Basquiat, the Musical? Coming Soon…

Graffiti artist turned celebrity artist, Jean-Michel Basquiat’s story will soon be hitting the Great White Way. The show will be produced by Alan D. Marks (Dear, Evan Hansen) and Barbara Marks. The director is John Doyle (Sweeney Todd), and Jon Batiste, the current band leader for CBS’ The Late Show with Stephen Colbert will be the musical director.

The show will follow Basquiat’s rise from cardboard box house street artist in the 1970’s to the boy genius of the 1980’s whose art was showing in the best galleries in the world with some of the largest price tags of the time. Basquiat’s story ends abruptly as he died of an accidental drug overdose in 1988. His life was colorful both in his bold art-style and in the wild lifestyle choices that he made. He had infamous affairs with celebrities, including Madonna and painted with some of the most famous living artists of the time including Andy Warhol.

“I want people to leave this show inspired to create, I want them to not only learn about Jean Michel Basquiat, an innovator, but to also feel the visceral thrill of the creative process and to deepen and discover their own creativity,” musical and lyrical composer Batiste said. “We have an opportunity to tell a truly profound story, full of emotional highs and lows, with unbelievable art at the center. I’m honored to work with veteran storyteller John Doyle, the Marks and the Basquiat family. We are assembling a team to help craft a boundary pushing masterpiece inspired by a true American original.” Billboard

Basquiat’s sisters Lisane Basquiat and Jeanine Basquiat said in a statement, “Over the years, many people have approached us about telling our brother’s story on stage. But having discussed this project with the Marks over many months, our interest was piqued once we understood that their approach to telling our brother’s story treats his life, his art and his legacy with respect and passion. With Jon Batiste and John Doyle leading the creative team, we are thrilled with the possibilities. We cannot wait to begin the developmental process. Broadway is a new world for us, and we looking forward to sharing our brother’s life and art.”

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