Spike Lee's Next Project: A Viagra Musical

Nov 18, 2020 Travel News

Spike Lee’s Next Project: A Viagra Musical

Spike Lee has directed films about a black detective’s quest to infiltrate the Ku Klux Klan, a bombing of an Alabama church, and the US government‘s response to Hurricane Katrina.

But for his latest project, a musical that chronicles the invention of Viagra, the first drug approved by the FDA to treat erectile dysfunction, he took a song and dance approach.

“I will conduct a dance, while singing a musical,” he wrote in a statement announcing the project on Tuesday.

The film will be based on a 2018 Esquire article that traces the drug’s discovery and commercialization, Deadline first reported. Lee will write the screenplay with British playwright Kwame Kwei-Armah. Songwriters Stew Stewart and Heidi Rodewald, who created the Tony-winning musical “Passing Strange,” will compose the music. (Lee filmed this musical as a concert film during his Broadway tour in 2008.)

“Glad to dance with Brother Spike”, Kwei-Armah wrote on Twitter Tuesday. Kwei-Armah is also the artistic director of the Young Vic Theater in London.

Lee, an Oscar-winning filmmaker, is known for approaching serious subjects with a sharp gaze. His most recent projects include ‘Da 5 Bloods’, a war drama about a group of black veterans returning to Vietnam, and ‘BlackKkKlansman’, a dark comedy about the first African-American detective in a police department, which earned Lee an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay. Lee also adapted his groundbreaking 1986 debut, “She’s Gotta Have It,” into a series in 2017, which ran for two seasons on Netflix.

But he’s no stranger to musicals, either: this fall he released his film production of David Byrne’s Broadway concert “American Utopia”; in 1988, he made “School Daze”, a film filled with musical numbers about the political and social clashes between students in a historically black college.

In his statement announcing the project, Lee thanked his late mother for dragging him “kickin ‘and screamin’ to the movies” when he was growing up in Brooklyn. “I didn’t want to see nerdy people singing and dancing,” he wrote – it was basketball, tackle football, “crack top”, “down da sewer” and a number of other street games in New York that had his heart.

He wrote that, being the oldest of five children and with a father who “hated the HollyWeird movies”, he became his mother’s movie date.

“Thank you Lawdy, she didn’t listen to my continuous complaints about musicals,” he wrote.

No release date or casting for the project has been announced. A representative for Lee did not immediately respond to whether the project would be a sung musical or simply include songs interspersed with dialogue.

Viagra, known generically as Sildenafil Citrate, was patented by drug maker Pfizer in the 1990s and was initially used as a treatment for heart-related chest pain. But the drug’s vessel-expanding effects meant it was also helpful in allowing blood to pump to other areas of the body. It made its commercial debut in the United States in 1998 after the FDA approved it for use in the treatment of erectile dysfunction.