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Prince’s ‘Purple Rain’ movie is being turned into a stage musical

Prince in ‘Purple Rain’ (1984) – Courtesy: IMDb

Forty years after “The Kid” first rode on the big screen and into pop culture history, a stage adaptation of Prince’s cinematic magnum opus, Purple Rain, is in the works.

Variety reports that the musical, based on the original screenplay by Albert Magnoli and William Blinn, will feature a book by two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist Branden Jacobs-Jenkins. Tony Award nominee Lileana Blain-Cruz will direct the show.

In case you’re one of the VERY few who have not seen the film, Prince stars as “The Kid,” a troubled musician balancing issues with his family, his band (The Revolution), musical rivals (Morris Day & The Time), and a budding romance (Apollonia Kotero) as he navigates through the Minneapolis music scene.

Released in 1984, Purple Rain grossed nearly $100 million worldwide. The accompanying album was also a big success, staying at #1 on the Billboard 200 for 24 weeks. It also earned Prince an Academy Award for Best Original Song Score.

In a statement representing the late music icon’s estate, L. Londell McMillian, chairman of The NorthStar Group, and Larry Mestel, founder and CEO of Primary Wave Music, expressed their excitement for the musical.

“We can’t think of a more fitting tribute than to honor Prince and the ‘Purple Rain’ legacy with this stage adaptation of the beloved story. We are thrilled with our Broadway partners and creative team, who are bringing a theatricality to the film’s original fictional story. We can’t wait for a new generation to discover ‘Purple Rain’ and for lovers of the original film and album to experience its power once again, this time live.”

Ahead of “Purple Rain,” during the summer of 1983, Prince was still an upstart musician. In early August of that year, he played a benefit concert for the Minnesota Dance Theatre where he unveiled some new songs: “Let’s Go Crazy,” “I Would Die 4 U,” “Baby I’m a Star,” and “Purple Rain.” The performances were recorded live and those recording found their way onto Prince’s classic soundtrack for Purple Rain. Footage of the 13-minute performance has surfaced online. It includes a long instrumental intro, extended solo and – get this –  an extra verse.

With films such as The Color Purple, The Lion King, and Hairspray making a successful jump from the big screen to the stage, could Purple Rain see the same success? Only time will tell.

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