“Probably the next thing I’ll do [on Broadway] is a one-woman show about Moms Mabley. I can do her material, and the material still works.”
Whoopi Goldberg responding to a question from Broadway.com, while on the red carpet at the Neil Simon Theatre on October 7, at an event to celebrate the opening night of Big Fish.
It certainly would make sense, following the feature documentary of Mabley that she directed, titled Moms Mabley: I Got Somethin’ to Tell You, which had its world premiere at the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival, and was later picked up by HBO.
In the film, Goldberg explores Mabley’s legacy through recently unearthed photography, rediscovered performance footage and the words of numerous celebrated comedians, entertainers and historians, including Eddie Murphy, Joan Rivers, Sidney Poitier, Kathy Griffin, Harry Belafonte, Bill Cosby, Quincy Jones, Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara.
Mabley tackled topics such as gender, sex and racism, making her one of the first triple X-rated comedians on the comedy circuit. Once billed as “The Funniest Woman in the World,” she performed on stage and in television and film up until her death in 1975.
“Moms Mabley has been a huge inspiration to me and so many others, but not a lot of folks outside of the comedy world know about her legacy,” said Goldberg in a statement. “There are a lot of us who wouldn’t be working today without pioneers like her. HBO gave me my first break on TV, so it’s only fitting that Moms has a home there now.“
While Whoopi didn’t actually appear in the Broadway adaptation of her hit movie franchise, Sister Act, she was one of its producers. She last appeared on the Broadway stage during the 2007-2008 season, in a production of Xanadu, as a performer replacement; before that was her 1-woman show, Whoopi, during the 2004-2005 season.