Universal Music to Co-Produce Russell Simmons' Hip-Hop Musical 'The Scenario'
The productions will feature an original story by hip-hop historian Dan Charnas.
Universal Music Group has signed on as a lead producer of The Scenario, Russell Simmons' long-in-the-works Broadway music celebrating hip-hop culture. The show, announced in March 2015, is now shooting to premier during the 2017-18 Broadway season before embarking on a national tour.
The Scenario will feature an original story by hip-hop historian Dan Charnas, who is weaving the genre's "groundbreaking rhythms, iconic songs and timeless ideas with a completely original story that will take audiences on an electrifying ride that celebrates hip hop culture."
A lineup of songs has not yet been revealed. Previous "jukebox musicals" -- original productions featuring well-known hits -- have featured punk songs, doo-wop, hair metal, Abba songs and Carole King, but the hip-hop genre has yet to produce a Broadway hit (Hamilton excluded since it is original music).
"It's an honor to join Russell in producing the The Scenario, which promises to provide fans with an exciting live experience of iconic songs that still influence music today," said Michele Anthony, executive vp of Universal Music Group. "With this project, UMG continues to build on our history of helping to produce prominent theatrical productions that tap into our unparalleled artist roster and music."
Simmons co-founded Def Jam Records in 1983 and sold his share of the label to UMG in 1996. In a statement, he calls the major label group a "pillar partner of mine for many years. Their support and resources will be immensely important in staging this extraordinary musical experience, and we could not be more excited to be moving forward with such a platinum-level producing team."
Simmons and UMG are sharing producer credit on the new musical with Jake Stein of Def Pictures; and Scott Prisoned and Jamie Bendell of Big Block. Jumpstart Entertainment is serving as general manager. Cast and creative team will be announced at a later date.