Broadway actress Cynthia Erivo will play Aretha Franklin in the next season of the National Geographic series Genius.
The British actress, who was in the 2016 stage production of The Color Purple, says the Queen of Soul "has been a source of inspiration for me since I was a little girl... Her strength, passion and soul are evident in her everlasting legacy, not only as a transcendent artist, but as a humanitarian and civil rights icon." The London native adds, "What I know and have learned about what my voice, as an artist, can do and the power in it has been highly influenced by Franklin."
Produced by Ron Howard's creative partner Brian Grazer, Aretha Franklin: Genius will use a mixture of Franklin's recordings and Erivo's performances on “Chain of Fools,” “Don’t Play That Song,” “Since You’ve Been Gone,” “I Knew You Were Waiting for Me” and “Freeway of Love.”
The first season of Genius focused on Albert Einstein, while the second profiled Pablo Picasso. (Variety)