Russell Simmons to Celebrate Hip-Hop With Broadway Musical ‘The Scenario’
Russell Simmons is bringing hip-hop to the Great White Way. The rap impresario is producing a new Broadway musical on the early days of hip-hop titled The Scenario.
The stage production will feature rap hits from the 1980s to current times. According to the Associated Press, Simmons will produce the show along with Tony Award-winning producer Scott Prisand, who created the successful Rock of Ages musical on Broadway.
"Hip-hop's explosion was fueled by a generation with an incredible hunger to discover new ways of expression," said Simmons in a statement. "It felt like such a natural fit to weave the best of these sounds and stories into an energetic and thrilling musical that would transport audiences through one of the most innovative artistic movements of our time."
Hip-hop historian Dan Charnas penned an initial draft of the show's story. Charnas is the author of the great book The Big Payback, which chronicles the business side of rap from the creation of Sugar Hill Records to Def Jam Recordings.
The Scenario marks Simmons’ second musical following his Def Poetry Jam on Broadway in 2002, for which he won a Tony Award.
However, hip-hop-inspired musicals haven't fared so well on Broadway lately. Last year, the Tupac Shakur musical Holler If Ya Hear Me was shut down after a six-week stint. The lead producer, Eric L. Gold, said that he made a "rookie mistake" in underestimating the amount of funding needed to sustain a big production.
Russell Simmons hopes to bring The Scenario to the Broadway stage in late 2016.