Run-DMC: The Musical? It’s Tricky, But It’s on the Way
Here's a blueprint to try on for size. First, revolutionize a budding musical genre, say hip-hop. Second, get inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, as a hip-hop act. Third, take your life's work and experience and adapt it into a stage musical.
If you just did a double take, you're probably not alone. Yet, it looks like Run-DMC is going Broadway.
This week, the group's surviving members, Joseph "Rev Run" Simmons and Darryl "DMC" McDaniels, are meeting with producer Paula Wagner about bringing their story and infinitely quotable music to the stage.
Along with the Beastie Boys, Run-DMC took hip-hop to the mainstream, bringing new attitudes, styles and some excellent party jams to the table for the masses while still retaining a complete sense of their roots. They also created, along with producer Rick Rubin, a hybrid of rap and metal-inflected rock that was unimaginable at the time.
"I feel their story lends itself perfectly to the stage," says Wagner in an interview with Variety. "The project has been a passion of mine for some time and I couldn't be more thrilled to be working with them." Wagner is best known as a film producer who has worked extensively with Tom Cruise on the 'Mission: Impossible' series, 'Valkyrie,' 'The Last Samurai' and 'Vanilla Sky.'
From humble beginnings in Queens to international stardom, Run-DMC certainly has the stories and music to fill-out a dramatic and compelling Broadway musical. The still-unsolved 2002 murder of Jam Master Jay added a violent, sobering twist to their tale and a well-written show could put the group's storied history in perspective.
This is not the only attempt to put the Run-DMC story into a bigger context. At the beginning of this year, The Boombox reported 'Notorious' screenwriter Cheo Hadari Coker was in talks to adapt Bill Adler's book 'Tougher Than Leather: The Rise of Run-DMC: The Authorized Biography' to the big screen.
Additionally, the documentary 'Two Turntables and a Microphone: The Life and Death of Jam Master Jay,' will be released November 23 with 50 Cent's CD/DVD bundle, 'Before I Self Destruct.'