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AIN'T SUPPOSED TO DIE A NATURAL DEATH Will Be Revived on Broadway Next Year

The original production ran in the early 1970s, and starred Bill Duke and Garrett Morris with Phylicia Rashad as a standby.

Ain't Supposed to Die a Natural Death

Melvin Van Peebles' musical 'Ain't Supposed to Die a Natural Death' is set to be revived on Broadway next year.

Producer Lia Vollack is working on the revival in collaboration with the creator's son, Mario Van Peebles, and under the direction of Kenny Leon.

Featuring a book and score by Melvin Van Peebles, Ain't Supposed to Die a Natural Death blends early hip hop and spoken word, jazz and blues, humor and pain to offer a raucous celebration of - and clear-eyed look at - America.

The original Broadway production opened on October 20, 1971 and played through July 30, 1972, starring Bill Duke and Garrett Morris with Phylicia Rashad as a standby.

Ain't Supposed to Die a Natural Death went on to earn seven 1972 Tony Award nominations, including Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, and Best Original Score. Given an unprecedented (and unrepeated) more-than nine-minute performance slot on that year's Tony Awards telecast. Its now-iconic score, steeped in funk, soul, jazz, and blues, is widely considered to have been a groundbreaking precursor to rap and hip-hop.

Mr. Leon stated, "Ever since I heard the name Melvin Van Peebles, I have equated it with excellence, beauty and courage. I am grateful to have this opportunity along with my creative team to introduce to some, and re-introduce to others, the richness of this unique musical experience."

Mr. Van Peebles's eldest son and closest collaborator for the past 50 years, the actor/director/producer/writer Mario Van Peebles, said of the project, "Love what you do for a living, love and enjoy the people you do it with, and love what the work says. If you get these three career chakras to line up, you're rich beyond the economics. Ain't Supposed to Die a Natural Death is a perfect example of that artistic alignment. For years, people have said Ain't Supposed to Die a Natural Death was my father's crowning achievement and ahead of its time and would ask when it would come back to Broadway. Led by the incomparable Mr. Leon, I believe Ain't Supposed to Die a Natural Death is more relevant than ever, and America is finally ready for it."

No further details on the production, or casting, have been announced at this time.

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