Toymaker Hasbro Inc. is partnering with Broadway producer the Araca Group to create a Broadway musical based on the board game Monopoly.
Monopoly: The Musical is described as an immersive-style show, meaning that members of the audience take part in the action.
A statement from producers said that the creative team is being finalized. No details were offered about stars or a production schedule.
The game, which was developed in 1903 and widely marketed by Parker Brothers in 1935 during the depths of the Great Depression, teaches the elements of business. As players move around the board, they are allowed to buy real estate (based on the names of streets in Atlantic City, NJ). When another player lands on that real estate in subsequent turns, they must pay rent. Owners of the real estate plots can develop them with houses and hotels, which drastically increases the amount of rent other players must pay. The object of the game is to amass all the real estate on the board, and to achieve a "monopoly."
The producers did not explain how the game will be developed as a musical. The show represents Hasbro's first venture onto Broadway.
The game is symbolized by “Mr. Monopoly,” a character with a top hat and white moustache. It also added the expression to the American lexicon, “Do not pass Go, do not collect $200,” which appears on the dreaded “Go To Jail” action card.
Among Hasbro's games and toys are Play-doh, Nerf products and Transformers. “Monopoly is one of the most iconic gaming brands of all time,” said Simon Waters, General Manager & SVP Entertainment & Consumer Products, Hasbro. “Hasbro is dedicated to delivering new and exciting ways for consumers to interact with all of our brands, and this stage adaptation will do just that—offering fans a unique and immersive experience for people of all ages. We are excited to work with The Araca Group to bring Monopoly to life on Broadway and across the country.”
Habro has tried several times previously to develop Monopoly in other media. Universal Pictures announced in 2008 that it was developing a feature film based on the game, but the company opted out in 2012. More successful was a Monopoly game show that played in summer 1990 on ABC-TV. Hasbro announced last summer that it is trying again for a feature film, to be co-produced with Lionsgate.
Araca’s producing history includes Broadway hits Urinetown, Frankie and Johnny in the Claire de Lune with Edie Falco and Stanley Tucci, A View from the Bridge with Liev Schrieber and Scarlett Johannsson and the Pulitzer Prize winner Disgraced. The company is co-producer of Wicked, and the Tony Award winner Boeing, Boeing, A Raisin in the Sun and Skylight. Monopoly: The Musical will be produced under a license from Hasbro, and coincides with the recent launch of Araca Media & Entertainment, a new content division focused on adapting iconic brands and franchises into live events around the world.
“We are thrilled to work with Hasbro and extraordinarily talented creative minds to develop a stage adaptation of Monopoly,” said Araca Group CEO Matthew Rego. “Araca has always been committed to bringing material to the stage that thrills audiences’ imaginations, touches their hearts and ignites fits of laughter. Being given the opportunity to do so with iconic Hasbro brands such as Monopoly was almost too good to be true.”