‘Rock Of Ages’ Creator Aims to Bring ‘Soul Train’ to Broadway
NEW YORK — The groundbreaking song-and-dance show “Soul Train” is chugging toward Broadway.
Stage and film producer Matthew Weaver, who helped create “Rock of Ages,” has acquired the theatrical stage rights to the TV show and said he’s hoping to repeat his success by turning “Soul Train” into a show that attracts both die-hard Broadway fans and those who usually avoid Times Square.
“I’m nervous and I’m humbled and I’m excited,” said Weaver, who heads the production company MediaWeaver Entertainment. “I do think we’re the right people to do it because I think it’s got to have that spirit of ‘Rock of Ages,’ which is part old-fashioned musical but also part party.”
“Soul Train,” with its trademark animated train opening, provided a national, weekly showcase for R&B artists, black culture and fashion, and gave advertisers an entree to the black consumer market. It later had to compete with video shows on BET that broadcast black artists, and eventually MTV and VH-1.
The TV show, a sort of black version of “American Bandstand,” featured such acts as James Brown, Al Green, Ike and Tina Turner, Hall & Oates, Donna Summer, Marvin Gaye, The Jackson 5, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Whitney Houston, David Bowie, Prince, Run D.M.C. and Destiny’s Child during its 35-year run. Moves that “Soul Train” dancers developed spread nationwide.
Don Cornelius started the music and dance show in 1970 in Chicago and served as its host until 1993. It aired in syndication from 1971 until 2006 and spun off an awards show that is still aired. Cornelius killed himself in 2012.