Rapper and A Tribe Called Quest co-founder Q-Tip is entering the ring as music producer, co-lyricist and cast album producer on Ali, the upcoming stage musical based on Muhammad Ali’s life. Deadline reports Q-Tip (Kamaal Ibn John Fareed) will work alongside Ali producer Richard Willis, director / book writer Clint Dyer (Get Up, Stand Up! The Bob Marley Musical, Othello), and composer Teddy Abrams (Music Director of the Louisville Orchestra) on the production, which will also feature saxophonist Casey Benjamin (Robert Glasper, Mos Def) as associate music producer, and Sean Hayes (MJ, Hadestown) as music supervisor.
“I am very excited to be collaborating with Teddy, Clint, Casey and Sean in telling The Greatest’s story on stage,” Q-Tip told Deadline. “Muhammad Ali has always been a hero to me!”
Richard Willis told Deadline that the production will combine spoken word, verse, classical music and poetry, rap and hip-hop, saying, “We want to take the traditional musical theater structure that works and then tip it on its ear a little bit.” Clint Dyer added, “We’ll use his hip-hop beats, and his talents will be used in other areas as well. This show’s covering a lot of areas of music and we’ll exhaust all of Q-Tip’s knowledge.”
Clearly, Ali is in the early stages of pre-production, so stay tuned.