The producing team behind “Ray” has set its sights on Broadway, acquiring rights from the Ray Charles Estate and Ray Charles Enterprises.
Stuart Benjamin — who worked on “Ray” for 15 years before it opened last fall — will again partner with Howard and Karen Baldwin on the project, to be produced by Benjamin Prods. and Baldwin Entertainment Group. Joe Adams, Charles’ longtime manager, will also produce.
The producers, who have extensive feature backgrounds but are Broadway novices, envision the project as focusing on Charles’ personality and covering his entire career via dramatic vignettes and music performances. No date’s been set as a target for opening.
“Ray” grossed $75 million domestically and more than $40 million internationally for Universal. Jamie Foxx won the Oscar for lead actor. Howard Baldwin said in the wake of the film’s performance, people have been clamoring for more.
“The stage is a natural home for this material, and our collaborators are top-notch,” he added.
The Baldwins produced “Sahara” and recently announced plans for a biopic about Jackie Robinson and Branch Rickey with Robert Redford attached to produce and star as Rickey. The Baldwins also produced “The Game of Their Lives” and “Danny Deckchair.”
Benjamin produced the soundtrack CDs for “Ray,” the TV special “Genius: A Night for Ray Charles,” and the DVD. Among his film producing credits are “La Bamba,” and “Everybody’s All American.”