London’s Camden People’s Theater is taking the true story of prolific rap group The Beastie Boys and turning it into a musical comedy. The three-week run of “Licensed To Ill,” named after the group’s debut album, ends Dec. 12, but audiences across the pond are fighting for their right to see the show before the curtain closes.
The musical, which tells the tale of the meteoric rise of Michael “Mike D” Diamond, Adam “MCA” Yauch and Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz, “is more celebration than critique,” says The Guardian‘s Catherine Love. The show was written by Simon Maeder and Adam El Hagar, who star in the show as Mike D and MCA, respectively. There are portrayals of various hip hop icons throughout the show, such as Russell Simmons, Rev Run and Rick Rubin, who is played by a puppet.
What is drawing audiences to “Licensed To Ill?” It could be that the play doesn’t take itself too seriously. El Hagar told NME in an interview, “Mike D was interviewed last week and somebody asked him, after ‘Straight Outta Compton’, how he’d like to be remembered. He said ‘some sort of cartoon like South Park.’ I think that’s great, because our show is so silly. I’m glad we’re doing it in a way they might approve of.” Aside from the silly moments, the show also highlights some emotional moments from the group, such as the announcement of MCA’s cancer diagnosis and his death in 2012.
“It’s an incredible story, and a very sad one, and we’ve done our best to approach his side of the story with reverence and respect,” El Hagar said.
— Aleron (@AleronOrg) November 27, 2015
Guys from @LicensedTo_Show sounded just like the Beastie Boys! Totally loving the idea of Hip Hop theatre shows. I want more!
— Natalia Knowlton (@NataliaKnowlton) November 26, 2015
— CamdenPeoplesTheatre (@CamdenPT) November 25, 2015