Phenomenal Woman: An Evening with Maya Angelou, a new show about the late poet, author, and National Medal of Arts and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, is aiming for a Broadway bow in 2021.
Drawn from her writings, along with private musings, the solo show will be produced by David Michael Rich of Corstoria, LLC, and J. Todd Harris of Branded Pictures Entertainment. The producers have secured exclusive theatrical rights for key works from Dr. Angelou’s estate and have signed her son, Guy Johnson, to help develop the project.
“My mother lived an extraordinary life,” Johnson said in a statement. “She brought a sense of passion to living and invested herself wholly in it. What she wanted most was justice for all human beings, and the freedom to experience joy and laughter. We hope to capture her joie de vivre. We’re going to include some private anecdotes that will be a revelation to audiences. I’m pleased to be working with this team in bringing her story to life and can’t wait for the public to experience it.”
Angelou’s best-known writings include the first of her seven memoirs, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings; the poem she wrote for and recited at President Bill Clinton’s first inauguration in 1993, “On the Pulse of the Morning”; and her two most popular poems, which have become anthems for generations of people of all races: “Still I Rise” and “Phenomenal Woman.”
“The paradox of our time is that while we face the physical warming of our planet, our society is growing dangerously colder,” producer Rich stated. “The world has taken a troubling turn in which expressions of hate are on the rise, from verbal invective to physical violence. Yet, when Dr. Angelou left us, she left us with everything we need to fight this scourge. We’re just not using the gifts she gave us. She told us ’When we know better, we do better.’ I hope this play will be an antidote to these challenging times.”