Prince’s 1984 musical drama film “Purple Rain” is being adapted into a Broadway stage musical, set to have its world premiere in 2024. The new production will bring the classic film’s unforgettable music and story to life in an all-new format for both longtime fans and new audiences.
Development History & Creative Team
The stage adaptation of “Purple Rain” has been in development for several years. In 2021, the Prince Estate and Broadway producers announced they had secured the rights to develop a musical version. They brought on acclaimed playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins to write the book and Lileana Blain-Cruz to direct.
Jacobs-Jenkins is a rising talent in the theater world, having written acclaimed and provocative works like “An Octoroon” and “Appropriate.” He seems an intriguing choice to adapt the iconic music and story of “Purple Rain.” Meanwhile, Blain-Cruz earned a Tony nomination for Best Direction in 2022 for her production of “The Skin of Our Teeth.”
The Original Film
“Purple Rain” the film starred Prince in his acting debut, playing “The Kid,” a talented but troubled musician. It featured Prince’s real-life band The Revolution and included several unforgettable musical performances of songs like “When Doves Cry” and the epic title track.
Released in 1984, the semi-autobiographical musical drama was a surprise smash hit. Despite a small budget of $7 million, it earned over $70 million at the box office and catapulted Prince to global superstardom. The accompanying soundtrack was a critical and commercial blockbuster, selling over 25 million copies worldwide.
|$70+ million gross on $7 million budget
|Over 25 million copies sold
|Academy Award for Best Original Song Score
Excitement Over New Adaptation
The announcement of the stage adaptation has been met with excitement from Broadway figures and Prince fans. However, some wonder whether the show will live up to the iconic original film.
Jacobs-Jenkins has said he plans to expand on the characters and story while keeping the classic music intact. In an interview with NBC New York, the playwright said:
“I’m excited about deepening the characters from the film and building out their stories more fully. I think there’s an opportunity there to explore these characters and their world from the film.”
Meanwhile, director Lileana Blain-Cruz told The Hollywood Reporter:
“The beauty of Prince’s music and the story of ‘Purple Rain’ has the potential to really come alive on stage…I’m eager to collaborate with this creative team to make something special that honors the legacy of this iconic film while creating something all its own.”
No casting information has been announced yet. It remains to be seen whether the central role of “The Kid” would go to a newcomer or an established music star.
The “Purple Rain” musical is currently scheduled to begin performances in Summer 2024. The world premiere will take place at the Nederlander Theatre on Broadway, with opening night set for early Fall 2024.
The show is poised to be one of the most high-profile openings of 2024. It will face sky-high expectations from fans and critics alike.
Following the Broadway run, a national tour and international productions are expected to follow. The musical could potentially run for years as an ongoing tribute the late music icon’s enduring legacy.
40 years after the original film’s release, Prince’s Purple Rain continues to reign on in the hearts of generations of fans. Now theatergoers can look forward to experiencing the magic of his music anew when “Purple Rain” takes the stage.
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