There’s Going to be a Musical Based on Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Life

A musical “inspired by the life and art” of Jean-Michel Basquiat will soon be coming to a Broadway Stage, and Jon Batiste, leader of The Late Show With Stephen Colbert’s house band, is writing the music and lyrics.

The musical will showcase the grit and beauty of 1980s New York City, and it will be directed by Tony winner John Doyle. The show’s team secured the rights to the artist’s artwork and archives and will be partnering with the Basquiat Estate.

“Over the years, many people have approached us about telling our brother’s story on stage, but having discussed this project with the Marks over many months, our interest was piqued once we understood that their approach to telling our brother’s story treats his life, his art and his legacy with respect and passion,” said Basquiat’s sisters Lisane Basquiat and Jeanine Basquiat in a statement. “With Jon Batiste and John Doyle leading the creative team, we are thrilled with the possibilities. We cannot wait to begin the developmental process. Broadway is a new world for us, and we looking forward to sharing our brother’s life and art.”

Basquiat died in 1988 at age 27, and his graffiti-inspired works have made him one of the most successful contemporary artists. His 1982 painting “Untitled” sold for $110.5 million in 2017, making it the most expensive piece ever sold by an American artist.

The musical is still being developed, and there hasn’t yet been a release date announced.

“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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