Sharon D. Clarke to star in the London premiere of The Life

Sharon D. Clarke to star in Cy Coleman's The Life

The Life

It has been announced that Sharon D. Clarke will star in the London premiere of The Life by Cy Coleman at the Southwark Playhouse from 25 March to 29 April 2017 with an official opening on 29 March 2017.

The show’s original Broadway director Michael Blakemore will direct the new production, which is produced by Amy Anzel and Matt Chisling. It'll feature set and costume designs by Justin Nardella, choreography by Tom Jackson Greaves, projection designs by Nina Dunn, lighting by David Howe and musical direction by Tamara Saringer.

Sharon D. Clarke will star as Sonja alongside Cornell S. John as Memphis, with further casting to be announced.

Featuring music by Cy Coleman, lyrics by Ira Gasman it has a book by David Newman, Ira Gasman and Cy Coleman.

"Queen, a young girl from Savannah, and Fleetwood, a Vietnam vet with a drug habit, are trying to make it in a merciless New York. Queen is forced into part-time prostitution and ‘The Life’ describes how these two lovers move through this dark world until Queen is helped by her one true friend, an older more experienced hooker, Sonja, to make her escape. On this journey, we meet Memphis, the all-powerful king pimp, the girls he controls, Jojo, the hustler, who makes it all happen, and the fresh-faced Mary, straight off the bus from small town Minnesota, only too eager to embrace ‘The Life’."

The original Broadway production of The Life opened on 26 April 1997 at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre. It went on to receive 12 Tony Award nominations, winning Best Featured Actress and Actor in a Musical for cast members Lillias White and Chuck Cooper.

Director Michael Blakemore said of the news: “Getting The Life on in London has been an ambition of mine ever since we did it on Broadway. The score is Cy Coleman’s masterpiece and we’ll be presenting it with the original 11-piece orchestrations. We’ve assembled a magnificent cast and the show seems to have gathered in power and relevance with the passing of time. Funny, sharp and extraordinarily poignant, I think it will be something more than just a good night out.”

Tickets for the production are now on sale.

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