Russell Simmons Is Going to Give Musical Theater a Shot

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 08: Entrepreneur Russell Simmons attends HBO's Official Golden Globe Awards After Party at Circa 55 Restaurant on January 8, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic for HBO)

Def Jam founder Russell Simmons is setting his sights on live theater. Simmons and the Universal Music Group are teaming up for The Scenario, a show that will take us through three decades of hip-hop. The musical is set to premiere in New York for the 2017-18 season before going on a 30-city tour, according to the New York Times.

“I want kids in the ’hood in Detroit to see it,” said Simmons, ever the charitable entrepreneur. “I want sophisticated theatergoers in New York to see it. And they’re going love it whether they’re 50 or 14.”

The Scenario, named after the Tribe Called Quest song, is also aiming to feature songs by Drake, Kendrick Lamar, Rakim (which explains UMG’s involvement).  Of course, the announcement immediately brings the hip-hopping Hamilton to mind, but Simmons has had mixed success when it comes to post-Def Jam endeavors. For example, last year’s All Def Movie Awards—the blacker Oscars—was vulgar and unmemorable (think of the “Def Magic Show Jam” and you’ll get the gist). But let’s not be pessimistic and hope the story of hip-hop gets the Broadway pizazz it deserves.

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