Frida Kahlo will be the subject of a new musical

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Painters, mostly men, have been the subject of stage shows for years: think of Mark Rothko, Seurat, Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Lucian Freud, and even a group of miners in Newcastle, England. Now it was Frida Kahlo’s turn.

The Mexican idol, whose art is as immediate and realistic as her own struggle against adversity, will be the subject of an upcoming musical with a score by Mexican composer Jaime Lozano and lyrics by Obie Award-winning playwright Neena Beber, The Associated Press has learned.

The work has the blessing of the Kahlo family — owner of the universal rights to Frida Kahlo’s estate represented by Alfonso Durán — together with BTF Media and theatrical producer Valentina Berger. A workshop is planned for 2023.

“We are deeply moved that this show allows audiences around the world to get to know Frida as much more than an artist. Full of joy, ahead of her time and immersed in the culture of Mexico, she was a woman driven by an inexhaustible passion for life. I hope this show inspires women around the world to have the courage to fight for their dreams,” Mara Romeo, speaking on behalf of the Kahlo family, said in a statement.

Kahlo painted more than 150 paintings, mostly self-portraits and depictions of events from her own life. Her life changed dramatically when she was injured in a streetcar accident at age 18. The artist went through a series of painful surgeries to repair damaged spine and pelvic bones, then she wore casts until her death in 1954, aged 47.

She was bedridden when she began painting, and one of her earliest admirers was Diego Rivera, the celebrated muralist and activist whom she married in 1929 and who would be with her to the end.

The planned musical, called “Frida, The Musical,” will follow Kahlo’s journey from Mexico City to Paris and New York, eventually returning to her birthplace. The producers call it “a full-throated celebration of Kahlo’s playful creative spirit and his unmatched gift for transforming physical and emotional pain into breathtaking beauty.”

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