John Doyle Will Direct Musical About Life of Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat

By: Sep. 25, 2018
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John Doyle Will Direct Musical About Life of Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat

Alan D. Marks and Barbara Marks have announced the development of the Broadway bound original musical inspired by the life and art of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Jon Batiste ("The Late Show with Stephen Colbert") has written the music & lyrics and Tony Award Winner John Doyle will direct. The development team is working closely with the Basquiat Estate and have secured the rights to Jean-Michel's art work and personal archives.

Additional creative team members and a production schedule will be announced at a later date.

Lisane Basquiat and Jeanine Basquiat issued a joint statement about the musical: "Over the years, many people have approached us about telling our brother's story on stage. But having discussed this project with the Marks over many months, our interest was piqued once we understood that their approach to telling our brother's story treats his life, his art and his legacy with respect and passion. With Jon Batiste and John Doyle leading the creative team, we are thrilled with the possibilities. We cannot wait to begin the developmental process. Broadway is a new world for us, and we looking forward to sharing our brother's life and art."

John Doyle issued a statement about the announcement, "I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to collaborate with Jon Batiste to bring to life the world of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Exploring his 1980s New York City will help us access the connections Basquiat made through the extraordinary body of work he created in his short lifetime."

Composer Jon Batiste said, "I want people to leave this show inspired to create. I want them to not only learn about Jean Michel Basquiat, an innovator, but to also feel the visceral thrill of the creative process and to deepen and discover their own creativity. We have an opportunity to tell a truly profound story, full of emotional highs and lows, with unbelievable art at the center. I'm honored to work with veteran storyteller John Doyle, the Marks and the Basquiat family. We are assembling a team to help craft a boundary pushing masterpiece inspired by a true American original."

JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT (December 22, 1960 - August 12, 1988) is one of the best known artists of his generation and is widely considered one of the most important artists of the 20th century. His career in art spanned the late 1970s through the 1980s until his death in 1988, at the age of 27. Basquiat works are edgy and raw, and through a bold sense of color and composition, he maintains a fine balance between seemingly contradictory forces such as control and spontaneity, menace and wit, urban imagery and primitivism. The Basquiat legacy embodies the values and aspirations of young, international urban culture. Basquiat often incorporated words into his paintings. Before his career as a painter began, he produced punk-inspired postcards for sale on the street, and become known for the political-poetical graffiti under the name of SAMO. The conjunction of various media is an integral element of Basquiat's art. His paintings are typically covered with text and codes of all kinds: words, letters, numerals, pictograms, logos, map symbols, diagrams and more, and featured multi-panel paintings and individual canvases with exposed stretcher bars, the surface dense with writing, collage and imagery. Since his death, his artworks have been the focus of major museum shows worldwide, also breaking auction records for the highest price paid for a work by any American artist, for an African-American artist, and for the first work created since 1980 to sell for over $100 million.

John Doyle (Director) is an acclaimed director of musicals, plays, and operas, with a career spanning over 40 years. He received Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards for his Broadway debut, Sweeney Todd. His 2016 production of The Color Purple, which won the Tony Award for Best Musical Revival, earned him Tony and Drama Desk nominations. His production of Company won the Tony Award for Best Musical Revival, and he won UK Best Musical Awards for The Gondoliers (West End), Fiddler on the Roof and Moll Flanders, with nominations for other productions including The Visit (Broadway), A Catered Affair(Broadway) and Mack and Mabel (West End). Work in opera includes Lucia di Lammermoor at Sydney Opera House, Peter Grimes at the Metropolitan Opera and The Rise and Fall of the City ofMahagonny at L.A. Opera. Recent credits include Passion, Fire and Air, Pacific Overtures, and Carmen Jones at Classic Stage Company, where John is Artistic Director.

Jon Batiste (Music & Lyrics) is a musician, educator, recording artist, composer, bandleader and television personality whose musical skill, artistic vision and exuberant charisma has commanded stages across the world. Jon is recognized for his originality, jaw-dropping talent and dapper sense of style. He is the Bandleader and Musical Director of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and is known for curating unique "social music" experiences all over the world, whether solo or with his band Stay Human. Jon is also a Verve Records recording artist where he will be releasing his debut solo album, Hollywood Africans, co-produced by T Bone Burnett. Strongly committed to philanthropy, education and mentoring of young musicians, Jon has led his own Social Music Residency and Mentoring Program sponsored by Chase, as well as hundreds of master classes throughout the world. Jon is currently the Co-Artistic Director of the National Jazz Museum in Harlem and Music Director for The Atlantic. His accolades include the American Jazz Museum Lifetime Achievement Award, the Harry Chapin ASCAP Humanitarian Award, honorary doctorates and the Forbes "30 under 30" list. Jon has received both his undergraduate and masters degrees in piano from the Juilliard School. His personal style has been profiled in Vogue, GQ, Vanity Fair by photographers such as Annie Leibovitz. He currently resides in Brooklyn, NY.

Alan D. Marks AND Barbara Marks (Producer) are the Managing members of the Marks-Moore-Turnbull Group. Credits include, Broadway: Dear Evan Hansen (Tony Award); The Encounter;After Midnight (Tony nomination); Master Class (Tony nomination);Finian's Rainbow, (Tony, Drama Desk nominations); Desire Under the Elms; Blithe Spirit, (Drama Desk awards); Speed-the-Plow, (Drama Desk nomination). West End: Master Class; Fat Pig. Off Broadway: Carmen Jones (Classic Stage), Dear Evan Hansen (Second Stage); Cotton Club Parade (City Center); Buffalo Gal; Chasing Manet; Shipwrecked - An Entertainment; Happy Now? (Drama Desk nomination); Unusual Acts of Devotion. Regional: Dear Evan Hansen (Arena Stage); The Last Goodbye, based on Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet and the music of Jeff Buckley (Williamstown Theater Festival; The Old Globe). Executive Producers: Finian's Rainbow (2009 Revival Broadway Cast Album);Sondheim on Sondheim (Broadway Cast Album) (Grammy nomination);Cheyenne Jackson: Renaissance. The Marks are also supporters of not-for-profit theater and arts organizations, with Barbara as a Vice Chairman of Classic Stage Company and Alan as Treasurer of New York Live Arts.