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Alicia Keys backs Broadway play about black America

Jun 27, 2011, 2:36 p.m.

NEW YORK (Reuters) - R&B pop singer Alicia Keys is the latest music star to back a Broadway production, according to a statement issued by producers on Monday.

The 30-year-old US singer-songwriter will co-produce the play, "Stick Fly," a comedy about an affluent black family who come together for a weekend on the posh island of Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts. She follows the likes of rapper Jay-Z and Elton John to back Broadway shows in recent years.

"This is a story that everybody can relate to," Keys said in a statement. "I'm passionate about this play because it is so beautifully written and portrays Black America in a way that we don't often get to see in entertainment. I know it will touch all audiences, who will find a piece of themselves somewhere inside this house."

It was not clear if Keys, who has acted in films and television in the past and is due to deliver her first child in August, would be part of the cast, which was not announced. The play by Lydia Diamond will open December 8 with previews starting in November.

Music stars have had mixed success on Broadway in recent years. Jay-Z was a producer for the successful "Fela!" while Elton John wrote the music to the hit "Billy Elliot: The Musical" and produced the 2010 Tony-nominated play, "Next Fall."

However, rockers U2 are currently struggling to turn "Spider-man: Turn Off the Dark" into a success after the music and elements of the show were panned by critics.

(Reporting by Christine Kearney, editing by Bob Tourtellotte)