By and large, musicals are great. Anyone who can sit through Mamma Mia or South Pacific without breaking into either full-throated singing or at least a massive, massive grin isn’t to be trusted. There’s a reason why dinner and show is such a much-loved way to while away a Saturday night. OK, so no one under the age of 55 actually does that anymore, but the idea is nice. And sometimes that’s all that matters.
As great as musicals are, we’ve often found ourselves halfway through a performance of Starlight Express wishing that a director would be brave enough to take on the romantically grimy world of New York’s early-80s downtown art scene. Our prayers have been answered by Tony-winning director John Doyle who has announced that he’s working on a musical about the one and only Jean-Michel Basquiat, and it’ll debut on Broadway.
Hot on the heels of the blockbuster Boom for Real retrospective, which explored the work of the still hugely influential and adored street artist in rich and important detail, Broadway bigwigs Barbara and Alan D. Marks will be producing the show, and the whole thing will be scored by composer Jon Batiste.
There’s no title, or opening night, pencilled in yet, but in a statement released yesterday, Jean-Michel’s sisters Lisane and Jeanine Basquiat say:
“Over the years, many people have approached us about telling our brother’s story on stage. But having discussed this project with the Marks over many months, our interest was piqued once we understood that their approach to telling our brother’s story treats his life, his art and his legacy with respect and passion.”
While you eagerly await more information about the musical, why not read our 2017 interview with Boom for Real curator Lotte Johnson.