Sarah Jones (“Surface Transit”) has joined the creative team of the new stage musical “Ball,” the first tuner based on a TV commercial. Daily Variety announced the Nike-inspired project last December when playwright-director Charles Randolph-Wright (“Blue”) signed to co-write the book and helm the show about street basketball.
“Ball” is a joint venture between an advertising agency, Wieden+Kennedy, and a production company, @radical.media, both of which are involved with the Nike “Freestyle” campaign, choreographed by Savion Glover. The “Stomp” choreographer will perform similar duties on “Ball.”
Jones’ much-acclaimed one-person show “Surface Transit” enjoyed a long run last year at PS 122. A national tour followed, with another planned for early next year. This summer she takes her one-person “Women Can’t Wait” to India, with a third play commissioned by the Ford Foundation. Jones’ previously wrote material for Paul Simon’s “Capeman” on Broadway.
Randolph-Wright and Jimmy Smith, copywriter of the Nike “Freestyle” commercials, are the book scribes, with Jones and performance-poet Poetri writing specifically for the show’s two lead characters, Jazz and Prophet.
Poetri, who hosts the Poetry Lounge in Los Angeles, will perform similar duties on the show’s lead male character, Prophet.
The music side of “Ball” is equally eclectic, not to mention crowded, with the shows’ original score being written by Bootsy Collins (Funkadelic), Nona Hendryx (Labelle), Amanda McBroom (“The Rose”) and hip-hop producer Doc and Ahmir Thompson (the Roots).
A preliminary reading of “Ball” was recently held at the WestBeth Theater in New York. A second reading is skedded for July.