Al Roker will be taking on the role of Ol’ Joe in the musical Waitress on Broadway, TODAY announced on Wednesday morning.
The iconic weatherman, 64, will be singing on stage for six weeks this fall, from Oct. 5 through Nov. 11, as the gruff owner of the diner at the center of the story. He’s already been rehearsing the famous song, “Take It From an Old Man.”
“Real people will pay real money to watch me!” he joked with his fellow anchors, adding, “As a singer, I’m a terrific weatherman.”
Roker’s part was originally portrayed by Andy Griffith in the 2007 movie about Jenna (Kerri Russell), an exasperated waitress with a secret talent for baking pies. Unhappily married, Jenna becomes pregnant, leaves town, and has an affair with a doctor. Much of the music and lyrics was written by Sara Bareilles, who’s starred in the Broadway production on and off.
While Roker plays the part of perpetually upbeat TODAY host most mornings, he and his wife Deborah Roberts, an ABC journalist, face off-camera struggles. The couple recently opened up to PEOPLE about the developmental delays that their their 15-year-old son Nicholas has faced.
“There has been a stigma over the years, especially if it’s not an obvious challenge that people know,” Roberts told PEOPLE. “I think to be able to share and inspire and to give other people the encouragement, I think that life can be enriched and can be better and can be in some ways richer when you are loving and supporting and dealing with somebody who is dealing with challenges.”
And Roker expressed his hope that people can be “more open and accepting of people with these challenges.”
Referencing President Donald Trump, he added, “There’s been a lot of talk about building big, beautiful walls. Well, we have to tear down those walls, tear them down, make them nice.”