Health & Fitness

Spike Lee’s subsequent venture: A Viagra musical

Spike Lee has made films about a black detective’s search for infiltration of the Ku Klux Klan, a bomb attack on an Alabama church, and the US government’s response to Hurricane Katrina.

He took a song-and-dance approach to his most recent project, a film musical recording the invention of Viagra, the first FDA-approved drug for the treatment of erectile dysfunction.

“I’m going to stage a dancing, all-singing musical,” he wrote in a statement in which he announced the project on Tuesday.

The film is based on a 2018 Esquire article that followed the discovery and commercialization of the drug. Lee will write the script with British playwright Kwame Kwei-Armah. The songwriters Stew Stewart and Heidi Rodewald, who created the Tony award-winning musical “Passing Strange”, will compose the music. (Lee shot this musical as a concert film during its Broadway run in 2008.)

“Overjoyed to dance with Brother Spike,” wrote Kwei-Armah on Twitter on Tuesday. Kwei-Armah is also the Artistic Director of the Young Vic Theater in London.

An Oscar winner Lee is known for approaching serious topics with a concise look. His recent projects include “Da 5 Bloods,” a war drama about a group of black veterans returning to Vietnam, and “BlackKkKlansman,” a dark comedy about the first African American detective in a police station to win an academy award for the am Lee best adapted script. Lee also adapted his 1986 breakthrough debut “She’s Gotta Have It” into a 2017 series that ran for two seasons on Netflix.

But musicals are no stranger to him either: this fall he released his filmed production of David Byrne’s Broadway concert “American Utopia”; In 1988 he directed School Daze, a film full of musical numbers about political and social clashes between students at a historically black college.

In his statement announcing the project, Lee thanked his late mother for “kicking and yelling” him in his childhood in Brooklyn. “I didn’t want stupid people to sing and dance,” he wrote – it was basketball, soccer, crack top, down da sewer and a number of other New York street games that had his heart.

He wrote that as the eldest of five children and with a father who “hated HollyWeird movies,” he was his mother’s movie date.

“Thank you Lawdy, she hasn’t heard my persistent complaints about musicals,” he wrote.

No release date or casting for the project has been announced. A representative from Lee did not immediately answer when asked whether the project would be a sung-through musical or just contain songs interspersed with dialogue.

Viagra, commonly known as sildenafil citrate, was patented by drug maker Pfizer in the 1990s and was originally used to treat chest pain related to the heart. However, because of the drug’s vasodilatory effects, it was helpful to have blood pumped to other parts of the body. It made its commercial debut in the US in 1998 after the FDA approved it for the treatment of erectile dysfunction.

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