NEW YORK (Reuters) - Bruce Lee and Nelson Mandela are coming to Broadway.
Separate musicals about the late martial arts action hero and South Africa’s struggle for freedom from apartheid are due to hit the stage in the coming years.
“Bruce Lee: Journey to the West” will be a musical telling of the story of his success in 2010 or 2011.
Separately, due in May 2010 is a musical based in part on a forthcoming memoir by Zindzi Mandela, daughter of the former South African president.
The Bruce Lee production will track the kung fu superstar’s journey using figures from Chinese mythology to follow his quest and The Monkey King, a warrior god, who becomes his heavenly ally, according to a statement from the production’s publicists.
Lee, who died in Hong Kong in 1973, was beloved by fans for martial arts movies like “Enter the Dragon” and “Fists of Fury.” At least four documentaries have been produced about his life. He was born in San Francisco in 1940, grew up in Hong Kong and became a kung fu whiz kid by the age of 10.
The show will include martial arts, Chinese opera, modern dance and pop music as Lee struggles to master his skills, purify his spirit and forge a link to unite East and West, the statement said. The lead actor has yet to be chosen.
It will be directed by Bartlett Sher, who directed the current Broadway revival of “South Pacific” at Lincoln Center, and will be produced by Elephant Eye Theatrical.
The Zindzi Mandela memoir recounts anecdotes from her youth as she grew up during South African apartheid with her father in jail, according to a statement from the publicists. It will be produced by Routh/Frankel/Baruch/Viertel Group and PSE Broadway LLC.
“I think it’s the right time for the story to be told, and PSE Broadway’s idea to take the story to the musical stage is exciting,” Zindzi Mandela said in the statement. “The freedom songs were so important to the morale of the people, so it’s natural for the story to be told with music as a cornerstone.”
Editing by Daniel Trotta and Cynthia Osterman