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PURPLE RAIN Creative Team Talk Adapting Prince's Material for the Stage

The stage musical is based on the hit 1984 movie and album.

By: Jun. 20, 2024
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Rolling Stone has just published a new report chronicling the continuing journey of Prince's hit film Purple Rain to the stage.

Following the release of the original film 40 years ago, a stage musical based on the film has been in the works for several years. Bobby Z, the drummer of Prince's band The Revolution, recalled that Prince loved Lin-Manuel Miranda's Hamilton, saying "Wow, we should really take [Purple Rain] to the stage, like Broadway,"

Though he didn't want to helm the project himself, Prince saw the potential of a new version of his material. Following his passing, producer Orin Wolf, playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Blain-Cruz, and musical supervisor Jason Michael Webb all came together to work on the project.

“We’re taking the framework of the film and going to try to honor it in every way,” Wolf told Rolling Stone. Jacobs-Jenkins discovered handwritten pages of notes, from Prince himself, about how Purple Rain is "like musical theater...I think he actually was making a musical, whether or not he would say he was doing that.”

In addition to the familiar material, there will be new scenes, with an emphasis on the female characters in the story, which Jacob-Jenkins will be expanding. To pad out the score, other Prince songs will be added including some "deep cuts and...unreleased material," according to Webb.

One of the problems the creative team is facing is how to approach the character of The Kid, played by Prince in the film, who is unlikeable and even violent at times. "This is a story of a really young person who is messed up and trying to figure out how to un-mess himself up," Jacobs-Jenkins said. 

Though they have seen thousands of potential performers, they have yet to cast the role of The Kid, and are leaning towards a lesser-known actor for the part.

Read the full report HERE.

It was previously announced that the pre-Broadway world premiere stage adaptation of Prince’s film and album is scheduled to take place in Prince’s hometown, Minneapolis, MN, in Spring 2025. The musical will be staged at Hennepin Theatre Trust’s historic State Theatre in Minneapolis as part of its 2024- 2025 Bank of America Broadway on Hennepin season.