Let’s go stagey: Prince’s Purple Rain is being turned into a Broadway musical

Prince Purple Rain
(Image credit: Getty Images)

40 years on from the release of the movie, it’s been confirmed that Prince’s Purple Rain is set to be turned into a Broadway musical.

With a book - musical theatre-land’s name for a script - by the highly-regarded Branden Jacob-Jenkins, the project has strong writing and pedigree. The music, of course, will come courtesy of Prince, via songs from the Purple Rain album.

Hits from the record, which has now sold more than 25m copies, include When Doves Cry, Let’s Go Crazy, I Would Die 4 U and, of course, the epic title track, which closes both the LP and the film.

“We can’t think of a more fitting tribute than to honour Prince and the ‘Purple Rain’ legacy with this stage adaptation of the beloved story,” say L Londell McMillan, chairman of The NorthStar Group, and Larry Mestel, founder and CEO of Primary Wave Music, in a combined statement. “We are thrilled with our Broadway partners and creative team, who are bringing a theatricality to the film’s original fictional story. We can’t wait for a new generation to discover ‘Purple Rain’ and for lovers of the original film and album to experience its power once again, this time live.”

Purple Rain tells the story of The Kid, played by Prince, as he seeks to make his way in the early-’80s Minneapolis music scene. The story is semi-autobiographical, with Prince/The Kid running up against his real-life friends/rivals The Time, fronted by Morris Day, and seeking to win the affections of Apollonia, played by Patricia Kotero. The film also explores Prince’s troubled home life and complex relationship with his father, John L Nelson, who in real life was an accomplished jazz musician.

Given that much of the film version of Purple Rain is set in a Minneapolis nightclub, First Avenue, it seems like it could be a pretty good fit for the stage. An opening date is still to be confirmed, but we do know that direction will come from Tony award nominee Lileana Blain-Cruz.

Ben Rogerson
Deputy Editor

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it.