In 1971, Don Cornelius launched an iconic music and dance show that became a cult favorite and also a cultural marker for black music. Soul Train eventually became the main showcase in black culture for soul, rock, R&B, and later on, hip-hop. Now the show is inspiring a Broadway musical.
The production will be executive produced by The Roots’ Questlove. The main creative team includes playwright Dominique Morisseau (Ain’t Too Proud), director Kamilah Forbes (Meet Vera Stark), and choreographer Camille A. Brown (Choir Boy, Once on This Island), reports Deadline.
The production will feature over 20 hit songs from the era while also telling Cornelius’ personal narrative while he was creating Soul Train.
“I cannot wait,” said Morisseau in a statement, “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.”
Morisseau also called Cornelius’ Soul Train “our culture’s most influential and legend-making endeavors.”
“Having grown up on this series,” she continued, “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 handprints on what we know as Soul Train.”
Don Cornelius’ son, Tony Cornelius, will also be executive producing the Broadway show. Don Cornelius passed away in 2012.
“With many years of experience working directly with my father, I’m forever grateful and deeply humbled by the impact Soul Train has had on the culture at large both here and abroad. For 37 years, and with purpose, through music, dance and style, Soul Train brought Love, Peace & Soul to a national audience,” Tony Cornelius said.