Broadway’s Visionary Prepares New Work Based on Cult Classic ‘The Warriors’

Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creative force behind the groundbreaking musicals Hamilton and In the Heights, is wrapping up recording a concept album for a new musical co-written with playwright Eisa Davis. The album will be based on the 1979 movie The Warriors, a film renowned for its sympathetic depiction of gang members and its gritty cinematography, which made it a touchstone for youth counterculture.

Representatives for Miranda have declined to comment on the project, but sources close to the production have confirmed that the album is nearing completion and features both Broadway actors and major pop stars.

While debuting a show as a concept album is relatively rare today, it was how Miranda originally intended to launch Hamilton in 2015. This method, although unconventional, has historical precedents. Musicals like Here Lies Love, The Who’s Tommy, Jesus Christ Superstar, and Evita also began as albums. “A popular album can create enormous advance buzz and huge advance ticket sales for its Broadway run the next year,” says Ryan Donovan, an assistant professor of theater studies at Duke University. “It’s another way of building familiarity for audiences.”

The Warriors is an apt choice for Miranda, given his demonstrated fondness for New York City, the setting for his Tony Award-winning musical-turned-movie In the Heights. The story follows a street gang wrongly accused of killing a rival gang leader in the Bronx. With most of New York’s underworld out to get them, the gang must fight its way back to their home turf on Coney Island. The movie, based on Sol Yurick’s 1965 novel, itself inspired by the ancient Greek writer Xenophon’s story Anabasis, has a deep narrative well-suited to Miranda’s storytelling prowess.

Miranda’s star has only risen since his breakthrough with Hamilton. He has composed music for Disney’s animated hits Encanto and Moana, produced the film adaptation of In the Heights, co-starred in Mary Poppins Returns, directed the Netflix movie Tick, Tick… Boom!, and executive-produced the 2019 miniseries Fosse/Verdon.

His collaborator, Eisa Davis, is a Pulitzer Prize finalist for Bulrusher, a play about a clairvoyant, multiracial girl in a predominantly white town. Davis also wrote and starred in the stage memoir Angela’s Mixtape and won an Obie for her acting in Passing Strange.

The release date for the concept album has yet to be announced, but the project is already generating significant anticipation. With Miranda’s track record and the intriguing source material, the album promises to be a compelling addition to the Broadway landscape.

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