Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) September 29, 2015
Anthony E. Zuiker, creator of the “CSI” franchise and one of Hollywood’s most innovative storytellers, is officially on board to write Soul Train the musical for Broadway. The project re-teams Zuiker with Tony Award®-nominated producer Matthew Weaver (Rock of Ages) of movie, TV and stage production company MediaWeaver Entertainment who acquired the theatrical stage rights to the musical variety television series "Soul Train” last year.
Created in 1970 by Don Cornelius, "Soul Train" is the longest running, first-run, nationally syndicated music program in television history. The series deeply influenced a generation and broke racial barriers by famously introducing the world to new music, artists, dance moves and styles on a weekly basis.
The son of a single mother who worked as a casino cocktail waitress in Las Vegas in the 70s and 80s, Zuiker grew up in the “Soul Train” era. If he wasn’t visiting his mother at work to catch a glimpse of The 5th Dimension or Bill Withers performing in the casino cocktail lounge, he was listening to records at home, often finding that the music made popular by “Soul Train” got him and his mother through some very difficult times. It was while working in Vegas that Zuiker wrote the pilot for “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” which premiered in the fall of 2000. The show went on to become television’s number one drama for seven seasons and spawned three television spin-offs (“CSI: Cyber,” “CSI: Miami” and “CSI: New York”) to become a global TV phenomenon.
“I speak from the heart when I say that 'Soul Train' touched me deeply. It has impacted this country on so many levels, bringing joy and hope to so many people out there, including me,” said Zuiker. “I am truly honored that Matthew Weaver and the rights holders have trusted me to share this important story and look forward to bringing 'Soul Train' the musical to Broadway.”
Soul Train the musical will be a “lyrical narrative,” weaving together the personal story of “Soul Train” creator Don Cornelius with more than 20 classic hit songs from the TV series including “Proud Mary” (Ike & Tina Turner), “I’ll Be Around” (The Spinners), “Loving You” (Minnie Riperton), and “Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me ” (Gladys Knight & The Pips).
“When you think about “Soul Train” and what it did for television, you immediately think of words like groundbreaking, risk taking and innovating,” said Earvin "Magic" Johnson, chairman of Soul Train Holdings, LLC. “As the creator of “CSI” and a brilliant writer, Anthony is cut from that same cloth, and I personally look forward to him bringing his experience to this project.”
“From our very first conversations, I knew that Anthony’s experience and vision made him the perfect writer to marry the incredible music that made “Soul Train” a pop culture movement with storytelling that speaks to audiences young and old,” added Richard Gay, Executive Vice President, Strategy and Operations at BET Networks, who manages the Soul Train brand.
Before “CSI” became a household name, Matt Weaver first experienced Zuiker’s unbridled passion for everything he takes on in life during a pitch to the studios for a Harlem Globetrotters movie project.
“I can honestly say that I have never met a writer like Anthony Zuiker. 20 years later and he is still the most humble, passionate and authentic person I know,” said Weaver. “His commitment to “Soul Train,” the era, the people and the music is unbridled, and his willingness to share his passion and vision with the “Soul Train” community is what makes him such an original. Anthony’s vision for “Soul Train” the musical is emotional, deep, funny, edgy, and authentic. I think people are going to be very surprised and deeply touched.”
Tony Cornelius, son of “Soul Train” creator Don Cornelius and executive producer on the musical, added, “Growing up on the set of “Soul Train,” I was acutely aware of how the show touched the lives of not only the audience, but the dancers, the artists and the team that put on the show each week. However, what people don't know is that the show did quite a few things extremely well. Music, dance, lighting & sound, all of which together enhanced its 37 year-old tradition in television history. It’s exciting to have Anthony help bring the story of “Soul Train” to life extending my father’s vision as well as inspiring generations to come.”
"Soul Train" is the longest running, first-run, nationally syndicated music program in television history (35 years - from 1971 to 2006). It predominantly featured performances by R&B, pop, soul, and hip hop artists in addition to funk, jazz, disco and gospel performers. "Soul Train" highlighted a cast of diverse dancers as well as the legendary Soul Train dance line. The legacy of "Soul Train" lives on through the annual Soul Train Awards, which honors the best in urban music and entertainment.
Soul Train the musical is a MediaWeaver Entertainment Production and is produced by Matthew Weaver who also produced “Rock of Ages,” the 27th longest running musical in history and recipient of five Tony Award nominations. Jeff Tick (former owner of the Helen Hayes Theatre) and Nick Stern are co-producers, Paula Kaminsky Davis is associate producer, and Tony Cornelius is executive producer.
About Anthony E. Zuiker
Anthony E. Zuiker is the creator of television's hugely successful “CSI” franchise, including the newest series, “CSI: Cyber” which returns for a second season on CBS this fall. When “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation premiered in 2000, it broke new ground for its unique storytelling and ground-breaking production values and went on to rank as television’s number one drama for seven seasons. There is no disputing “CSI” has become a global phenomenon, earning the title of the “most-watched show in the world” on multiple occasions, spawning three television spin-offs (“CSI: Cyber,” “CSI: Miami” and “CSI: New York”), airing hundreds of episodes, and even recently breaking a GUINNESS WORLD RECORD®. Last year, Zuiker pushed the envelope on both scripted and reality television with his first foray into the reality genre, “Whodunnit?” for ABC. One of the most groundbreaking cross-platform storytellers today, Zuiker created and executive produced “Cybergeddon,” a digital blockbuster for Yahoo! The project caught the attention of the International Digital Emmy Awards, and in April of 2013, Zuiker was recognized as the recipient of the 2013 Pioneer Prize at MIPTV in Cannes. Zuiker is also credited as pioneering the “Digi-novel” genre and is the author of the best-selling series “Level 26,” published by Dutton/Penguin Group. In 2011, Zuiker published his personal memoir, Mr. CSI: How a Vegas Dreamer Made a Killing in Hollywood, One Body at a Time, with Harper Collins.