The world premiere of Ali, a new Broadway-aimed musical about boxing champion and humanitarian Muhammad Ali, will debut at the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts in Louisville, Kentucky. The run is set for the fall of 2024 in Ali's hometown, and it has attracted Broadway alums to its creative team.
As previously announced, Clint Dyer (Get Up, Stand Up! The Bob Marley Musical) is penning the book with Teddy Abrams composing the score. Dyer will direct the world premiere, which will feature choreography and fight choreography by Rich + Tone Talauega (MJ), set design by Olivier winner and Tony nominee Anna Fleischle (Hangmen), costume design by Tony nominee Emilio Sosa (Sweeney Todd), lighting design by Tony nominee Jen Schriever (A Strange Loop), video, projections, and media design by Tony nominee Tal Yarden (Network) and Gino Ricardo Green (Get Up, Stand Up!), sound effects design by Ben Grant (Get Up, Stand Up!). Serving as creative dramaturge will be Fred Carl, and former Middleweight Champion Michael "Silk" Olajide, Jr. will serve as special boxing consultant and fight coordinator. Casting is by Jim Carnahan.
Additional members of the creative and design teams will be announced at a later date.
Muhammad Ali's childhood in Louisville, Kentucky, set the stage for him to become not only the greatest boxer of all time, but also an activist, entertainer, artist, and philanthropist. His combination of courage, confidence, swagger, compassion, humor, and optimism united people during the Civil Rights Movement, and his vision for a world without hate inspired generations of activists.
Broadway producer Richard Willis said, “We are beyond delighted to announce the show's world premiere will take place in the great city of Louisville, where it all began. It is going to be an incredibly special event for everyone involved, and we hope to bring joy and healing to all Louisvillians, in light of the senseless tragedies over the past week.”
Composer Abrams said in an earlier statement, “I began exploring Ali’s life in 2016 when I wrote a multimedia rap-oratorio about his life. In that process, I recognized that Ali’s journey from fighter to humanitarian reflected the personal and global conflicts and contradictions of the human condition, and through his lens I better understood persistent and fundamental issues, and the continued need to strive for peace and equality. Ali deserves the epic, dramatic treatment of a full-scale musical, enshrining his legend and teachings for his fans as well as new generations to come. I am thrilled and honored to work with such an exceptional, world-class team to create this new work!"
Willis added, “It is very humbling, being granted this opportunity to tell Muhammad Ali’s complex and incredibly powerful story on stage with two of the most gifted artists working today, Clint Dyer and Teddy Abrams, and we look forward to announcing our additional world-class creative team members soon. Ali’s examples of grace, passion, strength of spirit, cool under fire and smiling through it all, has 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.”
Ali is produced by Richard Willis, Brook T. Smith, David & Michelle Campbell, and TheTribecaWorkshop in collaboration with ABG Entertainment in partnership with Mr. Ali's widow, Lonnie Ali.