'Phenomenal' Life of Maya Angelou Aims for Broadway

Maya Angelou 1996 - H 2014
AP Photo/Chuck Burton

Maya Angelou 1996 - H 2014

Producers are eyeing a 2021 premiere for 'Phenomenal Woman: An Evening With Maya Angelou.'

The life story of renowned poet, writer and National Medal of Arts and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient Maya Angelou, author of the classic memoir I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, is being developed for Broadway.

The production, titled Phenomenal Woman: An Evening With Maya Angelou, is being produced by David Michael Rich of Corstoria, LLC, and J. Todd Harris of Branded Pictures Entertainment. It will be a one-woman show drawing from the late Angelou's many writings, along with "some private musings that have never before been made public," according to a Wednesday release announcing the news.

The producers have exclusive theatrical rights for key works from her estate. Angelou's son Guy Johnson will also help develop the project.

“My mother lived an extraordinary life,” said Johnson. “She brought a sense of passion to living and invested herself wholly in it. What she wanted most was justice for all human beings, and the freedom to experience joy and laughter. We hope to capture her joie de vivre. We’re going to include some private anecdotes that will be a revelation to audiences. I’m pleased to be working with this team in bringing her story to life and can’t wait for the public to experience it.”

Said Rich: "The paradox of our time is that while we face the physical warming of our planet, our society is growing dangerously colder. The world has taken a troubling turn in which expressions of hate are on the rise, from verbal invective to physical violence. Yet, when Dr. Angelou left us, she left us with everything we need to fight this scourge. We’re just not using the gifts she gave us. She told us 'when we know better, we do better.' I hope this play will be an antidote to these challenging times."

Harris' previous stage productions include Heathers: The Musical, Doctor Zhivago and American Psycho. Feature film titles include Bottle Shock, The Kids Are All Right and many others. 

Producers are aiming for a 2021 premiere for Phenomenal Woman. No director is attached at this stage.