Cynthia Erivo to Play Aretha Franklin in GENIUS: ARETHA - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

Cynthia Erivo to Play Aretha Franklin in GENIUS: ARETHA

October 3, 2019 by  

Cynthia Erivo Aretha Franklin

Tony®, Emmy® and Grammy® Award-winning Cynthia Erivo (“Harriet,” Broadway’s “The Color Purple”) will star as Aretha Franklin in the next installment of the Emmy-winning global anthology series, Genius: Aretha. (John Russo)

Cynthia Erivo will play Aretha Franklin in the upcoming ARETHA season of Nat Geo’s GENIUS. The season will start filming in November for a planned Spring 2020 launch.

Per Nat Geo, “the production will feature many of Franklin’s biggest recordings and hit songs from the comprehensive Warner Music catalogue, including “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You),” “Chain of Fools,” “Don’t Play That Song,” “Since You’ve Been Gone” and “Baby I Love You.” In addition, the series will feature Franklin’s performances of “I Knew You Were Waiting for Me,” “Freeway of Love” and “Sisters Are Doin’ It for Themselves.” Erivo will also be performing many of the songs from Franklin’s rich catalogue.”

“Aretha Franklin has been a source of inspiration for me since I was a little girl,” said Erivo in a statement. “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. To have the opportunity to bring her legacy to life and show the fullness of her being, her humanity and brilliance, is an honor. 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. I feel privileged and excited to be a part of the sharing of her genius.”


“Cynthia Erivo blew me away. Not only is she an incredible and bona fide star, but she is soulful and has tremendous depth as a musical artist,” said executive producer Brian Grazer. “Cynthia is the perfect person to portray the profoundly human story behind the genius that is Aretha.”

“The fabulously talented Cynthia Erivo is dream casting to play iconic musical genius Aretha Franklin,” said Carolyn Bernstein, EVP, global scripted content and documentary films, National Geographic. “On the heels of her Tony Award-winning turn in ‘The Color Purple’ and breakout performance in upcoming feature film ‘Harriet,’ we can’t wait to see Cynthia bring her fierceness to the role as the Queen of Soul.”

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