Rebecca S., Here…
Tony Award-nominated producer Matthew Weaver (Rock of Ages) of TV, stage, and movie production company MediaWeaver Entertainment, has acquired the theatrical stage rights to the musical/variety TV series “Soul Train” and, it seems, intends on turning it into a stage musical.
The classic television series, which was created in 1970 by Don Cornelius, introduced the world to new music, which put the spotlight on soul, R&B, and hip hop acts, and to a whole new series of dance moves and styles every week. Growing up in Texas in the 80s “Soul Train” was my first glimpse that not all people were white (seriously, this was mind blowing for me) and that there were people in the world that could dance. Not like I had seen dancing before which was typically like a third grade dance with hands placed firmly on shoulders while the couple spun slowly in a circle. The men and women of the Troupe on “Soul Train” were graceful and soulful, beautiful and passionate. I had no knowledge, before the age of 8, that dancing could be… well… fun.
“Don Cornelius created a television show that became a cornerstone in American culture and I am excited and honored to be bringing it to the stage,” Weaver said in a statement. “We are putting together a top notch team of artists to ensure Soul Train is the hippest trip on Broadway. We want to thrill the audiences who loved the TV show and introduce the incredible music and style of Soul Train to a new generation.”
This adaptation of the show (which ran for 35 years and is the longest running, first-run, nationally syndicated music program in television history) will be similar to ‘Rock of Ages‘ in its half-musical/half-party atmosphere, while sampling hit songs from the era.
This is great news for musicals in general, as it is difficult to be a smash hit without a known brand to hang your hat on, and though they have not yet said in what time the musical will take place “Soul Train” is such a recognizable brand that the style and music lend itself well to a stage show… unlike some other recognizable names that should have known better than try and become stage shows. I’m looking at you “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.” It is also (I assume and hope) great news for the fantastic African-American singers in the Broadway community. There is not a lot of new material being made out there for that community and there are far too many talented singers and dancers and not nearly enough rolls to between them. I hope that this will be a hit, and I for one can’t wait to take my ride on the “Soul Train.”