Prince IS Music...and Inspires Musicals? Musing About the upcoming Prince-Inspired Musical.

Updated: Dec 18, 2018


So, I saw a fantastic film this past week, Bohemian Rhapsody, a biopic about one of the greatest rock bands of all time, Queen. The movie spotlighted their lead singer, the fabulous Freddie Mercury. Even if you’re like me, and didn’t learn about Queen until Wayne’s World (thanks Mike Myers!) the film will still remind you of why you love the band and how many great songs they wrote that you didn’t remember or don’t really think about. The film did include some creative license in terms of chronology and a few other items, but the music and performances more than made up for that. I left the theater feeling deeply moved, in awe, and saddened that Mr. Fahrenheit burned so brightly, so beautifully, yet so briefly, before ending so badly … all good things they say, never last ...[1] Despite his physical and emotional pain, he did what he was sent here to do, to the fullest. I have nothing but love and respect for him and the band.


Outside the theater I was hit with articles boasting that based on the success of the Bohemian Rhapsody film, plans are being made for a Prince-Inspired musical.[2] Um, excuse me? Musical? Some articles even phrase it as “giving Prince the ‘Mamma Mia treatment.’” Now, say what now? So, wait, are we in for something amazing like Bohemian Rhapsody or not? Apparently, we’re not. You see, somehow, the film inspired Universal Publishing, to work toward coming up with a fictional story to be set to Prince’s “classic music” which the company recently acquired rights to. The Variety article points out that, “The Estate and Universal felt the biopic angle had largely been covered by Purple Rain.”[3] Facepalm.


…and pause. Though I am admittedly Prince-Girl-Crazy, I am also a Gemini and can, at times, be fairly levelheaded. I will research before completely losing my mind over things concerning him. On this though, simply put, Prince’s nearly 40-year career was not largely covered in Purple Rain. Don’t misunderstand me, I LOVE the movie. I’ve seen it an inordinate number of times, and will definitely watch it again, just like any other good Prince Fam. Still, it is not a biopic. It is not his entire story. I have a lot of Purple Fam who love to discuss topics like this, with me, so here are my thoughts.


Gotta lay out some definitions for clarity, can’t help myself. So, here we go.

1. Biopic – a biographical (recorded history of a person’s life) movie.[4]

· Ex: A film about a musician’s life wherein the musical performances all take place on stage or in the studio vs.:

2. Musical - a play or motion picture in which the story line is interspersed with or developed by songs, dances, and the like.[5]

· Ex: A character is feeling an emotion and bursts into song and dance wherever they happen to be, grocery store, soccer game, whatever, in order to explain it to the audience, and this behavior continues throughout the piece.


To be clear, I don’t hate musicals. I happen to Love Grease. I know every song word-for-word, and especially love Stockard Channing’s version of The Worst Thing I Could Do. Mamma Mia tells a story using the songs of ABBA. I dig ABBA. I LOVE Meryl Streep. Still, with Prince, it’s just different. He isn’t your average … anything. He’s above and beyond. Prince IS Music. He said it himself.


“I’m a musician. And I am music.” [6]


I can imagine him inspiring a musical. Prince’s music is the soundtrack to a whole lotta folk’s lives. Whose story is special enough to make this idea work?


I think as a life-long Prince-lover, at the heart of it all is a feeling of needing to protect his work, because he did so, fiercely, when he was here physically. He didn’t just give it to any old commercial enterprise for a fast buck. He called his songs his children on more than one occasion. He endured the fight of his life for control over the rights to his intellectual property. (By the way, this fact is the type of thing that needs to be covered in a true biopic).

I’m not saying a Prince-inspired musical will be bad for certain. I suppose I’m just irritated with the current pattern of doing unnecessary things that would never have happened if he were still here, when there is so much that still actually needs to be done, i.e., credit card commercials using his music for profit vs. sharing unseen footage of his life’s work for education and entertainment of the masses.


Additionally, as Prince often told us, he “got too many hits.” Continuously only covering the first decade of his career leaves so much out. “Classic Prince” = rolling out the music from the 80’s. He deserves to have his full picture presented to the world, via a well-cast, film, not just another one of these tabloid-y (I like to make up words sometimes too) one-hour docudramas that focus on the salacious and leave out the spiritual. Yeah, I said it. I mean, a brother was still winning awards for his work in the 2000’s. Respect due. Maybe I’m being Prince-Girl-Paranoid, but it seems like the narrative that he didn’t exist outside of his contract with Warner Bros., is being pushed … heavily.


The “powers that be” put out the message that the upcoming film is inspired by an amazing and rightfully successful biopic, knowing full well it most certainly will not be anything like it. Why does it make a difference?


Well, think about how moved you were when you saw the film Ray, about the life and career of Ray Charles. Jamie Foxx truly helped bring this legend to life for those of us who weren’t around to witness. The film is excellent. Did you hate Ike Turner after seeing What’s Love Got to Do With It? Did you gain a whole new respect for Tina Turner? Fall madly in love with the amazing Angela Bassett in her award-winning portrayal of the singer? Were you like me, and renewed your mental marriage vows to Larenz Tate when he knocked your socks off as Frankie Lymon in Why Do Fools Fall in Love?


In a fashion similar to Bohemian Rhapsody, those films, told the true stories of some of the most amazing musicians to walk the earth, and included important events and people that helped change history. Maybe it’s too soon, but Prince and his life’s work are absolutely positively worthy of a film like the aforementioned (Ray, Bohemian Rhapsody, etc.), Now … don’t get me started on who’s qualified to play him in the film, we’ll be here all year, LOL!


Much Love 2 You,


Violet

@violetesq

@violetbinteractive

www.VioletBInterACTive.com

Always on Our Minds ~ Forever in Our Hearts #paisleyparkisinyour dcbt<3 #princeandthenpg NPG4Ever NPG4Life Prince IS Music~Music is...Everything  I AM Violet #violettheorgangrinder #iamviolet #musiciseverything #npg4life #npg4ever #princeforever #respectthelegacy #prince #mplsgenius #princerogersnelson #hisroyalbadness #purpleyoda #therewillneverbeanother #thebeautifulone #princestagram #prettyman #amazingmusician #princeismusic #realmusic #violetesq #singersongwriter #musicislife

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[1] Prince. Lyrics from “Sometimes It Snows In April.” Parade: Music From The Motion Picture, Under the Cherry Moon, Warner Bros., 1986.














[2] Kroll, Justin.”Movie Inspired by Prince’s Music in the Works at

Universal." Variety, December 3, 2018, https://variety.com/2018/film/news/universal-original-movie-inspired-by-princes-music-1203067739/


[3] Kroll, Variety.


[4] “Biopic.” Def. www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/army Merriam-Webster Dictionary, 2018, December 7, 2018.


[5] “Musical.” Def. www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/army Merriam-Webster Dictionary, 2018, December 7, 2018.


[6] Lynskey, Dorian. “Interview Prince: I’m a musician. And I am music.” The Guardian, June 23, 2011, https://www.theguardian.com/music/2011/jun/23/prince-interview-adele-internet


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