This year has been rich with examination of the life of Andy Warhol. Most notable was The Andy Warhol Diaries, a Netflix series that went through his life chapter by chapter via his own journals, and gave insight into many of the icons in his life—such as the equally legendary Jean-Michel Basquiat. Now mounting on Broadway is a play, The Collaboration, examining the two titans of modern art within the specific window of their collaborative show in the 80s.
The Collaboration, written by Anthony McCarten, first premiered in February of this year at The Young Vic theatre in London. This Broadway production marks its American premiere, maintaining the same cast and core team across productions. Grossing just under $725,000 as of this article, the show has clearly found its audience—unsurprising given the pure concentration of New York culture between depictions of two of the city’s greats and the mecca of American theatre.
The action of the play spans Warhol’s agreement to do a collaborative project with Basquiat to the moment of auctioning the work produced from the venture. McCarten has taken some liberties with the exact timeline of events and historical accuracies, swapping out stand-ins for certain people and artworks. But it’s clear that he has done justice to an extremely ripe ground for theatric exploration. Stars Paul Bettany and Jeremy Pope also make for transportive embodiments of Warhol and Basquiat respectively.
A moving snapshot of art and cultural history to zoom in on, The Collaboration seems a brilliantly simple recipe for success that would be sure to delight the paragon of fame and persona. While this small window into the complicated lives of these complex creatures can’t express all the layers of their friendship, rivalry, and burning out, to have such a historical encounter brought back to life is bound to be a treat for Broadway goers.