The Greatest Fighter Of All Time Is Getting A Musical

Muhammad Ali is one of the biggest sports figures in history, and he is now getting a Broadway play about his life.

By Joshua Jones | Published

There may be no fighter whose influence has reached beyond the sport of boxing and fights most remembered than Muhammad Ali. The former heavyweight boxer is regarded as one of the most significant sports figures of all time and was a high-profile figure during the civil rights movement. According to Deadline, the former heavyweight boxer is getting his own musical. Developed for the Broadway stage, Ali is directed by Death of England’s Clint Dyer and Teddy Abrams, who is the music director of the Louisville Orchestra. The report notes that Dyer is set to write the book for Ali, and Abrams will write the score. It’s reported that Abrams may also adapt some of the thematic pieces he wrote for 2017’s The Greatest: Muhammad Ali.

When discussing the new Muhammad Ali music, the show’s producer, Richard Willis, said that both Dyer and Abrams are “starting from scratch.” Willis teased that the musical will be a “show of shows” while going over some of the highlights of Ali’s legendary career. He also said he and the creators are aware of the expectation that comes with developing such a project, specifically one about a prominent black figure in American history. Deadline added that a black choreographer would be involved with the project. Regarding Abrams, he’s most known for his work in Louisville, earning Conductor of the Year for his work as part of the Louisville Orchestra. When asked about which musical instrument best represents the legendary boxer, Abrams compared him to an Orchestra because of Ali’s complexity. Dyer compared Ali to drums because of the African-American aspects of his legacy.

muhammad ali

Producer Willis said that he hopes to have the play ready for a November 2024 release. The musical will also be produced by Brook T. Smith and the Tribeca Workshop in collaboration with ABG Entertainment. Muhammad Ali’s wife, Lonnie Ali, will partner with those involved in the production. Lonnie Ali oversaw much of the work behind Abrams’ 2017 work. In 2016, Abrams composed and recorded “Float Rumble Rest,” which was a tribute to the famed boxer. Regarding the creative behind the musical, Dyer teased more additions to the creative team to “make it work tonally” and input from African-American talent. Deadline added the production is considering hiring an African-American artist as a co-lyrist. Dyer also said “many voices” would be involved in the project.

Muhammad Ali fought in seven historic boxing matches, including against Sonny Liston, Joe Frazier, and famously with George Foreman in The Rumble in the Jungle. Ali was famous for his trash-talking and predicting which round he would knock his opponent out. He’s the only boxer in history to be named The Ring magazine’s Boxer of the Year six times. He’s appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated 38 times, second only to Michael Jordan. In 2019, director Antoine Fuqua released a documentary based on the life of the famed boxer titled What’s My Name: Muhammad Ali. The legendary boxer died on June 3, 2016, due to complications from a respiratory illness.