You Might Want to Stand Up for This One: Spike Lee Is Making a Musical About...Viagra?

Spike Lee attends the 24th annual Critics’ Choice Awards at Barker Hangar on January 13, 2019, in Santa Monica, California.
Spike Lee attends the 24th annual Critics’ Choice Awards at Barker Hangar on January 13, 2019, in Santa Monica, California.
Photo: Frazer Harrison (Getty Images)

In news that can only be described as ‘What the hell is this?’ Spike Lee and Studio Entertainment One have joined forces for a musical film on the origins of the breakthrough Pfizer drug, Viagra. Yup, you read that right and no, it’s not a headline from SNL’s “Weekend Update” (though those are based on real events, too).


According to Deadline, Lee will direct the screenplay, which was also co-written by Kwame Kwei-Armah and will include original songs and music. More details are as follows:

The musical is based on the David Kushner Esquire article All Rise: The Untold Story of The Guys Who Launched Viagra. It is inspired by the true events surrounding Pfizer’s discovery and launch of the erectile dysfunction drug Viagra (Sildenafil), which was hatched as a treatment for heart-related chest pain only for researchers to find its game-changing qualities occurred below the belt. The little blue pill had immediate staying power in the global marketplace, perking up sex lives around the world.

In true Spike Lee fashion, he shared his excitement and familial tie to musicals in a statement I will drop here, word for word, without commentary.

First And Foremost, I Thank Ms. Jacquelyn Shelton Lee. I Thank My Late Mother For As She Would Say Taking “My Narrow,Rusty Behind” Dragging, Kickin’ And Screamin’ To The Movies When I Wuz A Nappy Headed Kid Growing Up In Da Streets Of Da People’s Republic Of Brooklyn. I Did Not Want To See Corny People Singin’ And Dancin’. I Instead Wanted To Play With My Friends On Da Block, Stoop Ball, Stick Ball, Punch Ball, Soft Ball, Basketball, 2 Hand Touch, Tackle Football, Coco Leevio, Johnny On Da Pony, Hot Peas And Butter, Crack Top, Down Da Sewer And Of Course-Booty’s Up. All The Great New York City Street Games That Might Be Sadly Lost Forever. My Father, Bill Lee, Jazz/Folk Bassist,Composer HATED HollyWeird Movies, Henceforth And What Not, Me Being The Eldest Of 5 Children I Became Mommy’s Movie Date. She Was A Cinefile. Thank You Lawdy She Didn’t Listen To My Ongoing Complaints About Musicals. So Finally Going Into My 4th Decade As A Filmmaker I Will Be Directing A DANCIN’,ALL SINGIN’ MUSICAL Spike Lee Joint And I Can’t Wait. My Moms Has Been Waiting TOO!!! And Dats Da Rodgers And Hammerstein Truth, Ruth.

To say that I’m equal parts utterly confused yet oddly intrigued would be putting it lightly. But—if any director can go from Do The Right Thing, Malcolm X, BlackKklansmen, and Da 5 Bloods to...Viagra, I guess it’s Spike Lee, chile.

He’s historically had a good run with movies that make you think and feel things. It can only go up from here. All puns intended.



What if the show lasts more than four hours?