Franklin casting musical based on her life

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SOUTHFIELD, Mich. -- The Queen of Soul is looking for a few good subjects.

Auditions for singing and non-singing parts in a musical production based on Aretha Franklin's autobiography will be held May 1-3 in suburban Detroit.

The musical based on the 1999 best-seller, "Aretha: From These Roots," is tentatively set to premiere in Franklin's hometown of Detroit next March.

The 65-year-old Grammy winner will help choose the performers who will portray her at various ages, as well as relatives, close friends, background singers and musical colleagues including Sam Cooke, Dinah Washington, Smokey Robinson and pianist Art Tatum.

Roles to be cast include LaRue Mann, Franklin's wardrobe mistress, whose surrogate should possess "sharp features, lots of personality and (be) bubbly," a statement from Franklin's publicists said Monday.

The actor portraying suitor Ken Cunningham should be, among other things, "slim, with a perfect set of teeth, cool and fun."

Hits by Franklin include "Respect," "Chain of Fools" and "Freeway of Love."
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