Sunday, November 29, 2009

"WALK THIS WAY": RAP AND HIP-HOP ON BROADWAY: RUN-DMC MUSICAL PLANNED WITH TOM CRUISE PARTNER, PAULA WAGNER

A few weeks back I'd gotten the word that a RUN-DMC musical was being planned in partnership between the surviving members of the "Hollis Crew" (AKA RUN-DMC) and Tom Cruise film production partner Paula Wagner. You can read more about this below and via the provided link (to the NYTimes online story). Hearing this news got the wheels spinning about Rap and Hip-Hop's relationship with live theater (or the lack there of). So in the weeks ahead we'll post on a few shows we suspect have had great impact in our arriving at this royal moment in time with RUN-DMC's music/life story heading to "the great white way."



From the New York Times online:

RUN-DMC Musical Is Planned

They helped bring hip-hop to the mainstream, revitalized the career of Aerosmith and now, Run-DMC could be headed to Broadway.

Paula Wagner, the veteran Hollywood producer, said that her Chestnut Ridge Productions company was working with the rappers Joseph Simmons (known as Run) and Darryl McDaniels (DMC) as well as the estate of Jason Mizell (Jam Master Jay) to produce a stage musical about Run-DMC, the seminal hip-hop group.

“Their work speaks to everybody,” Ms. Wagner said in a telephone interview, “and the story of their rise to fame is innately theatrical.”

Ms. Wagner is best known for her long association with Tom Cruise, having worked as his agent, a producer of several of his films (including the “Mission: Impossible” movies and “War of the Worlds”) and the chief executive of his revived United Artists studio. She began her career on stage as a 13-year-old actor at the Youngstown Theater in Ohio. She earned her B.F.A. in theater at the Carnegie Mellon School of Drama, has published plays of her own and performed at the Yale Repertory Theater.

Ms. Wagner said she was also a lifelong Run-DMC fan. “Their lyrics and their music is infectious,” she said. “It’s vibrant, it’s alive. Who they are and what they did was a culturally defining moment. It embraced everybody.”

Ms. Wagner acknowledged that her film-producing experience was no guarantee that she could execute a stage musical, and she said she was talking to other producers and potential team members to help bring the project to Broadway. “I have a number of good friends,” she said, “and I think I will be turning to all my friends.”

Ms. Wagner said there was no timetable for the Run-DMC project to come to Broadway, and no specific shows that it was seeking to emulate — though she and Mr. Simmons and Mr. McDaniels did take in a performance of “In the Heights” last week.

Read more about the RUN-DMC/Paula Wagner team-up here.


Side note: We found the only two dicusssion board posts to be very interesting and both raised valid points about Rap and Hip-Hop on Broadway and what qualifications Paula Wagner has to be even stepping to the story of the "Kings from Queens" from the giddy-up! You can read them below.

ARTICLE COMMENTS:

1.)

groan…

The commodification of hip-hop continues, much to its detriment. A truly special art form instrinsically tied to the history of NYC will be played out in tights on the Great White Way. I can’t wait for “Beastie Boys On Ice.”

And what exactly qualifies Ms. Wagner to take on such a project? Owning a couple CDs does not imbue one with a true understanding of the group’s contributions to the advancement of rap music.

On the business front, I really don’t see the retired matinee set lining up for this one, nor the tour bus folks from Middle America. TDF, here I come.

— lowbrow


2.)

lowbrow -

Have you ever been to a musical? It’s not all rainbows and unicorns like you make it out to be. I remember going to the Queen musical awhile back and it was one of the most enjoying experiences of my life. The ending was the entire audience stomping their feet to “We Will Rock You” and then singing along to “Bohemian Rhapsody”. If this Run DMC musical is anything like that, I’m sure it will stick in my memory for years to come considering how big of a hiphop fan I am.

— John

1 comment:

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