One of the exciting things about the theater is that creative people can whip up a musical about almost anything. To wit, ALI, a new musical celebrating the life and legacy of the heavyweight boxing champion and humanitarian Muhammad Ali, is being developed for Broadway. The lead producer Richard Willis announced the news.
A.L.I. will be directed and written by Clint Dyer (Deputy Artistic Director of the National Theatre, Olivier Award-nominated Get Up, Stand Up! and The Bob Marley Musical. And music by Teddy Abrams (youngest Musical Director to lead a major American Orchestra, Musical America’s Conductor of the Year Award for 2022).
Richard Willis is an executive producer on the project along with Brook T. Smith and TribecaWorkshop in collaboration with ABG Entertainment in partnership with Lonnie Ali. The story of Muhammad Ali will utilize the musical theatre medium to explore the life of the man who overcame tremendous odds to become the G.O.A.T. and who used his platform to become one of the world’s most influential and inclusive civil rights leaders have ever know. “Muhammad has been a muse and continues to be a source of inspiration to so many artists around the world,” said Lonnie Ali. “I’m so proud to support this project and am thrilled to see his story brought to life on the Broadway stage.”
Deemed “The Greatest of All Time,” Ali was born in 1942 and raised during the early years of television and the American dream. His childhood in Louisville, Kentucky, along with the love and devotion from his mother (and later from his wife Lonnie), set the stage for him to become the greatest boxer of all time and an activist, entertainer, artist, and philanthropist. Ali’s courage, confidence, swagger, compassion, humor, and optimism united people during The American Civil Rights Movement. His vision for a world without hate inspired many activists who continue to inspire today’s generation.
“Over the course of his life, Muhammad fought for justice and humanity, and all along the way he disarmed the world with his humor, generosity, and gentle ways. We are thrilled to partner with the incredibly talented Richard Willis, Brook T. Smith, and The Tribeca Workshop to bring Ali’s story to Broadway,” said Dana Carpenter, E.V.P., ABG Entertainment.
Producer Richard Willis said, “It is very humbling, being granted this opportunity to tell Muhammad Ali’s complex and incredibly powerful story on stage.” Ali’s examples of grace, passion, strength of spirit, cool under fire, and smiling through it all, have been a great model for millions to aspire to live by, myself included. We are excited to honor Ali’s life and legacy theatrically; it makes for an extraordinarily entertaining and impactful new musical for the world to enjoy.” Willis lauded artistic Clint Dryer and musical director Teddy Abrams.
Dyer said, “This can only be described as a dream come true for me. The chance to articulate what he represents to me and millions across the world in this medium is thrilling.” And Abrams added, “I began exploring Ali’s life in 2016 when I wrote a multimedia rap-oratorio about his life. I recognized that Ali’s journey from fighter to humanitarian reflected the personal and global conflicts and contradictions of the human condition.”
A.L.I. will play a U.S. pre-Broadway engagement (details to be announced). For more information, visit thealimusical.com