Soul Train, the long-running television series featuring top R&B acts, is on track for Broadway. Producer Matthew Weaver (Rock of Ages) has acquired the stage rights to the program with plans to bring a theatrical version to theNew York stage. A creative team is being assembled, but no specifics names or dates have been announced.
Soul Train played in syndication from 1971 to 2006, holding the record for the longest-lived, first-run, nationally syndicated series in TV history. Don Cornelius was the executive producer and first host. The program began as a daily dance show on a local Chicago station. During its 35-year run, featured performers included B.B. King, Curtis Mayfield, The Staple Singers, and The O’Jays to name a few. The Soul Train Music Awards were first presented in 1987 and are still given out annually to top acts in urban music.
“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,” said Weaver. “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.”
“Soul Train has made a significant impact on American music and pop culture and its legacy and appeal continue to resonate around the world. Creating a live theatrical interpretation of this iconic franchise is an opportunity that could not be missed,” added Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Chairman, Soul Train Holdings, LLC. “We are so happy to have found the perfect producer for Soul Train in Matthew Weaver, who shepherded Rock of Ages from infancy to an international smash hit.”
Jukebox shows featuring popular music from previous decades have proved popular on Broadway. Weaver’s production Rock of Ages has taken in $114.8 million, Motown the Musical has grossed $73.5 million, Jersey Boys $453.6 million, and Mamma Mia! has raked in over $572 million. The recently opened Beautiful: The Carole King Musical is also performing strongly with $114.8 million in the till.