NEW YORK — When Toni Braxton begins her four-month Broadway run as star of the Disney musical "Aida" on June 30, she'll have at least one of her good friends coming out and showing support.
"I ain't never been [to Broadway, but] I'mma come check you out," Cash Money's Baby, who was seated next to Braxton in an MTV studio, said to his buddy and song collaborator last week. "I'mma come with about 50 of the homies, ya dig? We're gonna take [up] the whole upstairs section. I ain't trying to be down[stairs]. I'mma peep the play."
Maybe Baby will even give one of his patented birdcalls if T.B. garners an ovation.
"What's the name of [the show], 'Iesha'?" he asked with a wide grin, showing off his sparkly diamond-encrusted chompers.
"It's not 'Iesha,' " Braxton laughed, sharing in the amusement. "It's 'Aida,' dammit. That would make the play really ghetto, if it was 'Iesha.' "
"What is it, 'I'eema?' " he carried on with his ribbing, chuckling lightly. "I'll be there to peep that. Believe that."
Braxton first stepped under the bright lights of the stage in 1998 as the female lead in the Broadway production of "Beauty and the Beast" (see "Toni Braxton's Broadway Debut Set"). The Grammy Award winner says she welcomes the opportunity to do a musical once again.
"Coming back, I'm really excited. I love Broadway," Braxton said. "It gives me a chance to sing [and act] at the same time. The younger audiences will come, hopefully, to see me in it. The theater is so important for younger people. It adds a little bit of culture [and] it helps in our music. Broadway is one of the reasons we do what we do. Music has so many different faces."
Braxton is once again recording music as well. She recently changed record labels, leaving her first home, Arista, for Blackground. Other than the Cash Money Millionaires, she's not quite sure about who she's going to work with, but wants to deliver a nice mixture of songs on her next LP, which is slated for a fall release.
"My albums are always kinda eclectic," she explained about her collaborations. "It can be anything from David Foster, to Babyface, to Cash Money — it can be anyone. We're just in the preliminary parts of it right now, working it out. I'm going to do my traditional sad, love song ballads, of course, and get some dance tracks in it as well."
Baby and Toni first worked together for "Baby You Can Do It" off of last year's Birdman album (see "Cash Money's Baby Makes Video Plans With P. Diddy, Toni Braxton"). Other than her next LP, the two are slated to once again team up on the Big Tymers' upcoming Big Money Heavyweights, which is due later this year.