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Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Next Musical Project Will Be a Concept Album

Lin-Manuel Miranda, songwriter and actor, speaks during the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) annual meeting in New York, US, on Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022. For the first time since 2016, CGI will convene alongside the United Nations General Assembly. (Michael Nagle/Bloomberg)

(Bloomberg) -- Lin-Manuel Miranda is wrapping up the recording of a concept album for a new musical co-written by playwright Eisa Davis, according to people with knowledge of the matter. The album will be based on the 1979 movie The Warriors, whose sympathetic depictions of gang members and gritty cinematography made it a standard bearer for youth counterculture. Representatives for Miranda declined to comment.

It’s relatively unusual today to debut a show as a concept album, although according to Miranda, it’s how he initially intended to launch his 2015 musical Hamilton. But the process certainly isn’t unprecedented: Musicals including Here Lies Love, The Who's Tommy, Jesus Christ Superstar and Evita also began as albums. When it works as intended, a popular album can create “this 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.”

According to people with knowledge of the project, the album has been largely completed and features Broadway actors and major pop stars.

Given Miranda’s demonstrated fondness for New York City (the location for his Tony Award-winning musical-turned-movie In the Heights), The Warriors is a perfect fit. The movie tells the story of a street gang that’s wrongly accused of killing a rival gang leader in the Bronx; with most of the New York underworld out to get them, the gang is forced to fight its way back to its home turf on Coney Island. The movie is based on a 1965 novel of the same name by Sol Yurick, which itself is based on the ancient Greek writer Xenophon’s story Anabasis.

After shooting to international stardom as the creator and star of Hamilton, Miranda’s stayed busy. He’s written music for the Disney animated films Encanto and Moana, and served as a producer for the film-adaptation of his musical In the Heights. He also co-starred in Mary Poppins Returns, directed the Netflix movie Tick, Tick... Boom!, and executive-produced the 2019 miniseries Fosse/Verdon.

Davis is known as a Pulitzer-Prize finalist for Bulrusher, a play about a clairvoyant, multiracial girl who grows up 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 of the album has yet to be announced. 

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