Pharrell Williams' Childhood Inspires 'Romeo And Juliet Style' Musical

Photo Credit: Getty Images
Photo Credit: Getty Images

The variously talented Pharrell Williams—singer, songwriter, producer—has become a creative muse in his own right. Fox Studios is at work on Atlantis, a “Romeo and Juliet style” musical based on Williams’ childhood in Virginia Beach, Virginia.


Before we proceed, I must confess a hefty, self-centered investment in this project. I, too, grew up in Virginia Beach, and—though our tenures did not overlap—Williams and I are both alums of Princess Anne High School. So, hello to all my fellow 757-dwellers, both past and present. Holler in the comments.

Now, back to business: according to the Hollywood Reporter Williams will produce the musical together with Gil Netter. Tony Award-winner Michael Mayer (Spring Awakening, American Idiot) is slated to direct, and Martin Hynes, currently at work on Toy Story 4, will serve as screenwriter. Williams himself is a 10-time Grammy winner so, cumulatively, this project incorporates some potent talent.


Most recently, Williams produced and composed songs for the film Hidden Figures, which received recognition at the 2017 Oscars, though not nearly enough. And if you somehow survived 2013 without catching a note of Williams’ seismic hit “Happy,” welcome back from your bomb shelter.

One looming question for me is how Atlantis’s narrative will draw on Romeo and Juliet. Depending on how strictly the script adheres to Williams’ life, certain plot points—say, the entire ending—will need to be adjusted. And of course, I’m curious to know whether any of the musical will be shot in Virginia Beach. It’s not the most romantic of settings, but for better or for worse, it’s home.

Speaking of which, here is Williams, my close personal friend, paying a visit to our alma mater in 2014.

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The final scene will be at the (abandoned) Abyss. It will be awful to see/remember all the seamen grinding on Juliet and Romeo.

Also, Kempsville is where it’s at.