Russell Simmons is bringing his hip-hop musical, The Scenario, to Broadway. The rap impresario and business mogul has announced that the musical will be focused on hip-hop’s rock ‘n’ roll roots.
“I met the guys at [The Scenario production company] Big Block and they took me to see [hard-rock jukebox musical] Rock of Ages,” Simmons says. “I saw it and said, ‘This is exactly what I need to do.’ It was the most obvious thing in the world to me. I was inspired when I saw it. I must be getting old because what I’m doing now is right squarely in the middle of Broadway, which is squarely in the middle of America. It’s overdue.”
When asked about what he envisions for The Scenario, Simmons says it’ll be a mixture of things.
“It’ll be half-concert, half-storytelling,” Simmons reveals. “Something like this deserves a little bit of a love story and a little bit of [Public Enemy’s] ‘Fight the Power.’ It’s not easy to write, but it’s easy to conceive of. It’s all the old people going to the Broadway theater and seeing rebellious youth culture [laughs]. Two generations later, rap still has that rebelliousness; it hasn’t changed. At the same time, though, it’s successful pop culture. We’ve never had an American cultural phenomenon like this that has spanned so many generations.”
The Scenario is scheduled to debut in late 2016 and will be written by Dan Charnas. Charnas previously wrote The Big Payback: The History of the Business of Hip-Hop.