Rumor has it that our Oscar-nominated Hidden Figures might see the light of Broadway! In an interview with ITN, Janelle Monae, who plays Mary Jackson, let it slip that a Broadway musical might be a possibility. The movie itself hosts a great deal of musical talent from Pharrell to Monae, even Octavia Spencer shows off her beautiful voice. Can you see the possibility?
Hidden Figures moved us, it made us laugh, and it inspired our best selves. The story and its subjects were virtually unknown before the movie’s release, but that didn’t stop it from beating out classics like Star Wars and leading the box office at $185 million.
So, how can we bring this breadth of success to Broadway? It’s all about the team, and I’ve got the perfect one!
Katori Hall writing the book, without a doubt! She has captivated us many times with work like The Mountaintop and Hurt Village. Her brilliance is no secret and she knows how to render any emotion with the clever combination of 26 letters and a whole lot of heart. She’s also showing her musical chops as she leads the anticipated Tina: The Musical to its rumored 2018 Broadway premiere.
To complement the sass and hilarity that Hall will bring to the table, I offer Pharrell, Brenda Russell and Allee Willis for lyrics and music. Together they have the ingenuity and experience to craft powerful music for a staged adaptation. Pharrell composed the box office hit and Russel and Willis have created the powerful music for The Color Purple alongside Stephen Bray.
Not only can they make you weep, these women know how to make you move. Their individual careers are enough to make me say yes! Earth, Wind and Fire, Patti Labelle and How Stella Got Her Groove Back all said yes to their talents, so I will too!
Now, call me crazy, but I believe Hidden Figures has a lot of potential for dance. Every moment of frenzy and every computation is a moment for movement. So while the movie doesn’t exactly scream “dance break,” it has the makings of a musical that brings energy to the ordinary. And although she’s no ordinary woman, the famous Debbie Allen is definitely the choreographer for the job. Her time in Hollywood has left her with dozens of credits from playing Anita in West Side Story to choreographing The Academy Awards six years in a row! Ms. Allen has the depth, experience, and vision to insert dance into this powerful story.
Finally, who should be our fearless director? Not only does Hidden Figures boast a passionate script, but it’s accompanied by fantastic visuals. Who can turn a Broadway stage into NASA’s campus and recreate Katherine Johnson’s iconic cross-campus bathroom trek? Who can take us to the edge of the Earth as John Glenn makes his descent?
Ladies and gentleman, I give you Kenny Leon. We’ve always known Leon to be a great director, he’s directed classics like Aida and Radio Golf, and even Katori Halls’ The Mountaintop. But it’s not Kenny’s history that makes him the obvious choice, it’s his future. Leon has incredible foresight and is a master at communicating with audiences. Furthermore, he brings the best out in actors and he works tirelessly to deliver truth and diversity to Broadway audiences. Under Leon’s direction, the theatre community will praise the names of Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Dorothy Vaughan, like they should’ve in 1962.
So there’s that, I’ve given you the perfect creative team! Now I’ll give you some homework. Who would you cast to portray our Hidden Figures? Should the show honor the movie’s message with fresh new faces, or do you think your Broadway favorites are up for the task! Comment below with your Hidden Figures dream cast!