By Kenneth Jones
Matt Murphy, a producer on Broadway's Memphis, Impressionism and Thurgood, told Playbill.com that he has acquired the stage rights to Michael Blake's 1986 book, which is better known as an Academy Award-winning 1990 film that starred Kevin Costner (it won Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay, among other Oscars). Murphy is putting together a writing team to adapt the novel into a musical for the Broadway stage. He expects the score to have music inspired by folk, Appalachian, Civil War and Native American music.
Murphy said he was attracted to the story's "collision of two different cultures" and its exploration of "how different and how similar people are."
The project's composer will be teamed with a Native American musical expert to lend authenticity to the score, in the same way South African artists worked with Elton John on the score for The Lion King.
Murphy said he wants to properly represent "the ritual and ceremony of Native Americans," and added that he will also be seeking native people for the cast.
"Our goal is to honor the legacy of Native American culture," Murphy said.
I've posted about perhaps 50-100 Native plays since I started this blog. Perhaps 5-10 of them were musicals. I'd say Murphy should know the field better before he ventures into it.
For more on the subject, see Dances with Wolves Opened Film Floodgate and Native Plays and Other Stage Shows.