Muhammad Ali’s life story will be getting the Broadway treatment. The heavyweight boxing champion and civil rights pioneer’s full life story will be adapted into a musical called ALI, Deadline reports.
Lonnie Ali, the boxer’s widow, blessed Teddy Abrams, who will serve as the show’s composer, clarinetist, pianist, and conductor, with permission to adapt. Deputy Artistic Director of London’s National Theatre, Clint Dyer, and producer Richard Willis will join Abrams in bringing the show to life.
The trio, consisting of two white men and one Black male, is planning to bring in more Black voices to amplify the authentic African-American voice of Ali’s story.
“To make it work tonally, I’m aware that there’s an African-American component that is missing, but there will be many voices,” Willis expressed.
“Obviously, this is an important piece for all time, but especially now. It’s an important piece for any time; it’s important that the younger generations know about Muhammad Ali and what he stands for and his examples. He’s always going to be an important example.”
Dyer spoke to the complexities of Ali as a Black man, emphasizing his transformation from Cassius Clay to Muhammad Ali.
“It helped everybody understand the past by him changing his Cassius Clay slave name. He had to move forward, for his future was based in him recognizing his slave history and deciding not to be defined by it. You’ve got to remember he was one of the most famous men in the world called Cassius Clay, and you decide to change your name. There’s a beauty in his defiance.”
ALI is slated to hit Broadway in 2024. Revisit his 1965 fight against Sonny Liston below.