Aretha Franklin Considering Putting Her Life Story on Broadway

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Aretha Franklin performs in concert at Microsoft Theater on August 2, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. 

The Queen of Soul is ready to spread some R-E-S-P-E-C-T on the Great White Way.

Aretha Franklin has spoken for years about a possible biopic with the Lifetime Channel. But now she's also eyeballing Broadway as a good home for her life story, too. "I would like to see it be a dramatic musical," Franklin tells Billboard. "I loved The Motown Musical; it was so great. I think the timing is very good now, especially behind Jersey BoysCarole King [Beautiful]. Gloria Estefan has come to Broadway now [On Your Feet] and why not Aretha?"

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Franklin -- who will be honored at the National Portrait Gallery's inaugural American Portrait Gala on Nov. 15 in Washington, D.C. -- says she's in talks with a award-winning actress-director Marsha Mason to work on the production, who's "very amenable and would love to do it."

She had hoped to meet with longtime collaborator Clive Davis in Las Vegas to discuss his backing the musical, as well as plans for a follow-up to last fall's Aretha Franklin Sings the Great Diva Classics, but that was scotched when she had to cancel the show due to exhaustion after a successful run of celebrity guest-filled shows in California. 

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"I'm feeling much better now," reports Franklin, who plays a hometown show at Detroit's Chene Park Amphitheatre on Saturday night. [Aug. 21] "I needed to break right at this point. You have to take care of yourself first, and I really needed a break right there. It was just a little too much at that point. Regretfully it was just before Caesars Palace; I was really looking forward to that. But those things happen, and you have to do what you have to do."

Franklin has plenty of other items on her to-do list, meanwhile. She's helping her son Kecalf, a Christian rapper, and grandson Jordan, a writer and producer, find deals. And she'll be producing an all-star gospel concert during the fall at her late father's New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit with Shirley Caesar, Vanessa Bell Armstrong, the Williams Brothers and others. On top of that, Franklin this year celebrates the 30th anniversary of her Grammy Award-winning Who's Zoomin' Who album and its top 5 hit "Freeway Of Love."

"I liked 'Freeway,'" she says. "I really did like 'Freeway' and usually when I really like a song like that, people like it, too. 'Jump To It' was kind of obvious to me; I said, 'People are gonna love this,' and they did. Same with 'Freeway.'"


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