Frida the Musical is coming to Broadway in 2024

Although underappreciated during her lifetime, painter Frida Kahlo achieved the kind of posthumous cult status that skips the shores of the fine art world and spills over into popular recognition. His raw and tender paintings and self-portraits are treasures of the art world, but his image has eclipsed the medium, fueling an endless churn of merchandise and the so-called “Fridamania”. Now the iconic entertainer’s story is set for a new narrative, with the announcement last week of an upcoming Broadway musical about his life and times.

Authorized by living members of Kahlo’s family, Frida, the musical will be produced by Valentina Berger and will feature music by Jaime Lozano and lyrics by playwright Neena Beber.

“As a Mexican immigrant myself – as Frida once was in New York – I have always felt very strong in telling the stories of my kindly, my people, my community, my country, through my music which is always inspired by Mexican and Latin music,” Lozano told Hyperallergic. “Having the privilege of telling Frida’s story is a great honor and responsibility that we take on from a very authentic place, with a mission to honor her life and legacy.”

Frida Kahlo standing next to an agave during a photo shoot for Vogue magazine, 1937 (photo by Toni Frissell via Library of Congress)

The production seeks to tell Kahlo’s story in a full arc that begins with her upbringing in Mexico City, including the bus crash in her late teens that shattered her spine and pelvis, causing damage that would usher in a lifelong relationship with physical pain and hamper her ability to safely carry her children to term. The story follows dramatic wedding to the painter Diego Rivera and their international jaunts through Paris and New York as one of the most prominent artistic couples of their time.

The story goes back to the “Blue House” in Mexico City’s Coyoacán borough, the famous Kahlo Farm which remains a major tourist destination to this day. The musical is the first production of its kind sanctioned by his family, and is inspired in part by the details of Intimate Fridaa 2006 book by his niece Isolda P. Kahlo.

Lozano (center) and the Lincoln Center American Songbook performance set (photo courtesy of Jaime Lozano)

“In all the stories I heard when I was little, our family remembered Aunt Frida as a very cheerful woman,” said Mara Romeo Kahlo, universal heiress to Frida Kahlo’s legacy. Washington Post. “She was passionate about Mexican music, arts and culture. ‘Frida, the musical‘ honors everything she was: a real woman who fought for her dreams, loved like everyone else and always lived ahead of her time.

She also lived a tragically cut short life, passing away at just 47, after decades of pain and perseverance – but also pleasure and joy.

“I really connected with his humor,” Beber told the Washington Post. “I don’t think I knew how funny she was – that she had this wry, dry sense of humor. She was really of the people… I think there is room for several Fridas. We want to bring our own passions, love, interests, pain to her story. Let there be several Fridas.

The production is slated for regional release next year before making its Broadway debut in 2024. Lozano has already written ten songs for the musical, including “Wings,” which premiered as part of the “American Songbook” at Lincoln Center. Stanley H. Kaplan Penthouse in April. Kahlo heads and Broadway buffs alike can brace themselves for this latest installment in the ongoing fascination with a singular and enigmatic figure in art history – one whose audiences always demand another reminder.