The late-night favorite and Matthew López will collaborate on the book, reimagining Sugar, played by Marilyn Monroe in the MGM film, as Black.
The Broadway-aimed Some Like It Hot is still chugging along during the pandemic, adding another writer to its creative team. Writer and comedian Amber Ruffin will now pen the book to the new musical adaptation, joining the previously reported Matthew López (currently Tony-nominated for The Inheritance).
The creative team also includes songwriting duo Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman (who previously musicalized the creation of the 1959 MGM film in “Let’s Be Bad” from the fictional Smash musical Bombshell) and director-choreographer Casey Nicholaw.
The musical now aims to premiere on Broadway in 2022. In the early months of the coronavirus shutdown, producers Neil Meron (also a Smash veteran) and Bob Wankel (of the Shubert Organization) announced that the show would scrap its previously announced out-of-town tryout in Chicago (originally slated to begin this March) and open directly in New York in the fall.
Ruffin’s involvement signals a departure from the Billy Wilder source material, resulting in a new take that the writer calls “honestly groundbreaking.” The character of Sugar—portrayed in the film by Marilyn Monroe—will be reworked as Black, with her racial identity providing more than an opportunity for color-blind casting.
“It is an exciting proposition to create a show with characters whose race is instrumental and not incidental to the story,” López says. “It became apparent to me that if we were to honor our commitment to tell that story with honesty and integrity, it required a Black creative voice on the team. It didn’t take long for all of us to agree that Amber was the person to approach.”