Get ready for ''Ray: The Broadway Musical.'' The film's producers plan a sanitized musical stage bio of Ray Charles

By Gary Susman
Updated May 03, 2005 at 04:00 AM EDT

Ray Charles’ posthumous career continues to thrive, this time without any help from Jamie Foxx. According to the Hollywood Reporter, several producers of the movie Ray are about to bring Charles’ life to Broadway as a musical. Having secured the stage rights from Charles’ estate, producers Stuart Benjamin and Howard and Karen Baldwin are now seeking playwrights to help turn Charles’ jukebox into a theatrical tribute.

Unlike the 2004 film, which won Foxx an Oscar for his warts-and-all portrayal of the singer’s womanizing and drug addiction, the musical will present a cleaned-up version of Charles’ life, one that focuses on his career successes, political activity, and charitable works. It will also span Charles’ lifetime, including the last quarter-century or so that the film did not cover. ”This will be more of the warmth and the personality of Ray as well as some of the anecdotes and stories that weren’t in the movie,” Benjamin told the Reporter. ”This will be a celebration of Ray, somebody I got to be very close to over the years, someone I respected and someone whose company I enjoyed. What is really in my mind is to convey some of that.” He added, ”As was the movie, this is an enormous responsibility. We will take our time and make sure it’s done correctly.” No word on whether Foxx will audition to reprise his film role on stage — like he needs another excuse to make a singalong acceptance speech.

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