ALI: A Musical About Muhammad Ali Is Headed to Broadway

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Cassius Clay holds up five fingers in a prediction of how many rounds it will take him to knock out British boxer Henry Cooper on May 27, 1963.
Cassius Clay holds up five fingers in a prediction of how many rounds it will take him to knock out British boxer Henry Cooper on May 27, 1963.

The life and legacy of the late, great Muhammed Ali will be getting the Broadway treatment in a forthcoming musical, aptly titled ALI.

The announcement was made on Wednesday, per Deadline, and comes from the Music Director of the Louisville Orchestra, Teddy Abrams; Deputy Artistic Director of London’s National Theatre, Clint Dyer; and producer Richard Willis. They also have plans to bring on more voices as a part of the creative team to really hone in on the African-American lens of the story (Willis and Abrams are white, whereas Dyer is Black), such as a Black artist to serve as a co-lyricist to Dyer and a Black choreographer.

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Speaking with Deadline on the importance of centering the Black perspective in storytelling specifically in this genre, Willis explained: “ALI is such an African-American story. We’re very aware of the world in which we are working, and we have to make sure to be smart about it, and we also have to make sure that we do a bang-up job on this because the world will be watching.”

Abrams later added, “In my mind, Ali is like an orchestra that has all the variations and the subtlety of the instrumentation that’s available to you. It’s not just a tune played by a trumpet with a rhythm guitar in the background; it’s got to be much more dynamic and subtle and complex than that. The score has to have backbone, Right? And sensitivity, too. It’s not just the Rocky theme.”

ALI is expected to hit the stage hopefully by Nov. 2024.