Is Broadway The Next Stop For ‘Soul Train’?
The legendary music and dance show Soul Train is in the news a lot lately. Nelson George’s new book The Hippest Trip in America: Soul Train and the Evolution of Culture & Style, covering the influences of the program that ran from 1971 to 2006, is well on its way to bestseller status. And now comes word the world that Soul Train may become fodder for Broadway.
Stage and film producer Matthew Weaver has acquired the theatrical stage rights to the TV show, reports The Grio. He’s says he wants to repeat the success he had with his last production, Rock of Ages.
“I’m nervous and I’m humbled and I’m excited,” said Weaver, heads of production firm MediaWeaver Entertainment. “I do think we’re the right people to do it because I think it’s got to have that spirit of ‘Rock of Ages,’ which is part old-fashioned musical but also part party.”
For 35 years people tuned in not only to see popular artists, mainly R&B, perform but also to checkout the fashions of the Soul Train dancers and of course to be up on the latest dances. Everyone from James Brown, to Ike and Tina Turner and Hall & Oates, to Whitney Houston, David Bowie, and Run D.M.C. appeared on the program.
Don Cornelius debuted the show in 1970 in Chicago and served as its host until 1993. Soul Train went into syndication from 1971 until 2006 and branched off an awards show that is still produced. Cornelius committed suicide in 2012.
Weaver, who says while growing up in New York he watched Soul Train every Saturday morning, plans to hire a writer and get music rights.
“To me, that’s the heart of Soul Train — a great story and great characters. The music will be great, the fashion will be great, the ambiance, the vibe. But if you don’t have a good story, none of that means anything,” says Weaver, who also produced such films as We’re the Millers and The Heartbreak Kid. His Rock of Ages is now an international brand, with a film version, three national tours and productions of the show in Las Vegas, London, Australia, Toronto, Japan and South Korea.
Would you like to see Soul Train as a Broadway production?