As the first show of its kind to showcase Black musical genres, Soul Train broke the mold as a revolutionary, cultural-shifting force that let Black America live out loud and proud and, in turn, left its irrefutable mark on the pop cultural landscape in its 35-year run.
And now, the Soul Train is a-comin’ to Broadway for another round of the hippest trip in America.
A musical re-imagining of the classic dance show is making its way to Broadway. In celebration of the series’ 50th anniversary, a premiere date is slated for 2021.
The play will follow the story of Don Cornelius, who passed away in 2012, as he brought to life Black America’s most cherished television show and defined the soundtrack of our childhoods as the show’s venerable host.
Soul Train made its small-screen debut in 1971 and brought the funk to television until its final episode, which was broadcast in 2006.
Keeping in line with tradition, the play made history in another way. It’s the first Broadway musical to have a creative team led by solely by African-American women, according to the press release.
The production will be helmed by Tony-nominated playwright Dominique Morisseau and award-winning director-producer Kamilah Forbes. Tony nominee Camille Brown will serve as choreographer.
“I am so excited to help bring the narrative of one of our culture’s most influential and legend-making endeavors to the stage,” said Morisseau.
“Having grown up on this series and being immersed in the culture around it, I never knew what it took to make it the iconic staple that it is. Through the socio-political challenges both internally and externally, Don Cornelius’ uncompromised vision, and the revolutionary dance culture that the show made visible to the mainstream, there are a million hand prints on what we know as 'Soul Train.' I cannot wait to partner with this legendary creative team of incredible women to celebrate the history and the unsung heroes of our nation’s longest running televised music and dance series.”
The Roots’ Questlove has signed on as an executive producer. He has been tapped to executive produce the show alongside Cornelius’s son, Tony Cornelius, CSI creator Anthony E. Zuiker and Live Nation Urban President Shawn Gee.
Photo: Nicola Goode