Ken Davenport Acquires Stage Rights to Life Story of Harry Belafonte | Playbill

Broadway News Ken Davenport Acquires Stage Rights to Life Story of Harry Belafonte Belafonte's myriad hits include "The Banana Boat Song" (known to many as "Day-O"), "Matilda," and "Jump in the Line."
Harry Belafonte

A theatrical telling of performer and civil rights activist Harry Belafonte's life may be heading for Broadway, as producer Ken Davenport has secured the rights to tell the Harlem native’s story on stage.

"Harry Belafonte is one of the most influential and respected Americans of the past century," said Davenport, who won a Tony last year for his revival of Once on this Island. No word yet on a timeline, cast, or creative team for the project.

Ken Davenport and the cast and crew of Once on This Island accept the award for Best Revival of a Musical Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions

Belafonte, an Emmy, Grammy, and Tony winner and honorary Oscar recipient, is known for his myriad hit recordings, including "The Banana Boat Song," and "Jump in the Line," (both heard in the film Beetlejuice, also getting the Broadway treatment) and "Matilda." He is also an advocate for humanitarian causes and once served as an advisor and confidante to John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, and Eleanor Roosevelt.

"The live theatre opened up so many worlds for me as a young man," he said in a statement. "From the moment I saw professional actors on stage, I knew I could find a way forward in life as a performer and as an activist. It brings me great joy that my story will now become a stage production that I hope will inspire audiences to follow their own dreams.”

As previously reported, Davenport has also acquired rights to adapt National Lampoon’s Vacation franchise and the life story of self-made mogul Joy Mangano.

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