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Wednesday, 21 October 2009 13:50

NY Times Reporting Run-DMC Musical Planned for Broadway

Run-DMC Musical Is Planned

NEW YORK TIMES
October 21, 2009

By Dave Itzkoff

They helped bring hip-hop to the mainstream, revitalized the career of Aerosmith and now, Run-DMC could be headed to Broadway.

Paula Wagner, the veteran Hollywood producer, said that her Chestnut Ridge Productions company was working with the rappers Joseph Simmons (known as Run) and Darryl McDaniels (DMC) as well as the estate of Jason Mizell (Jam Master Jay) to produce a stage musical about Run-DMC, the seminal hip-hop group.

“Their work speaks to everybody,” Ms. Wagner said in a telephone interview, “and the story of their rise to fame is innately theatrical.”

Founded by Mr. Simmons, Mr. McDaniels and Mr. Mizell in Hollis, Queens, in the early 1980s, Run-DMC became one of the first rap acts to reach a mass audience, selling millions of copies of albums like “King of Rock” and “Raising Hell,” as well as a ubiquitous 1986 remake of the Aerosmith song “Walk This Way.” The band continued to tour off and on for years, and was on the verge of a reunion in 2002 when Mr. Mizell was shot and killed in his recording studio in Jamaica, Queens.

Ms. Wagner is best known for her long association with Tom Cruise, having worked as his agent, a producer of several of his films (including the “Mission: Impossible” movies and “War of the Worlds”) and the chief executive of his revived United Artists studio. She began her career on stage as a 13-year-old actor at the Youngstown Theater in Ohio. She earned her B.F.A. in theater at the Carnegie Mellon School of Drama, has published plays of her own and performed at the Yale Repertory Theater.

Ms. Wagner said she was also a lifelong Run-DMC fan. “Their lyrics and their music is infectious,” she said. “It’s vibrant, it’s alive. Who they are and what they did was a culturally defining moment. It embraced everybody.”

Ms. Wagner acknowledged that her film-producing experience was no guarantee that she could execute a stage musical, and she said she was talking to other producers and potential team members to help bring the project to Broadway. “I have a number of good friends,” she said, “and I think I will be turning to all my friends.”

She said that in addition to the original Run-DMC songs that would be featured in the show, Mr. Simmons and Mr. McDaniels might provide new material or that an outside composer might “very possibly” provide songs.

Ms. Wagner said there was no timetable for the Run-DMC project to come to Broadway, and no specific shows that it was seeking to emulate — though she and Mr. Simmons and Mr. McDaniels did take in a performance of “In the Heights” last week.              

http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/10/21/run-dmc-musical-is-planned/
 
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