‘Super Fly’ musical heading to Broadway

Ron O'Neal and Carl Lee in 'Super Fly.' Image via YouTube.

Ron O'Neal and Carl Lee in 'Super Fly.' Image via YouTube.

More than 40 years after becoming a cult classic Blaxploitation film, Super Fly is heading to Broadway as a musical.

The 1972 film was directed by Gordon Parks Jr. and starred Ron O’Neal as Priest, an African American cocaine dealer who is trying to quit the drug business.

The soundtrack for Super Fly, which was the third studio album from soul and funk musician Curtis Mayfield, took on a life of its own. The soundtrack topped the Billboard pop album charts for 4 weeks, and to this day is one of the few film soundtracks to out-gross the movie it accompanied.

The Broadway adaptation of Super Fly is expected to debut later this year, and will be produced by Tommy Mottola along with the Dodgers production company.

During an interview on the Howard Stern Show earlier this week, Mottola revealed that legendary choreographer Bill T. Jones will direct and choreograph the show.

“I’m producing three Broadway shows,” he said. “One of them is Super Fly, which is going to be a take of 70’s movie. My producing partners are the Dodgers, who produced Jersey Boys and Jesus Christ Superstar. It will probably be going on Broadway at the end of this year.”

There is no official word yet on who has been cast to star as Priest, a.k.a Super Fly, in the show.

However, according to a March 2012 casting notice for the musical, Jones describes Priest as a mixed-race (African-American and Caucasian) “drug pusher, a stick-up artist and a child of the ghetto, who truly beats the system, outsmarting the corrupt police force so that he can break free and start a new life. Though some may find him despicable, one cannot help but be moved by the ultimate triumph of this most unlikely hero.”

American Idol alum Justin Guarini took on the role of Priest during a New York City workshop of the show that ran in 2011.

Speculation has been made that he may reprise his role on Broadway, but Guarini has yet to confirm.

Follow Chris Witherspoon on Twitter at @WitherspoonC