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Rap Icon Nas Joins Creative And Producing Team For BEAT STREET Stage Adaptation

The announcement was made tonight at a 40th anniversary screening of Beat Street at the Tribeca Film Festival.

By: Jun. 14, 2024
Rap Icon Nas Joins Creative And Producing Team For BEAT STREET Stage Adaptation  Image
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Tonight, at a 40th anniversary screening of Beat Street at the Tribeca Film Festival, GRAMMY Award-winning rap icon Nas announced that he has joined the creative team adapting the groundbreaking 1984 hip-hop film classic into a Broadway musical. Additional creative team members will be announced in coming weeks.

Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones, best known by his stage name, Nas, is widely regarded as one of the greatest rap artists of all time. He will team up with the show's producers, Arthur Baker, Michael Holman, and Richard Fearn, to bring Beat Street to Broadway, including expanding and creating new material for the film's iconic soundtrack. Holman was also an associate producer of the original film, and Baker was its co-producer, composer and music producer.

“Beat Street wasn't just a film – it spread the revolution of hip-hop culture throughout the country and the world. It left an indelible mark, inspiring generations of young artists and creating new hip-hop fans alike,” commented Nas. “It's a thrill for me to join the creative team of Beat Street, bringing the raw energy of hip-hop into the fabric of Broadway. It's an honor to breathe new life into this iconic work and celebrate its enduring legacy.”

Nas is one of many artists who have credited Beat Street for its impact on their lives and careers. The film has also been cited by such artists as Ice-T, Ice Cube, LL Cool J and Lin-Manuel Miranda, among many others, for its influence. 

Set in the early 1980s, Beat Street revolves around a group of aspiring young talents in the South Bronx, including a graffiti artist, a DJ, and a break-dancer, as they pursue their dreams in the emerging hip-hop scene while facing the challenges of urban life.

Originally released in 1984, Beat Street was one of the first films to depict hip-hop culture, including breakdancing, mixing, scratching, and graffiti art.

Produced by the legendary Harry Belafonte and David V. Picker, with music by Harry Belafonte and Arthur Baker, story by Steven Hager, screenplay by Andrew Davis, David Gilbert & Paul Golding, and directed by Stan Lathan, Beat Street starred Rae Dawn Chong, Gus Davis, and Jon Chardiet. The film was also notable for appearances by major artists of the era, including Doug E. Fresh, DJ Kool Herc, Afrika Bambataa & The Sonic Force, Us Girls, The Treacherous Three, Magnificent Force, The New York City Breakers, Rock Steady Crew, and Grandmaster Melle Mel & The Furious Five, among others.

The wildly successful soundtrack for Beat Street, released in two volumes, was also produced by Arthur Baker. Volume One was one of the first rap albums to be certified gold.

ShowTown Theatricals will serve as General Managers. Nathan Gehan and Jamison Scott of ShowTown Productions are executive producers of Beat Street.

About the Artist

NAS (Creative Team/Producer). Timeless poet and rhyme-master Nas delivered his first full-length album Illmatic in 1994. Nas went on to release 14 subsequent albums, eight of which are multi-platinum and platinum including Nastradamus, Stillmatic, God's Son and Street's Disciple. With 16 GRAMMY nominations, Nas released King's Disease in 2020, giving Nas his first-ever GRAMMY win for “Best Rap Album.” In August of 2021, Nas released King's Disease II, the sequel to the GRAMMY Award-winning album, and subsequently completed the King's Disease Trilogy with the release of King's Disease III, executive produced by Nas and Hit-Boy in 2022, with both albums earning GRAMMY nominations for “Best Rap Album.” Most recently, Nas and Hit-Boy released Magic 3, featuring 15 brand-new tracks, also marking the final chapter of the legendary run for the prolific rapper-producer duo. Magic 3 serves as the duo's sixth album together in the last three years and is also the third installment to the Magic series. In addition to his vast and storied accomplishments in the music world, Nas' has brought his keen eye for storytelling into film and TV. Nas has served as an executive producer on “The Get Down” (Netflix) with Baz Luhrman, “The Land” (MACRO/IFC Films) with Steven Caple Jr., and the Emmy-nominated “The Supreme Team” (Showtime) which he also directed. In 2016, Nas won an Emmy Award for directing “Survival 1” for ESPN documentary shorts. Legendary hip hop mogul, co-founder of Mass Appeal Records, actor, and executive producer, Nas' extensive catalog speaks for itself.

ARTHUR BAKER (Producer). As a dance music producer, Baker has created such internationally celebrated hits as New Order's “Confusion,” Soul Sonic Force's “Planet Rock,” Rocker's Revenge's “Walking On Sunshine” and Freeez's “I.O.U.” He was one of the first producers brought onto the original Beat Street team and acted as liaison between many of the Beat Street acts and the producers Harry Belafonte and David V. Picker. He has worked with music business luminaries including Bob Dylan, Hall & Oates, The Rolling Stones, Al Green, Bruce Springsteen, Diana Ross, Cyndi Lauper, The Pet Shop Boys and New Edition. In 1985, Baker organized and produced, with Little Steven Van Zandt, the anti-apartheid anthem “Sun City” by Artists United Against Apartheid. The United Nations Special Committee against Apartheid later honored Baker. Baker wrote and produced the anti-gun anthem “Leave the Guns at Home,” featuring Al Green, the UK Millennium Charity track “It's Only Rock and Roll” by Children's Promise; and the 2010 UN Millennium Goals recording “8 Goals For Africa.” He was music supervisor for the films Fried Green Tomatoes and Listen Up: The Lives of Quincy Jones, and he produced the documentaries Finding the Funk for VH1 and 808 for Atlantic Films & Apple Music. Currently, Arthur has a weekly radio show on Sirius XM's Studio 54 Radio called “Bakers Revenge.”

MICHAEL HOLMAN (Producer) helped propel Hip-Hop Culture onto the global stage. He is responsible for founding, directing, and choreographing one of the world's most popular hip-hop dance crews, The New York City Breakers, and acting as an agent for The Rock Steady Crew. Holman choreographed and was an associate producer for the film Beat Street. He also created, produced, and hosted the first nationally syndicated hip-hop television show, “Graffiti Rock,” which aired in 88 markets nationwide, and featured Run DMC, Kool Moe Dee and Special K of the Treacherous Three. He wrote the original screenplay for the Miramax film Basquiat and wrote, produced, and directed children's programming for the Nickelodeon Network, including the Ace Award-winning “Blue's Clues” and “Eureka's Kastle.” Holman has directed many theatrical productions, including Nile Rodgers' 10th Anniversary WAFF Gala in New York City; Tommy Boy Music's 30th Anniversary Celebration at the 2011 Montreux Jazz Festival; and the 2018 MoMA performance The Subjective Gaze. In 2016, The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts acquired Holman's complete archives, which includes an unrivaled trove of underground video and film footage capturing the moves of break dancers at the dawn of Hip-Hop Culture and is the first archive of hip-hop materials in the Dance Division's collections. The Smithsonian, National Museum of African American History and Culture acquired other elements of Holman's hip-hop archive.

RICHARD FEARN (Producer) is a UK-based tech investor, ardent theatre fan and aging B-Boy. He has supported several West End productions including Dr. Semmelweis starring Mark Rylance, Ivo van Hove's adaptation of A Little Life, and Tom Stoppard's Olivier Award-winning production of Leopoldstadt. Richard has recently turned his attention to the New York theatre community, pushing further into his passions as a life-long hip-hop fan, first with his support for Syncing Ink, before turning his attention to Beat Street. He comes to the project first and foremost as a fan. Only ten years old when the film was released, Fearn experienced its cultural impact first-hand,  teaching a British suburban kid how to breakdance and opening his eyes (and those of millions of others like him) to the full power and majesty of Hip-Hop Culture. Something which he believes the musical can do for a whole new generation.

SHOWTOWN THEATRICALS (General Manager). Broadway/Tour: Oh, Mary!, How To Dance In Ohio, Parade, Just For Us, Into the Woods (Broadway/Tour), A Christmas Carol (Broadway/Tour), In Residence on Broadway, The Jimmy Awards, Notre Dame de Paris (Lincoln Center) OB: Syncing Ink, Job, Mind Mangler, A Sherlock Carol. Upcoming: Galileo, American Prophet, Anne of Green Gables, Romy & Michele, and When Playwrights Kill.

SHOWTOWN PRODUCTIONS (Executive Producer). Nathan Gehan and Jamison Scott are lead producers of the Tony-winning Broadway/tour productions of A Christmas Carol, and Co-Producers of Into the Woods (Broadway/Tour) and How to Dance in Ohio (Broadway). Upcoming: The Bad News Bears, Romy & Michele. Nathan is the CEO of ShowTown Theatricals where Jamison is a partner and serves as creative producer.