Oscar-winning masterpiece by Prince
Forty years after its release, “Purple Rain” is bound for Broadway.
On Jan. 8, theater producer Orin Wolf confirmed plans to adapt Prince’s seminal 1984 film and album for the stage. The show follows “an up-and-coming rock musician in the Minneapolis club scene, as he contends with a tumultuous home environment, a rival band, and a budding romance,” and will be directed by Lileana Blain-Cruz, according to press notes.
Pulitzer Prize-nominated playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins is writing a new book for the show that will be based on Albert Magnoli and William Blinn’s original movie screenplay. As for the music, fans can expect to hear new interpretations of Prince’s classic hits, including the title track, “When Doves Cry” and “I Would Die 4 U.”
Additional details on the production, including casting and a premiere date, have not yet been announced.
Released in the summer of 1984, the original “Purple Rain” starred Prince as The Kid, a Minneapolis musician who grapples with a difficult home life and a new romance as he rises to prominence. The semi-autobiographical film was a critical and commercial smash.
Though the Oscar-winning “Purple Rain” soundtrack was technically Prince’s sixth album, its genre-smashing, game-changing success catapulted the singer-songwriter into the echelon of ‘80s superstars like Michael Jackson and Madonna.
“In 1984, there was only one man in America more popular than Ronald Reagan. His name was Prince, and he was funky,” Billboard wrote of “Purple Rain” during the film and album’s 30th anniversary in 2014. “Had Prince run for president that year, he would have certainly carried his native Minnesota—the only state Ronnie lost—and he probably would’ve cleaned up most other places.”
Further success on the big screen largely eluded Prince, who died in 2016 at age 57. His last acting role was the 1990 “Purple Rain” sequel, “Graffiti Bridge,” which garnered mostly negative reviews and fared poorly at the box office.
Still, the legacy of “Purple Rain” lives on, with The Weeknd, Bruno Mars, Janelle Monáe and other modern artists citing it as an influence.