Signature Theater. Regional roles include A Little Night Music, The Rink, Into the Woods, Master Class, Call Me Madam, Blue, Hello, Dolly! and the national tour of Guys and Dolls.
Leslie’ still vibrant television career, which began at the age of six portraying Ethel Waters’ niece on the TV series Beulah, spans decades. As a teenager she famously won a $12,500 college scholarship on Name That Tune, and as a regular on Sing Along with Mitch she was the first African American performer to be featured on a weekly national primetime television series. Other early guest appearances included Your Show of Shows, The Milton Berle Show, The Arthur Godfrey Show, and The Ed Sullivan Show. In 1970 she hosted her own primetime variety series, The Leslie Uggams Show. Later starring roles included her award-winning portrayal in Alex Haley’s Roots, the miniseries Backstairs at the White House, the ABC-TV movie Sizzle, the HBO special Christmas at Radio City Music Hall, and her Emmy-winning duties as co-host of the NBC-TV series Fantasy.
While a student at the Julliard School in New York, Leslie released the first of 10 solo albums she was to record for Columbia Records. Later she signed with Atlantic Records. Her newest CDs are Leslie Uggams: Uptown/Downtown; On My Way to You: The Songs of Marilyn and Alan Bergman; and Wishing You a Happy New Year with the Curtis McKonly Orchestra. She can also be heard on the new cast album of Pipe Dream.
In concert Leslie has toured with Peter Nero and Mel Torme; performed at the Hollywood Bowl in Jerry Herman’s Broadway; and appeared as a guest soloist with numerous symphony orchestras across the country, including The National Symphony Orchestra, The Cincinnati Pops, the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, and The Rhode Island Symphony. In addition, Leslie performed before 300,000 people during the Memorial Day Concert on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol which was also broadcast live by PBS to millions of viewers nationwide.
Billy Magnussen (Guest) can currently be seen in Season 4 of Netflix’s acclaimed series BLACK MIRROR and Warner Bros/New Line’s GAME NIGHT, opposite Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams. He recently wrapped production on Disney’s highly-anticipated live action adaptation of ALADDIN directed by Guy Ritchie, Ike Barinholtz’s independent feature THE OATH opposite Tiffany Haddish, as well as Cary Fukunaga’s Netflix limited series, MANIAC, opposite Emma Stone and Jonah Hill.
Previous credits include Matt Spicer’s INGRID GOES WEST, which made its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, FX’s THE PEOPLE V. OJ SIMPSON: AMERICAN CRIME STORY, HBO’s BOARDWALK EMPIRE, Rob Marshall’s INTO THE WOODS, Adam McKay’s THE BIG SHORT and Steven Spielberg’s BRIDGE OF SPIES.
He starred alongside David Hyde Pierce and Sigourney Weaver in Christopher Durang’s VANYA AND SONIA AND MASHA AND SPIKE, which was nominated for six Tony Awards in 2013. Magnussen was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play for his role as Spike.
Tamara Tunie is a versatile actress who has consistently garner praise and recognition for her work on the big and small screens, in theater and in her community. She currently stars in the AMC hit series DIETLAND opposite Joy Nash and Julianna Margulies. Her role as Julia finds her as the keeper of the magazine’s beauty closet, and, secretly, a resistance movement against the fashion industry, the media and general misogyny. This fall, she also will star in the BBC/Netflix series BLACK EARTH RISING with John Goodman and Michaela Cole.
On television, she had recurring roles in series The Red Road, Law & Order: SVU, As The World Turns among others. She’s guest starred in Better Call Saul, Blue Bloods, Billions, Elementary, Alpha House, Survivor’s Remorse, and 24.
On the big screen, she starred in Irreplaceable You, Flight, The Devil’s Advocate, City Hall, Snake Eyes, The Caveman’s Valentinesto name a few. She also made her feature film directorial debut with the indie romantic comedy See You In September starring Estella Warren and Justin Kirk.
The Pittsburgh native boosts a storied career in theater both as an actor and producer. On Broadway, she produced hit productions: Spring Awakening (winner of the 2007 Tony Award for Best Musical and Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Musical), Magic/Bird, and August Wilson’s Radio Golf (2007 TONY and Drama Desk Award Nominee for Best Play). Currently, she is producing, and developing for the musical Frog Kiss: The Musical– a re-imagined “bed-time story” with a bawdy twist.
In theater, Tamara starred in Tony Award-winning Playwright Robert Schenkkan’s two-person political suspense thriller Building The Wall alongside James Badge Dale at New World Stages. Prior, she starred as Marvelous in Danai Gurira’s Familiar; as Kendra in the Barrington Stage Company production of American Son; and for her role in Steven Soderbergh’s The Library at The Public. She starred as Maggie in the first all African American production of Tennessee Williams’ Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, Calpurnia in Julius Caesar opposite Denzel Washington and the 20th Anniversary post 9-11 benefit concert of Dreamgirls. She also shared the Broadway stage with the late, great Lena Horne, in the musical Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music.
Beyond acting, producing and directing, Tamara is deeply engaged in several community and philanthropic efforts.