I wasn’t present for it, but the New York Post’s Page Six is reporting that, during an event at the Edward Tyler Nahem gallery in New York City a couple of days ago, where/when Walter Mosley read from his latest novel "Debbie Doesn’t Do It Anymore," the author revealed that he is currently adapting his novel "Devil in a Blue Dress" for Broadway – a production that he also said would be scored by jazz master and composer Branford Marsalis.
It’s not the TV series based on the novel that NBC was once interested in, but eventually passed on; nor is it a follow-up to the 1995 movie that starred Denzel Washington – the first and only on-screen appearance of Rawlins, even though Mosley has featured the character in at least 10 novels, which would’ve made for a film franchise built around the character, for Denzel to star in, if further explored. The first (and only) film, directed by Carl Franklin, was actually very well received, and is still held in high regard today. It didn’t do blockbuster box office, but the critics loved it, and one could say that it’s become something of a "cult classic" over the years, as audiences who didn’t see it in theaters during its initial release, discovered it on home video.
So I suppose a Broadway adaptation would be the next best thing to a TV series, or more films. At least, we’ll have to settle for that… assuming it’s actually seen all the way through, to exhibition, and not just yet another Walter Mosley project that producers/financiers back out of before it ever hits the stage.
But with Branford Marsalis attached to score the play, it could be closer to being realized than not.
Might Denzel Washington and Don Cheadle reprise their roles, but this time on Broadway? Denzel is certainly keen on returning to the stage every few years, as he’s said in recent interviews, so I expect that we’ll see him back on the so-called Great White Way in another 2 to 3 years, starring in another play.
As for Cheadle, he’s never been on Broadway, so, if this were to happen, it would be his debut. Although he starred in Suzan-Lori Parks’ "Topdog/Underdog," during its successful run off-Broadway in 2001, with Jeffrey Wright. The play did eventually move to Broadway, a year later, but Cheadle was replaced by Mos Def.
Then again, a Broadway play based on "Devin in a Blue Dress" may star an entirely new group of faces, who weren’t in the film. But I mention Denzel and Cheadle because Broadway has demonstrated in recent years that it prefers *name* actors (especially those who are already successful in film and/or TV), who often attract audiences (and thus ticket sales) in an industry that’s simply not what it used to be, seeing a decline in recent years, just as the film and TV industries have, as competition for consumer entertainment dollars intensifies.
So what do you think about "Devil in a Blue Dress" on Broadway?