Shoshana Bean and Cynthia Erivo are two of Broadway’s most beloved performers, and their talents have taken them from the theater world to Hollywood and concert stages across the globe. The longtime pals, however, are choosing to spend their holiday season by returning to their first love: music.
The singer-actresses are coming to New York’s Apollo Theater Dec. 17 for “Night Divine,” which is billed as a “soulful musical celebration” inspired by the likes of Judy Garland, Barbra Streisand and the television variety shows of yesteryear. The night’s emphasis will, of course, be on holiday songs, but if Bean’s previous collaborations with Erivo are any indication, there’ll be plenty of surprises, too. Actor and singer Michael McElroy and the Broadway Inspirational Voices will be joining the pair as special guests.
(Check out a clip of the two singing Taylor Swift’s “I Did Something Bad” live in July above.)
“My goal is to make it grand and big, and feel classic,” Bean, whose credits include “Hairspray” and “Wicked,” told HuffPost. “The holidays are a beautifully nostalgic time, but they can also be a difficult time for people. So I think Cynthia and I are just hoping to create an intimate experience, especially this year.”
Erivo, who nabbed a Tony Award for her star-making turn in the 2015 revival of “The Color Purple,” echoed her sentiments.
“I feel like our voices really belong together,” she said. “When I’m onstage with her, it’s truly being with a friend. That’s something that’s hard to come by, which is why I’m really excited about getting the chance to spend some time with her making music.”
Bean’s premiere July 30 event at the Apollo drew a host of celebrities, including former first daughter Chelsea Clinton and “Modern Family” actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson. No doubt the added draw of Erivo ― who made a guest appearance at the previous show ― as co-headliner will raise the star wattage at the Dec. 17 show even further.
Though Bean and Erivo remain most associated with their work in musical theater, both women have expanded their respective oeuvres into other artistic realms. In February, Bean released her fourth studio album, “Spectrum,” which featured original music as well as jazzy renditions of Ed Sheeran and Rihanna songs. Erivo, meanwhile, hit the big screen alongside Viola Davis and Colin Farrell in “Widows,” and is currently filming “Harriet,” a forthcoming biopic of abolitionist Harriet Tubman.
Capping the year with a concert is particularly fitting, as both women are hoping to hit the recording studio in 2019.
“You’ll probably see more of me as a person who has been in love, been heartbroken,” Erivo said of her planned album. “You’ll see the vulnerability; you might see more of my sexuality. You’ll probably see more of me as a daughter and a sister.”
Bean, meanwhile, wants to pick up where her album “Spectrum” left off. She said she is “dying” to collaborate with songwriters Alisan Porter and Philip Lawrence on new material. “I really wanna get in the room with other people,” she added, “and see what we can create together.”
For now, however, Bean’s focus is “infusing” her Apollo audience “with light and love” for the holidays, particularly after a politically divisive year.
“This year’s been so hard, socially and politically, for everyone,” she said. “I want this to be a beautiful opportunity for us to close out the year and heal with music and fellowship.”