The life and art of Jean-Michel Basquiat, arguably one of the most influential artists of the 20th century, is the focus of a new show headed to Broadway. On Tuesday, it was announced that the artist’s estate would oversee the stage play, which will be directed by Tony winner John Doyle and scored by Jon Batiste, the musical director of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
According to Broadway.com, the pair have obtained the rights to Basquiat’s archives and artwork.
“I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to collaborate with Jon Batiste to bring to life the world of Jean-Michel Basquiat,” Doyle said in a statement. “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.
The Brooklyn-born artist was a prominent figure on the New York art and club scenes from the late ’70s until 1988, when he died from an overdose at the age of 27. He hung out with the likes of Andy Warhol, Madonna and David Bowie. His art critiqued social power structures in bold and experimental ways. Basquiat remains a fixture in pop culture and is often mentioned by icons including JAY-Z.
“I want people to leave this show inspired to create, I want them to not only learn about Jean-Michel Basquiat, an innovator, but to also feel the visceral thrill of the creative process and to deepen and discover their own creativity,” Batiste said. “We have an opportunity to tell a truly profound story, full of emotional highs and lows, with unbelievable art at the center. I’m honored to work with veteran storyteller John Doyle, the Marks and the Basquiat family. We are assembling a team to help craft a boundary-pushing masterpiece inspired by a true American original.”
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Christina Santi is a news and culture writer for EBONY.com. Born and raised in the Bronx, New York, she considers herself a well-read, not so traditional feminist with a heavy interest in music, fashion and pop culture. Christina currently lives in New York City, where she refers to her Cuban & Jamaican descent often while writing about her experiences as a first-generation Afro-Latinx in America. She also devotes time writing personalized reading material for her tutees and turning ideas into words for streetwear brand, PUER By Noel Bronson.