A new musical about the life of artist Jean-Michel Basquiat is in development.
Producers Alan D. Marks and Barbara Marks have obtained the rights to Basquiat’s art work and personal archives and have hired John Doyle to direct. Jon Batiste, currently the bandleader and musical director on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” has written the show’s music and lyrics.
The musical, which describes itself as “Broadway-bound,” does not have a specific timeline or theater set at this time.
This is the first time the Basquiat Estate has agreed to license Basquiat’s life and art work for a film or theatrical production.
“Over the years, many people have approached us about telling our brother’s story on stage. But having discussed this project with the Marks over many months, our interest was piqued once we understood that their approach to telling our brother’s story treats his life, his art and his legacy with respect and passion,” Lisane and Jeanine Basquiat said in the press release.
Basquiat was a world-renowned artist who began his art career in the late 70s and came into prominence thanks to his edgy, colorful paintings, which typically featured text, codes and various forms of media. The artist passed away in 1988 at age 27, but his paintings continued to sell for millions, with one of his pieces selling for more than $110.5 million in 2017, the highest amount paid for a work by any American artist.
As managing members of the Marks-Moore-Turnbull Group, the Marks have been producers on “Dear Evan Hansen,” “The Encounter” “After Midnight” and more.
Doyle, a Tony Award winner in 2006 for his revival of “Sweeney Todd,” is the artistic director at Classic Stage Company, where he recently directed “Carmen Jones.”
“I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to collaborate with Jon Batiste to bring to life the world of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Exploring his 1980s New York City will help us access the connections Basquiat made through the extraordinary body of work he created in his short lifetime,” Doyle said.
Additional creative team members will be announced at a later date.