The Queen of Soul wants to be the Queen on Broadway. Recently in an interview with Billboard, Aretha Franklin had a few things to say about her life story being told and how. Allegedly there have been plans for a Lifetime biopic of the legendary soul singer, with Jennifer Hudson & Audra McDonald in the top picks to portray her. However, it seems Franklin wants to see to her life story on Broadway, as well. (Those two still would ranked in the top choices just FYI)
“I would like to see it be a dramatic musical,” Franklin tells Billboard. “I loved The Motown Musical; it was so great. I think the timing is very good now, especially behind Jersey Boys, Carole King [Beautiful]. Gloria Estefan has come to Broadway now [On Your Feet] and why not Aretha?”
Franklin’s likeness was last seen on Broadway in A Night With Janis Joplin that included some guest appearances from Nina Simon, Bessie Smith, Etta James, and Aretha Franklin. Franklin was portrayed by NaTasha Yvette Williams (Chicago, Gershwin’s Porgy & Bess), who would be an excellent choice to cast for an Aretha Musical, which from this point on we’re going to call Natural Woman from here forward. That is not the title but it’s got a nice ring to it, don’t you think?
Franklin had hoped to talked with Clive Davis about backing the project somehow it didn’t work out. She has now talked to Marsha Mason about working on the project and said she’s “very amenable and would love to do it.” Mason has been on seen Broadway in Steel Magnolias and more. She is a four-time Oscar nominee and was married for ten years to the Tony-winning playwright Neil Simon.
What songs would you like to hear in Natural Woman: The Aretha Franklin Musical? <–(not the real title). Of course, “Natural Woman” is a definite. One of our favorites would have to be “Chain Of Fools” and you can’t leave out the classic “Respect”.
Below is the interview with the Wall Street Journal that should definitely be a moment in the musical or at least referenced. It may even inspire a song called “What Is Auto-Tune?” or a big costume number titled “Beautiful Gowns”, or even a big backstage fight scene number called “Lies, Lies, & More Lies.” In the interview she also discusses her biopic in the interview including possibly casting Audra McDonald, Jennifer Hudson, “or someone from the church.”
Also, listen To NaTasha Yvette Williams sing Spirit In The Dark on The Wendy Williams show. Wendy Williams was on Broadway in Chicago in 2013. The same role Yvette Williams currently plays.