NEW MUSICAL PROJECT “THE TEN” CURRENTLY IN DEVELOPMENT FOR THE BROADWAY STAGE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE ON MONDAY, OCTOBER 17, PLEASE
NEW MUSICAL PROJECT
CURRENTLY IN DEVELOPMENT
FOR THE BROADWAY STAGE
GRAMMY AWARD® NOMINEES
NAMBI E. KELLEY
DIRECTED BY TONY AWARD WINNER®
FIRST LISTEN OF DEMO TRACK “TEN (PROLOGUE)” RELEASED HERE
New York, NY (October 17, 2022) – Producers Ken Davenport and Primary Wave Music announced today the development of The Ten, a new musical project inspired by the power and spiritual energy of gospel, featuring music that also draws from hip-hop, bluegrass, R&B, soul, and the blues. The new musical will feature music and lyrics by the Grammy Award® nominated team Future Cut (Tunde Babalola and Darren Lewis), and Emily Phillips, book by Nambi E. Kelley, and will be directed by Tony Award® winner Ruben Santiago-Hudson. Sandi Moran will also serve as producer on The Ten. A reading is being planned for early 2023.Director Ruben Santiago-Hudson said of the new project “I’m incredibly excited to be diving into the development of this fascinating new musical, The Ten, with an amazingly talented group of artists. Writers Nambi E. Kelley and Emily Phillips with composers Darren Lewis and Tunde Babalola of Future Cut bring a wonderful marriage of power and poetry through story and songs that will literally lift you out of your seats. The Ten is loosely based on the story of Moses and The Ten Commandments set in our current times. Through this fascinating story we will span the landscape of modern music, from soul and gospel, to funk, country, folk and everything in between. The Ten will wonderfully alter what our ideas of what a modern musical can be. So be prepared for a thrilling ride.” “I am thrilled to be working with Ken Davenport, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Future Cut, and Emily Phillips on our reimagination of the Moses story through the lens of a Black woman”, said writer Nambi E. Kelley. “As a Black woman, I’m excited to put our perspective at the center of this epic narrative to theatricalize how Black women are truly the catalyst for change across the world and through time.”
A first listen of the demo track “Ten (Prologue)” from the new musical project can be found here. All permissions granted for press and social usage.
“It took me all of 15 seconds of hearing one track from The Ten by Future Cut and Emily Phillips to say, ‘This. I want to produce this.’ Their music is a sound I haven’t heard before on Broadway, and I am so thankful that Primary Wave introduced me to this incredible songwriting team. And with Nambi Kelley and Ruben Santiago Hudson on board, well, I know we’ll have a type of musical that we haven’t seen before on Broadway . . . but that we desperately need”, said producer Ken Davenport.
Babalola and Lewis first gained notoriety as part of the UK’s underground club scene and have become curators of some of the pop world’s biggest hits. Having co-written Lily’s Allen’s global chart topper “Smile,” they have also worked with the likes of Rihanna, Dua Lipa, Shakira, MIA, and Lil Mix. Together with songwriter Emily Phillips, who has collaborated with artists like Florence and the Machine and Sigrid and book writer Nambi E. Kelley, who has served as a writer and co-producer on “Bel Air,” “Lady in the Lake,” and “The Chi,” they have crafted a story, loosely based on Moses and the Ten Commandments. The Ten is a secular tale focusing on emancipation, justice, and humanity using contemporary gospel music as a force for freedom, expression, and enlightenment.
Headshots for the creative team can be found HERE. Additional details about The Ten will be announced at a later date.
Future Cut (Music and Lyrics). Their work with the likes of Lily Allen, Rihanna, Tom Jones, and Shakira has seen them contribute to over 40 million album sales, three UK #1 hits and a further eleven international chart-toppers. Meet the production team of Future Cut – Tunde Babalola and Darren Lewis – two men whose musical journey has taken them from kings of the underground drum ‘n’ bass scene to curators of some of the pop world’s biggest hits.
As promoters in Manchester’s drum ‘n’ bass community of the mid-nineties it was inevitable that that the duo would meet. After Lewis distributed some flyers for one of Babalola’s nights, his new friend suggested that he could join him in the studio to work on some music together.
Soon, this casual arrangement turned into something more substantial when they hit upon their first underground classic with “Whiplash.” Future Cut ran with that initial moment of success and embarked upon the touring life of superstar DJs. It took them to Iceland, Puerto Rico, Transylvania and beyond as they memorably soundtracked the millennium in France and inadvertently got caught up in a terrifying FBI raid in New Orleans.
Back in the relative sanity of Manchester, Future Cut’s ambitions turned towards making an album which made the discovery of the talented young vocalist Jenna G somewhat fortuitous. Together they created the cult hit “Midnight.” “Midnight” sparked Un-Cut, a band project uniting Future Cut on a full-time basis with Jenna G and they soon inked a recording deal with Warner Bros. Records. While the finished album, The Un-Calculated Some, earned positive reviews for its fearless hybrid of genres, it failed to make much of an impact commercially. With Un-Cut over, and drum ‘n’ bass evolving in their absence, what would be their next step? The future was uncertain. And then they were introduced to a young singer-songwriter by the name of Lily Allen. Future Cut produced and co-wrote the majority of her 4 million selling debut album Alright, Still including its two hits “Smile” and “LDN.”
Eager to capitalize on their moment in the spotlight, Future Cut’s new priority was to make progress in America and they soon did exactly that, landing high profile production work for the likes of Nicole Scherzinger, Shakira, and Rihanna. They also established their own recording studio in London which allowed them to helm a consistent stream of hits for the likes of Little Mix, James Blunt, Olly Murs, MIA, Ella Eyre, Rizzle Kicks, TikTok phenom Caity Baser, Biffy Clyro, Dua Lipa, FKA Twigs, Rudimental and Pink Pantheress to name but a few.
Not content with producing hits for the pop market, they have teamed up with fellow songwriter Emily Phillips to create the musical The Ten. The show is currently in development alongside producer Ken Davenport, director Ruben Santiago-Hudson and writer Nambi E Kelley.
Emily Phillips (Music and Lyrics) is a London-based songwriter and lyricist, signed to Primary Wave in the US. She has had Top Ten hits on both sides of the Atlantic and has worked with artists including Sigrid, John Newman, Rizzle Kicks, Florence and the Machine, Big Time Rush, DNCE, Soak, and Nicole Scherzinger. Phillips has also had four Hottest Records in the World as chosen by BBC Radio 1, including “Everybody Loves You” (Soak) which was played as U2’s walk on stage music on their latest world tour. She has just had two cuts with Wandering Hearts on their second album which reached #1 in the Americana Charts. Emily also had a #1 iTunes hit, “Racing Cars,” with Ruti’ (winner of “The Voice”). She has just finished co-writing Dan Owens’ second album, due for release in September, and has penned Megan McKenna’s first two singles for her country project. She is also co-writing Rizzle Kicks’ third album.
She has a studio in Shepherds Bush which she shares with her husband Ant Whiting where she is currently writing with and developing artists. Emily sits on the Ivors Academy song writing committee and campaigns for Rights for Creators.
Nambi E. Kelley (Book) serves as a season 2 co-producer on Peacock’s “Bel Air.” Previous television writing credits include “Lady In The Lake” (Apple), “Our Kind of People” (Fox), and “The Chi” (Showtime). She is also in development with Lagralane on a TBA film project. Kelley is the recipient of the NNPN annual commission where her play, Re-Memori was just presented at WP’s Pipeline Festival in New York City. She is also winner of the Prince Prize which grants $75,000 to Nambi and Court Theatre for a new play based on the life of the great Kwame Ture/Stokely Carmichael. She was named a Dramatists Guild Foundation Fellow and New Victory LabWorks Fellow. She just completed a residency at New Victory Theatre through the LabWorks Program for BIPOC artists in New York City which gifted Nambi $15,000 to participate in workshops and develop her new musical for families based on the early life of Congressman John Lewis (a commission by Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera). Nambi’s John Lewis musical, titled Hero: The Boy From Troy, will tour regionally in early 2023. She is a former playwright-in-residence at the National Black Theatre, the Goodman Theatre, and a former Dramatists Guild Fellow. She was a finalist for the Francesca Primus Award, and the Kevin Spacey Foundation Award. She was chosen by Tony Morrison to adapt Morrison’s Jazz, which premiered at Baltimore Center Stage in 2017. Her adaptation of Richard Wright’s Native Son (Sam French, Concord Theatricals) premiered in New York produced by the Acting Company at The Duke on 42nd Street in July 2019, and was nominated for New York’s Drama League Awards, winning Best Production from the AUDELCO Awards. The world premiere of Native Son was presented to critical acclaim at Court Theatre, received five Jeff Award nominations including winning Production of the Year, and was the highest grossing straight play produced in the Court Theatre’s history. Native Son is also on the Kilroy’s List 2015, in the top 7 % of new plays by female and trans* authors nominated by literary managers, directors, and other artists polled across the country. Kelley’s Xtigone celebrated production in Chicago (Chicago Danz Theatre Ensemble) and San Francisco (African American Shakespeare Company directed by Rhodessa Jones) with several high school and college productions across the country and was published by YouthPlays Publishing. Nambi’s newly formed production company, First Woman, is currently producing a digital and in person national tour of Nambi’s young audiences’ play, Jabari Dreams of Freedom, directed by Daniel Carlton. The in-person tour recently premiered Off-Broadway at the renowned New Victory Theatre on 42nd Street. The digital version of Jabari has received been selected in several film festivals, including the National Black Theatre Film Festival in North Carolina, Golden Bee International Children’s Film Festival, and Black Panther International Film Festival in India, and the ARFF Paris International Awards.
Shortlisted professional writing affiliations include: New Victory Playwright in Residence, National Black Theatre Playwright in Residence, Goodman Theatre Playwrights Unit, Steppenwolf Theatre Company New Plays Lab Playwright-In-Residence, Goodman Theatre/Ellen Stone Belic Institute/ Fellowship Recipient, Goodman Theatre Lila Wallace Fellowship, La MaMa Playwrights Symposium Playwright-In-Residence, Spoleto, Italy under the tutelage of Pulitzer prize winner Lynn Nottage, Ragdale Foundation Artist in Residence, HealthWorks Theatre Colonel Stanley McNeil Playwright-In-Residence, Chicago Dramatists Playwright Emeritus, Danny Glover’s Robey Theatre Co. Playwriting Lab (formerly the Blacksmyths At The Mark Taper Forum), and MPAACT Playwright Emeritus, Chicago. Kelley has a BFA from the Theatre School at De Paul University, formerly known as the Goodman School of Drama, and holds an MFA in interdisciplinary arts from Goddard College in Vermont.
Ruben Santiago-Hudson (Director) most recently directed the Broadway productions of Skeleton Crew by Dominique Morisseau, which received four Tony nominations including Outstanding New Play, as well as his own autobiographical Lackawanna Blues for which he was awarded the Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards as well as a Tony Award nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor. His Broadway production of Jitney garnered several awards for Outstanding Revival including the Tony Award and six Tony nominations. Santiago-Hudson recently adapted August Wilson’s play Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom for Netflix. Produced by Denzel Washington, directed by George C. Wolfe, the film stars Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman. Ruben’s directing credits include: The Piano Lesson, Skeleton Crew, Othello, Gem of The Ocean, Paradise Blue, My Children! My Africa!, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Cabin in the Sky, The Happiest Song Plays Last, Two Trains Running, Things of Dry Hours and more.
Santiago-Hudson received a Tony Award as featured actor for his performance in August Wilson’s Seven Guitars and made his Broadway acting debut alongside Gregory Hines in Jelly’s Last Jam; other Broadway credits include Stick Fly and Gem of The Ocean. Select theater credits include The Winter’s Tale, Henry VIII and Measure For Measure (the Delacorte) Ceremonies In Dark Old Men and A Soldier’s Play (the Negro Ensemble Company.), Lackawanna Blues, and East Texas Hot Links (the Public Theater).
Ruben wrote, executive produced, and co-starred in the HBO film Lackawanna Blues based on his Obie and Helen Hayes Award-winning play. The movie received many honors including Emmy, Golden Globe, NAACP Image Award, the Christopher Award, and the Humanitas Prize.
His film credits include American Gangster, Their Eyes Were Watching God, Shaft, Devil’s Advocate, and Domestic Disturbance. On television he portrayed famed chemist Dr. Percy Julian in the PBS special Forgotten Genius and starred opposite Gregory Hines in The Red Sneakers. Other feature films and mini-series include Selma, “The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks,” “American Tragedy,” Solomon and Sheba (the first time a biblical movie starred actors of color), and Rear Window. Television credits include series regular roles on “The Quad,” “Public Morals,” and “Low Winter Sun” as well recurring roles on “Billions,” “The West Wing,” “Law & Order” and numerous other guest star appearances. Santiago-Hudson starred on the hit ABC series “Castle,” for three seasons and Tarell Alvin McCraney’s “David Makes Man” for OWN. Ruben currently co-stars in the new CBS drama “East New York” premiering this fall.
Ken Davenport (Producer) is a two-time Tony Award-winning Broadway producer whose credits include Once On This Island (Tony Award), The Play that Goes Wrong, Groundhog Day (Tony nomination), Deaf West Theatre’s Spring Awakening (Tony nomination), It’s Only a Play starring Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick, Macbeth starring Alan Cumming, Godspell, Kinky Boots (Tony Award), The Visit (Tony nomination) and others as well the Off Broadway productions of Altar Boyz, The Awesome 80s Prom and many more. Davenport’s productions have been produced internationally in over 25 countries around the world. He was the Executive Producer for North America for Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ‘The Really Useful Group’ and the Theatrical Consultant for Primary Wave Music Publishing. Ken founded TheaterMakersStudio.com, an online masterclass community for writers, producers, directors and anyone who dreams about getting a show on a stage. His blog has been featured in every major publication around the world, from the New York Times to Vanity Fair. Ken also conceived the best-selling board game, Be A Broadway Star (available on Amazon) and he is an avid golfer. He dedicates his career to his late father, Dr. Kenny Dipchand Hasija, an Indian immigrant who always dreamed about going into the theater but encouraged his son to do so instead. Upcoming productions include A Beautiful Noise, The Neil Diamond Musical, Harmony by Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman, The Griswolds’ Broadway Vacation and Joy The Musical. Instagram: @kendavenportbway
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