Ali, a new musical celebrating the life of the late heavyweight boxing champion and humanitarian Muhammad Ali, is being developed for Broadway by lead producer Richard Willis.
Written and directed by Clint Dyer, the deputy artistic director of London's National Theatre, the production will have music by Teddy Abrams. A U.S. pre-Broadway engagement will be announced at a later time.
Muhammad Ali's childhood in Louisville, Kentucky, set the stage for him to become not only the greatest boxer of all time, but also an activist, entertainer, artist, and philanthropist. His combination of courage, confidence, swagger, compassion, humor, and optimism united people during the Civil Rights Movement, and his vision for a world without hate inspired generations of activists.
Joining Willis on the producing team are Brook T. Smith and TheTribecaWorkshop in collaboration with ABG Entertainment in partnership with Mr. Ali's widow, Lonnie Ali.
“Muhammad has been a muse and continues to be a source of inspiration to so many artists around the world,” said Lonnie Ali. “I’m so proud to support this project and am thrilled to see his story brought to life on the Broadway stage.”
Writer-director Dyer stated, “This can only be described as a dream come true for me. The chance to articulate in this medium what he represents to me, and millions across the world, is thrilling.”
Composer Abrams said, “I began exploring Ali’s life in 2016 when I wrote a multimedia rap-oratorio about his life. In that process, I recognized that Ali’s journey from fighter to humanitarian reflected the personal and global conflicts and contradictions of the human condition, and through his lens I better understood persistent and fundamental issues, and the continued need to strive for peace and equality. Ali deserves the epic, dramatic treatment of a full-scale musical, enshrining his legend and teachings for his fans as well as new generations to come. I am thrilled and honored to work with such an exceptional, world-class team to create this new work!"
Producer Willis added, “It is very humbling, being granted this opportunity to tell Muhammad Ali’s complex and incredibly powerful story on stage with two of the most gifted artists working today, Clint Dyer and Teddy Abrams, and we look forward to announcing our additional world-class creative team members soon. Ali’s examples of grace, passion, strength of spirit, cool under fire and smiling through it all, has been a great model for millions to aspire to live by, myself included. We are excited to honor Ali’s life and legacy theatrically; it makes for an extraordinarily entertaining and impactful new musical for the world to enjoy.”