Just this December, Disney Theatricals replaced Tony Award-winning Savion Glover from the in-the-works basketball musical Hoopz after an unsuccessful workshop. Now comes news that the well-known hoofer is close to signing on to carve out choreography for another upcoming musical, Ball.
Ball is based on the Glover-choreographed Nike "Freestyle" commercials, in which five male twenty-somethings clad in b-ball attire form a Harlem Globetrotters meets-Stomp hip-hop rhythm using basketballs, a hoop, an occasional grunt, a whistle, and the sqeak of their well... Nikes. (The commercial can be seen at Nike's website). Charles Randolph-Wright was commissioned to direct and co-write the musical with the "Freestlye" copywriter Jimmy Smith.
The story of Ball centers around an inner city neighborhood and the basketball court known as "The Temple." The musical, touted as an "urban Anitgone" mixes rap, spoken word, R&B, gospel, jazz and funk. The score is being penned by a group of funk and hip-hop artists that include Bootsy Collins, Nona Hendryx, Amanda McBroom, Doc and Ahmir Thompson. Playwright-actress Sarah Jones (Surface Transit) will lend some spoken-word poetry as well as additional lyrics to the production.
A reading of Ball has already taken place at New York City's WestBeth Theatre and will have a second reading this July according to a release from production spokesperson Justin Wilkes.
Ball creator Smith, who has worked in advertising for seven years, explains in a released statement "I have felt uncomfortable, for a long time, going to the theater and never seeing a modern tale that reflects the world, people, and music as my friends and I see it. A few years ago I finally decided to stop complaining about this fact and to actually do something about it." He sums up, "That's where Ball came from." — by Ernio Hernandez