Leading Black Producers on Broadway Adapt Film Black Orpheus

Producers Stephen Byrd, Alia Jones-Harvey and Paula Marie Black will bring the 1959 Oscar-winning film Black Orpheus—a love story with Brazil’s Carnival as its backdrop—to a Broadway stage.

Posted:
 
181193025-producers-stephen-byrd-and-alia-jones-attend
Producers Stephen Byrd and Alia Jones-Harvey attend the opening night of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet at the Richard Rogers Theater Sept. 19, 2013, in New York City.  

Rob Kim/Getty Images

Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lynn Nottage and Tony Award winner George C. Wolfe are looking to ride the Brazilian wave energized by the World Cup and the upcoming 2016 Summer Olympics by bringing the film Black Orpheus to Broadway, the Associated Press reports.

The musical's producers will be Stephen Byrd, Alia Jones-Harvey and Paula Marie Black. The former two are the only black full-time professional producers on Broadway, according to the Huffington Post.

"We are so thrilled to bring this classic piece of Brazilian popular culture to life onstage," Byrd said in a statement, reports AP. "The World Cup is providing a wonderful international platform for Brazil right now, and we look forward to further spotlighting this legacy on Broadway.”

Producers said Nottage will write the story and Wolfe will direct the musical, reports AP.

The story will be adapted from the film by Marcel Camus, who revisited the Orpheus and Eurydice myth but set it amid the glitter and flourish of Carnival, explains the Associated Press. The 1959 film won the Palme d’Or at Cannes that year as well as both a Golden Globe and an Oscar for best foreign language film the following year.

Black Orpheus is the love story of Orpheus and Eurydice, who are forced to descend into the netherworld. The film’s soundtrack made popular the burgeoning genre of bossa nova, according to AP.

Nottage won a Pulitzer Prize for her play Ruined; her other works include Intimate Apparel and By the Way, Meet Vera Stark. Playwright and director Wolfe has won Tonys for Angels in America: Millennium Approaches and for Bring in da Noise, Bring in da Funk.

The Black Orpheus musical will premiere worldwide on Broadway, but no timetable has been set.

Read more at Newsday and the Huffington Post.

Comments
The Root encourages respectful debate and dialogue in our commenting community. To improve the commenting experience for all our readers we will be experimenting with some new formats over the next few weeks. During this transition period the comments section will be unavailable to users.

We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your continued support of The Root.

While we are experimenting, please feel free to leave feedback below about your past experiences commenting at The Root.