Prince’s ‘Purple Rain’ Is Being Adapted as a Broadway-Bound Musical, 40 Years After Film and Album’s Release

Purple Rain is the latest film to make the jump from the screen to the stage.

On Monday, producer Orin Wolf announced the Prince’s legendary 1984 film is being adapted into a new Broadway-bound musical.

The show — which tells the fictional story “an up-and-coming rock musician in the Minneapolis club scene, as he contends with a tumultuous home environment, a rival band and a budding romance” — will feature a book by two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, based on the original screenplay by Albert Magnoli and William Blinn.

Music and lyrics come from Prince, whose soundtrack from the film sparked hit singles “Went Doves Cry,” “Lets Go Crazy,” “I Would Die 4 U,” “Take Me with U,” and of course, “Purple Rain” (among other tracks). The album was a huge success, selling over 25 million copies worldwide, spending 24 weeks at the No. 1 spot on the Billboard charts and winning Prince two Grammys and an Academy Award for Best Original Song Score.

“Purple Rain” by Prince.
Courtesy Warner Bros.

No production details or timing have been announced yet, but when it does, the musical will be directed by Tony nominee Lileana Blain-Cruz (The Skin of Our Teeth, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone).

Purple Rain was Prince’s motion picture debut. The movie earned $100 million worldwide and was added into the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress in 2019 for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”

Over the course of his career, Prince sold over 150 records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling musicians of all time. He won 7 Grammys, and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2024. His tune “Song of the Heart” from the film Happy Feet earned him a Golden Globe in 2006.

The late musician, who died on April 21, 2016 at the age of 57 from a Fentanyl overdose, would return to the silver screen in 1986’s Under the Cherry Moon, which also marked his directorial debut. His third and final major theatrical role was 1990’s Graffiti Bridge, the standalone sequel to Purple Rain. He wrote and directed the film, too.

Meanwhile, this isn’t the first time Wolf has produced a stage adaptation of a popular movie. He helped produce the Broadway productions of 2012’s Once and 2017’s The Band’s Visit, both of which won the industry’s coveted best musical Tony award. The theatrical producer was also behind the 2013 musical version of the documentary Hands on a Hardbody, as well as the hit 2014 musical Beautiful: The Carole King Story and the acclaimed 2018 play To Kill a Mockingbird (among others).

“It’s been almost 40 years since Prince’s legendary film, Purple Rain, took the world by storm and we can’t think of a more fitting tribute than to honor Prince and the Purple Rain legacy with this stage adaptation of the beloved story,” producers L Londell McMillan, chairman of The NorthStar Group, and Larry Mestel, founder & CEO of Primary Wave Music, said in a statement. “We are thrilled with our Broadway partners and creative team, who are bringing a theatricality to the film’s original fictional story. We can’t wait for a new generation to discover Purple Rain and for lovers of the original film and album to experience its power once again, this time live.”

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