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Broadway-bound Muhammad Ali musical will make world premiere in Chicago

The musical, titled “Ali,” chronicles the life of the heavyweight boxing champion.

(L-R) Clint Dyer, Teddy Abrams and Q-Tip (Credit: Courtesy of Boneau/Bryan-Brown; Christopher Briscoe; Nabil Elderkin)

The new musical “Ali” has set a world premiere staging in Chicago. The Broadway-bound musical celebrating the life and legacy of heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali will begin performances at the James M. Nederlander Theatre on April 22, 2025, for a limited engagement through May 18. Clint Dyer is slated to direct and Rich + Tone Talauega will choreograph the new musical that will be part of Broadway in Chicago’s subscription series. Dyer will also serve as the musicals writer, with composer Teddy Abrams and co-lyricist and music producer Q-Tip. The musical had previously scheduled a world premiere in Kentucky.

“It’s very exciting and fitting that ‘Ali’ is premiering in Chicago,” lead producer Richard Willis said in a statement. “Muhammad called the South Side home, and the city held a special place in his heart. We are thrilled to be working with everyone at Broadway in Chicago to bring this powerful new musical to such a passionate, theater-loving audience that will help us shape the show’s future. We can’t wait to be there.”

Born in Louisville as Cassius Clay, Ali won a gold medal for light-heavyweight boxing at the 1960 summer Olympics. In 1964, he won the world heavyweight championship, earning the nickname “The Greatest.” Ali became heavily involved in the civil rights movement. He had a small foray into acting, making his Broadway debut in the short-lived 1969 musical “Buck White.”

Dyer is the deputy artistic director of London’s National Theatre. Abrams won a 2024 Grammy Award for Best Classical Instrumental Solo for his work on “The American Project” album. Q-Tip is the Grammy-winning co-founder of the hip-hop group A Tribe Called Quest. The Talauega brothers provided the Michael Jackson-specific choreography for Broadway’s “MJ.”

“Ali” will feature set design by Tony Award nominee Anna Fleischle, costume design by Tony nominee Emilio Sosa, lighting design by Tony nominee Jen Schriever, sound design by Benjamin Grant and Tony winner Kai Harada and video/projections/media design by Tony nominee Tal Yarden and Gino Ricardo. Sean Mayes and Abrams will serve as orchestrator and arranger, while Mayes will also be music supervisor. Additional creative team members include associate director Asmeret Ghebremichael, creative dramaturge Fred Carl and associate music producer emeritus Casey Benjamin. Michael “Silk” Olajide, Jr will serve as the production’s special boxing consultant and fight coordinator.

“Ali” is being co-produced by Brook T. Smith, David and Michelle Campbell, Ian Rupert, Jim and Kathy Mora and TheTribecaWorkshop in collaboration with ABG Entertainment in partnership with Lonnie Ali.