According to Tommy Mottola of The Mottola Group (the producers) it looks like SuperFly The Musical is finally coming to broadway.
We first wrote about this possibility back in 2011…because you know anything that has to do with Blaxploitation hits our radar!
It has been reported in Shadow And Act that the production will use the music of Curtis Mayfield and other 70’s soul and funk artists and the characters will stay true to the movie.
Last year it appeared that Bill T. Jones had found his Priest, aka Super Fly, the mixed-race “a drug pusher, stick-up artist and a child of the ghetto, he truly beats the system, outsmarting the corrupt police force so that he can break free and start a new life,” to use the words on the casting notice. It was looking like Priest might be played by Justin Guarini from American Idol based on the pictures that surfaced of him as Priest from a workshop that he did and information that he posted on his blog…
Guarini shared this info on Twitter and posted a link to his blog in which he talked about how much he learned about Blaxploitation movies, and the era in which they were made. Here’s a sample of what he said in his blog post:
When I took the role of “Priest” in the new musical “Superfly”, I had barely scratched the surface of what Blaxploitation was. I knew of it. I had heard and made plenty of jokes about the term “Superfly”, but I really didn’t fully understand the struggle of my people (something I still grapple with because of my solid lack of identity with any race, due to my multi-ethnic heritage) and the bitter pills they had to swallow while making these films. Then again, were they bitter pills to them? After all, what other movies did Black people have starring roles in during the time? I don’t have the numbers but I’m going to go out on a limb and say, very few […] In the musical “Superfly” I encountered the beautiful and at times haunting music of the era. Curtis Mayfield’s title track was, of course, the signature piece in the show. However, woven throughout the sonic tapestry were pieces from Issac Hayes, James Brown (Say it LOUD), and even Bob Dylan. Rich history laid bare before my feet…feet that have walked, with ease, the path that was slashed, burned and bled for well before I was born.
HOWEVER, it now appears that Guarini is not going to play this role. So when we find out who is cast as the lead we will let you know.
Here is the full breakdown of the core characters, lifted verbatim from the casting notice:
Priest (a/k/a Super Fly): Mixed-race (African American and Caucasian) man, mid 20s – mid 30s. Described as “a drug pusher, a stick-up artist and a child of the ghetto”, he truly beats the system, outsmarting the corrupt police force so that he can break free and start a new life. Though s ome may find him despicable, one cannot help but be moved by the ultimate triumph of this most unlikely hero. Sexy in a way that no woman can resist, his sexual energy is smooth and powerful. He is the very personification of cool in a time period when cool is what everyone wants to be. A great physique; a great sense of style. Actor must have the stature to play this iconic wide-brimmed-hat-wearing, chinchilla-coat-styling, bad bad man who drives a state-of-the-art tricked-out ’72 Eldorado. Priest was born in Harlem of a white mother and a black father; he is at home in the Harlem streets of the 1970s, and respected by even the most prominent figures of the underground drug world. Does drugs himself, but never to excess. Having overcome being shot when he was nine years old, he is fearless. Role requires a great actor. Must sing well. MUST BE ABLE TO DANCE OR MOVE WELL. Must know or be able to learn kung fu martial arts. ACTOR MUST BE FAMILIAR WITH MUSIC OF THE PERIOD AND BE ABLE TO SING THIS MUSIC WITH GREAT PASSION AND STYLE.
Eddie: African American man, late 20s – mid 30s. Wiry, fast-eyed. Priest’s partner in the drug trade and “main boy’” out of a family fifty strong out on the streets working for them. Lives the “Street Life’”, thieving, selling drugs, shooting craps – and he loves, as he describes it, “green money and new pussy”. Volatile and vengeful. Does not support Priest’s plan to get out – in fact, when the Mafia gets involved, he betrays Priest and sides with the Mafia against him. Takes hold of any modicum of power that comes within his grasp and uses it for personal financial gain and to murder anyone he feels has crossed him. Role requires a great actor. Must sing well, and be able to move with great style and rhythm. MUST BE FAMILIAR WITH MUSIC OF THE PERIOD AND BE ABLE TO SING THIS MUSIC WITH GREAT PASSION; MUST BE ABLE TO DANCE OR MOVE WELL.
Fat-Freddy: African American man, 20s. Lovable idiot. An innocent, in over his head in the underground drug trade of 1970s Harlem. A cousin to Priest, he feels somewhat protected by this familial connection, though in the harsh, dark and violent world of the underground drug trade, his innocence and naïveté ultimately do him in. Ernest and child-like; very heartful and lovable. In love with a prostitute named Sugar (his “Dulcinea”, if you will), and he will not leave her when the Mafia comes after him, in spite of Priest’s urging him to get out of town and attempting to provide for his safe passage. “I been waitin’ my whole life for a woman like this”, he says. He is murdered (subject of the well-known song “Freddie’s Dead”). Must be able to move very well. ACTOR MUST BE FAMILIAR WITH MUSIC OF THE PERIOD AND BE ABLE TO SING THIS MUSIC WITH GREAT PASSION AND STYLE. MUST BE ABLE TO DANCE OR MOVE WELL.
Scatter: African American man. Character may be played by an actor of any age, as long as he can play 60, while being remarkably fit and being able to dance well. Scatter is Priest’s mentor, who gave him entrée into the world of the Mafia. Very much like a father to Priest. Now retired from the drug trade and runs a restaurant/nightclub in Harlem. Warm and fatherly toward Priest, he is not afraid to whip a .22 from his waist and stick it in Eddie’s side for speaking to him rudely. Described as a “ruthless individual [who would] kill you for spitting, he is nothing to mess with”, but his love for Priest, whom he calls “Youngblood” is great. Scatter teaches Priest everything that makes him what he is, and when Priest asks him to re-enter the drug trade to help him in his scheme to get out, he does so knowing it might cost him his life (which it ultimately does). Actor must be able to DANCE. ACTOR MUST BE FAMILIAR WITH MUSIC OF THE PERIOD AND BE ABLE TO SING THIS MUSIC WITH GREAT PASSION; MUST BE ABLE TO DANCE OR MOVE WELL.
This show could be opening later this year. You know I will keep you posted!