Some Like It Hot: Amber Ruffin’s Broadway Triumph

On this day in 2022, the Broadway musical Some Like it Hot played its first preview. The award-winning show is directed and choreographed by Casey Nicholaw, with a book by Matthew López and Amber Ruffin, and music by Marc Shaiman with lyrics by Scott Whittman and Marc Shaiman. Today is a perfect day is celebrate its run on Broadway and the hilarious comedienne Amber Ruffin!

Broadway is no stranger to the movie musical adaptation. Recent years have brought a number of familiar stories to the stage including shows like Moulin Rouge!, Mrs. Doubtfire, and Beetlejuice. The 2022-2023 season dug a bit deeper into the archives with a musical adaptation of the classic 1959 comedy Some Like It Hot. It led the pack with thirteen Tony nominations (winning four), along with multiple Outer Critics Awards, a Drama League Award, and numerous Drama Desk Awards, including Outstanding Book Of A Musical for Matthew and Amber.

Some Like It Hot tells the story of two buddies, Joe and Jerry, looking for work as musicians and performers. In a twist of bad luck, they witness a mob hit and suddenly find their lives on the line. To get out of town quick while still making a buck, Joe and Jerry disguise themselves as Josephine and Daphne, two women looking for work. They manage to slip their way into Sweet Sue’s female only band headed out on a US tour. Antics ensue as the mob hunts them down and Joe and Jerry find romance and true identity tugging them in different directions. 

Click on image to enlarge.

Some Like It Hot is a wonderful night out at the theatre. With all the jazzy song and dance numbers one expects to see on Broadway, the show still manages to resonate with a thrilling newness and modernity. The comfort and thrill of the Golden Age meets modern entertainment with an exciting level of ease. 

The star-studded cast of Some Like It Hot features J. Harrison Ghee as Jerry/Daphne and Christian Borle as Joe/Josephine. They’re joined by Adrianna Hicks as Sugar and NaTasha Yvette Williams as Sweet Sue. 

Amber Ruffin is a fabulously talented writer and comedienne who brings Some Like It Hot to life with renewed vigor.

Amber Ruffin is a fabulously talented writer and comedienne who brings Some Like It Hot to life with renewed vigor. The jokes are smart and laugh out loud, the dialogue is witty and fun. The characters are lively and exist in their era with the flair of modern sensibility. Amber is an artist to watch especially as she makes such a successful transition into the world of Broadway.

Amber was born in Omaha (NE), where she kicked off her career performing with local improv and theatre groups. She later moved to Chicago where she attended iO Theater, an improv theatre and training center. From there, she crossed the pond to work with Boom Chicago Amsterdam in the Netherlands. 

Upon returning to Chicago, Amber performed with The Second City, the famous improv troupe that sourced comedy royalty like Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, and Amy Sedaris.

As a member of Sacred Fools Theater Company, Amber dipped her toe into the world of musical comedy when she co-wrote King of Kong: A Musical Parody with Lauren van Kurin. It was directed by Brendan Hunt with music by David Schmoll. The parody won Best Overall Musical at the 2014 New York International Fringe Festival and Best Musical & Outstanding Songwriting at the 2015 Hollywood Fringe Festival.

In 2014, Amber joined the writing team of Late Night with Seth Meyers. She put her versatile skills to use, powering the comedy of the show. She earned her own recurring segments including “Amber Says What?,” “Jokes Seth Can’t Tell,” and  “Amber’s Minute of Fury.” 

“Amber Ruffin combines a boundless optimism for the best humanity has to offer with a wary eye for when it lets us down,” Seth Meyers said of Amber in 2021.

“Amber Ruffin combines a boundless optimism for the best humanity has to offer with a wary eye for when it lets us down,” Seth Meyers said of Amber in his profile authored in 2021 TIME100 Next.

Alongside writing for Seth Meyers, Amber shouldered a slew of impressive projects including writing for Detroiters and narrating Drunk History. In 2017, she was nominated for a Writers Guild of America Award and in 2018 she hosted the ceremony. In 2019, she wrote for the series A Black Lady Sketch Show, a series spotlighting black women in sketch comedy.

In 2020, Amber took the reins of her own late night series, The Amber Ruffin Show. The series is a modern take on the late night format, leaning away from the talk show style and focusing on sketches and improv comedy. The Amber Ruffin Show was nominated for a Writers Guild of America award and a Primetime Emmy Award. It is available to stream on Peacock.

Amber’s comedy is topical, satirical, and fearless.

Amber’s comedy is topical, satirical, and fearless. She uses her trademark charm injected with poise and smartly crafted social commentary. The Amber Ruffin Show is the perfect example of how she is making a unique and much needed mark on the world of sketch comedy. 

Tackling yet another medium with her impressive talent, Amber teamed up with her sister Lacey Lamar to write two books. You’ll Never Believe What Happened to Lacey: Crazy Stories about Racism was released in 2021 and landed on the New York Times best seller list. The pair released The World Record Book of Racist Stories in November of 2022. 

Amber made her first foray into Broadway as a guest performer in a number of performances of the improv show Freestyle Love Supreme, produced by Lin-Manuel Miranda. 

Some Like It Hot is her first writing credit on Broadway. Her book co-written with Matthew López is tenacious and clever, perfectly suited to the modern audience without abandoning the 1930’s setting of the story. 

If there’s one thing to be said about Some Like It Hot, it’s that the show is, quite simply, a good time. It’s a pleasant romp with enjoyable characters and is sure to appeal to and entertain audiences of all ages. The music is catchy and exciting, the dance numbers are electric, and the story is silly but heartfelt. 

Amber Ruffin is one of the leaders of modern comedy, capable of everything from political satire to musical hijinx.

Amber Ruffin is one of the leaders of modern comedy, capable of everything from political satire to musical hijinx. Her approach is unapologetic and finds the humor through responsible commentary. Amber’s work is a masterclass in versatility and honesty. 

Be sure to catch Some Like It Hot on Broadway, playing at the Shubert Theater until December 30, 2023. If you can’t make it to New York City before the show closes, don’t worry: a national tour is in the works for Fall 2024. Or better yet, press play on the cast recording and explore the hilarious and poignant comedy of Amber Ruffin!  

© Julie Musbach (11/1/2023) FF2 Media


Read Amber’s feature in 2021’s TIME100 Next written by Seth Meyers.

Watch Amber discuss the adaptation process of Some Like It Hot on The View.

Watch the cast of Some Like It Hot perform on Late Night with Seth Meyers. 

Learn more about the upcoming national tour of Some Like It Hot.

Watch The Amber Ruffin Show on Peacock.


Featured photo: Adrianna Hicks stars as Sugar in Some Like It Hot on Broadway. Production photo by Matthew Murphy.

Medium photo: Some Like It Hot Big Sky Drive-In Advertisement as shown in California, 1959. Photo in the public domain.

Bottom photo: Amber Ruffin photo licensed through Creative Commons.

Tags: A Black Lady Sketch Show, Adrianna Hicks, Amber Ruffin, Broadway, Julie Musbach, Marilyn Monroe, Milestone, Musical Theater, New York City, Some Like It Hot

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Julie Musbach began her career in Sydney, Australia and has since tackled many a career. From film and television production to theatre publicity and journalism, she has enjoyed life on set and on the red carpet. Julie has also spent time living in Minnesota, California, Massachusetts, Washington, DC, and Edinburgh, Scotland. Currently residing in New York City, she fosters a passionate love for medical dramas, cheese, and a little black cat called Stevie Nyx.
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