Comedian, writer and TV presenter Amber Ruffin has been named as co-writer on the upcoming Broadway reboot of Some Like It Hot (with music by the team behind the Bombshell musical from NBC’s Smash), the New York Times reports. (Personally I think Amber’s input, plus the decision to make Sugar Kane a black woman, are both very welcome. After all, Some Like It Hot is set in the Jazz Age, and jazz derives from African-American culture – although none of the characters in the movie were black. And as the movie was ahead of its time on issues of gender and sexuality, it seems right to bring it up to scratch on race.)
“Ruffin, who writes, hosts, and executive produces the late-night comedy talk show The Amber Ruffin Show on Peacock, will co-write the book with Matthew López, whose two-part play The Inheritance, about the legacy of AIDS, is currently up for 11 Tony Awards. Casey Nicholaw (The Book of Mormon, The Prom) will direct.
Neil Meron, who will produce the musical with the Shubert Organization, said that the character of Sugar was conceived as a Black woman from day one — and that Ruffin’s input was crucial to creating an honest representation.
‘Matthew felt, like we all did, that since our show now deals with race, especially as Sugar is now a Black woman, we needed the authenticity that Amber’s voice will bring to our musical,’ he said in an email.
And while the adaptation will still be set in the past, Ruffin said it will reflect America now.
‘We just talk about everything honestly,’ she said in an interview on Wednesday. ‘Lots of times you see a movie that takes place in a more racist time, and no one says anything. Black people just move around the world freely, and that was almost never the case. That’s almost never the case now. We’re just very honest about what people’s lives were like.’
Ruffin said it was to the team’s credit that the project, her first for Broadway, came her way.
Some Like It Hot was adapted for the stage once before. Sugar, as it was called, opened on Broadway in 1972; 30 years later, a 77-year old Curtis [playing Osgood] toured in a version under the film’s original title.
Initially slated for a pre-Broadway Chicago run this spring, the new musical is now set to begin Broadway performances in 2022 — fingers crossed. But López said he looked forward to collaborating with Ruffin, no matter how far off opening night might be.”