One of the depressing narratives about the death of a great recording artist is what happens to their work after they die. For every estate that protects the artist’s legacy, there are more that rent out their music to commercials and other stuff the artist would never had done when they were alive. I don’t know where this latest news about Prince falls in that spectrum.
Variety is reporting that Universal has bought the rights to a number of late musicians songs and intends to build a fiction musical around them. This musical will be less like the semi-autobiographical Purple Rain, which Prince stared in, but more of a “jukebox” musical like Mamma Mia! where a narrative will be woven around some of Prince’s greatest hits.
The Prince estate was actively looking for a studio willing to do a project like this one, and Universal, who has been home to musicals such as the aforementioned Mamma Mia, the Pitch Perfect trilogy, Les Miserables and the upcoming, yet-to-be named Danny Boyle musical, the musical Last Christmas (which features the music of George Michael), and the film adaptation of Cats, was the ideal choice to take this on.
It would be interesting to think about what Prince’s take on this would have been if he was still alive. He was not one to shy away from movies based on his music, but he was also wary of corporations taking advantage of his creativity to make money for themselves.
More on this as it becomes available.