This October, fans of The Roots can catch the group’s lead MC, Black Thought, on stage in the new musical Black No More. The rapper will also compose the music and lyrics for the show – a stage adaptation of the 1931 George S. Schuyler novel – while John Ridley (12 Years a Slave) will write the book.
Set to open at New York’s Pershing Square Signature Center, the musical will also star Tony Award nominees Brandon Victor Dixon (Hamilton) and Jennifer Damiano (Next To Normal), as well as Rent’s Tamika Lawrence and American Idiot’s Theo Stockman.
On their website, theatrical company The New Group set the scene for Black No More, based on Schuyler’s satirical, Harlem Renaissance-era novel. “It’s June 1928 in New York City, and Howard University graduate Dr Junius Crookman promotes a mysterious machine that promises to remove the burden of race from any person of colour by turning them white – Crookman’s plan to ‘solve the American race problem’. Black No More is an examination of race, identity and the very nature of love”.
The musical will be directed by Scott Elliot (Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, Yeah, Sister!) and choreographed by Tony Award-winner Bill T. Jones (Fela!, Spring Awakening).
Though Black Thought, born Tariq Trotter, has not yet announced his role in the play, he has appeared in a variety of acting roles over the years, including on shows like Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and The Deuce, and in films like 2015’s Stealing Cars and Spike Lee’s Bamboozled.
Acclaimed for his complex lyrical prowess, the MC is a founding member of The Roots, along with Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, and appears every night on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon with The Roots, who serve as the late-night show’s house band. Trotter and Thompson are also no strangers to Broadway – the Grammy Award-winning artists produced the 2015 Original Broadway Cast Recording of the musical Hamilton, which remains the best-selling cast album of all-time.