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Following on the heels of the successful "Motown: The Musical Broadway" show, Concord Music Group and Academy Award-nominated and Grammy-winning producer Stuart Benjamin have begun development of a musical production based on the dramatic story of iconic soul music label Stax Records.
The book will be written by Matthew Benjamin, with a spring 2016 Broadway premiere targeted.
The Stax Records saga, from its beginning in an old movie theater on East McLemore Avenue in Memphis, Tennessee, to its extraordinary rise as an international hit-making machine, marks a historic chapter in American musical history. Amid the civil rights-era racial strife and deep-seated tensions of the late '50’s and '60s, Stax’s integrated artist roster and staff fundamentally shaped American soul music, spawning the careers of recording artists, songwriters and producers such as Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes, Booker T. & the MG’s, The Staple Singers, Albert King, Johnnie Taylor, Eddie Floyd, William Bell, David Porter, Steve Cropper, and Rufus and Carla Thomas, among many others.
Benjamin’s friendship with Ray Charles resulted in the legendary soul icon's full participation in the film, "Ray." The film garnered six Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture for which Benjamin, its producer, was personally nominated. He also won a Grammy Award as producer of the film’s multi-platinum soundtrack album.
Benjamin has produced two hit musicals, "Louis & Keely Live at the Sahara," which will begin touring in 2014 after a long run at the Geffen Playhouse in Westwood, and "Unchain My Heart…The Ray Charles Musical," which had a successful run at the Pasadena Playhouse. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California and Harvard Law School.