Russell Simmons’ hip-hop musical The Scenario will see its New York City premiere during the 2017-18 season, The New York Times reports. Following its debut, the production will tour 30 cities, appearing in what Universal Music Group described as “traditional and nontraditional venues.”
Simmons originally announced plans for The Scenario in 2015. “It’ll be half-concert, half-storytelling,” he told Rolling Stone at the time. “Something like this deserves a little bit of a love story and a little bit of [Public Enemy’s] ‘Fight the Power.’ It’s not easy to write, but it’s easy to conceive of.”
According to The New York Times, The Scenario will track several rappers who “struggle and evolve.” The musical’s soundtrack has not yet been finalized, though possible selections include tracks from Drake, Mr. Lamar, Kurtis Blow and the Sugarhill Gang. Simmons suggested the production with place a premium on crowd participation. “There’s a lot of technology that we’ll be using to connect the audience and the stage in a way that Broadway hasn’t done,” he noted.
The 30-city tour will allow the musical to bring hip-hop history to a variety of audiences. “I want everyone to see it,” Simmons declared. “I want kids in the ‘hood in Detroit to see it. I want sophisticated theatergoers in New York to see it. And they’re going love it whether they’re 50 or 14.”
The Scenario will be produced in part by Scott Prisand and Jamie Bendell, known for their work on Rock of Ages, which originally inspired Simmons to come up with the idea for a Broadway production based on hip-hop. The book for The Scenario is being penned by Dan Charnas, author of the rap history volume The Big Payback.