Updated with a first look at Jasmine Amy Rogers performing as Betty Boop:
Jasmine Amy Rogers, known for her recent role as Gretchen Wieners in the national tour of “Mean Girls,” is set to take center stage in the title role of “BOOP! The Betty Boop Musical.” The production is gearing up for its pre-Broadway world premiere, running from November 19 to December 24 at Chicago’s CIBC Theatre.
The musical, directed and choreographed by Tony winner Jerry Mitchell, brings the beloved cartoon character Betty Boop to life. In a statement, Mitchell expressed confidence in Rogers, praising her versatile talents in acting, singing, and dancing, which align perfectly with the character’s charm and appeal.
“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.”
Behind the scenes, the creative team is hard at work to ensure this musical captures the essence of Betty Boop’s world. Notable names like David Rockwell, Gregg Barnes, Philip S. Rosenberg, Gareth Owen, Finn Ross, and Daryl Waters are contributing their expertise in set design, costume design, lighting, sound, projection design, and musical supervision.
The musical is based on the iconic characters created by Max Fleischer. It features music by Grammy winner David Foster, lyrics by Tony nominee Susan Birkenhead, and a book by Tony winner Bob Martin.
The storyline of “BOOP! The Betty Boop Musical” revolves around Betty’s desire for an ordinary day away from her super-celebrity status in her black-and-white world. Her quest leads her on an adventure filled with color, music, and love in the heart of New York City. The musical promises to deliver a message that resonates with both Betty and the audience: “You are capable of amazing things.”
Betty Boop, introduced to the world in 1930, initially appeared as a dog-like stage performer alongside another character named Bimbo. Inspired by the vibrant Jazz Age flappers of the 1920s, Betty evolved into a fully realized human character. By 1932, she became the world’s only female animated screen star, with Mae Questel providing her distinctive voice. Betty starred in over 100 cartoons, with 90 of them forming the official Betty Boop series, concluding in 1939.
It’s worth noting the Black historical connection associated with Betty Boop’s creation. Esther Jones, known on stage as “Baby Esther,” is widely credited with being the inspiration behind the character. Born in 1918 in Chicago, Illinois, Jones began her entertainment journey at a young age, winning a Charleston dance contest at just six years old. At seven, she moved to Harlem, New York, where her unique singing style, characterized by baby-like sounds of “b” and “d” sounds and nonsense syllables such as Boo-Boo-Boo’ and ‘Doo-Doo-Doo’ and scat singing made her a sought-after child performer. She even became known for her exceptional black-bottom dancing.
In 1930, a lawsuit was brought by Helen Kane, a white performer who sued Fleisher Studios for appropriating her “Betty Boop” character. That lawsuit would reveal the true origins of Betty Boop. During the trial, it was unveiled that Kane had imitated Jones’ scat act and even performed the same song, “I Want to Be Loved By You,” which included the famous “Boop-Boop-a-Doop” reference. The lawsuit ultimately recognized neither Kane nor Jones as the source.
As of now the there is no official date or theater for its Broadway run. Additional casting will be released at a later date.
“We’re happy to get the kind of money that jingles, but we’d rather get the kind that folds.” – Lisa, Coming to America
Message From the Founder (Me):
First, thank you so much for visiting BLEX. Building this brand is a labor of love and my way of celebrating the beauty and diversity of Black culture in Hollywood. While building this brand is a labor of love, I rely on the support of people like you to keep the site and social platforms running. If you believe in what Blex Media stands for and enjoy the content I produce, please consider donating a cup of coffee. Your contribution helps me keep the site running will enable me to expand my team and improve Blex’s platform. Thank you for being a part of the Blex community!