Multi-award-winning Broadway musical The Life is making its long awaited London debut, directed by the show’s original director, Michael Blakemore. The strictly limited season will run from 25 March to 29 April at Southwark Playhouse.
A thrilling exposé of the darker side of 1980’s New York, The Life is a defiant and heartfelt musical about Times Square before it was cleaned up. A world of pimps and prostitutes, innocents and opportunists, it’s a gutsy and gritty joyride filled with both pathos and fun.
Queen (T’Shan Williams), a young girl from Savannah, and Fleetwood (David Albury), 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 (Sharon D. Clarke), to make her escape.
On this journey, we meet Memphis (Cornell S. John), the all-powerful king pimp, the girls he controls, Jojo (John Addison), the hustler, who makes it all happen, and the fresh-faced Mary (Joanna Woodward), straight off the bus from small town Minnesota, only too eager to embrace ‘The Life’.
Described by the New York Times as “Broadway’s best kept secret”, The Life features a rarely heard score by celebrated composer Cy Coleman (City of Angels, Sweet Charity, Barnum) and is based on an original idea by lyricist Ira Gasman. The Life, features a book by Coleman, Gasman and David Newman with book revisions for this production by Michael Blakemore. It originally opened at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre in April 1997 and received 12 Tony Awards nominations, winning Best Featured Actress and Actor in a Musical for cast members Lillias White and Chuck Cooper. The Life was also nominated for 9 Drama Desk Awards, winning three, including Best Musical.
The London cast include musical theatre stars Sharon D. Clarke (Sonja), who was recently appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2017 Queen’s New Year Honours for services to drama, and Cornell S. John (Memphis) and they will be joined by John Addison (Jojo), David Albury (Fleetwood), Jalisa Andrews (Chichi), Matthew Caputo (Oddjob), Lawrence Carmichael(Snickers), Omari Douglas (Slick), Aisha Jawando (Carmen), Thomas-Lee Kidd (Bobby), Charlotte Reavey (April), Jo Servi (Lacy),Lucinda Shaw (Tracy), Johnathan Tweedie (Theodore), T’Shan Williams (Queen) and Joanna Woodward (Mary).
Saturday 25 March – Saturday 29 April 2017
Performances: Mondays – Saturdays: 7.30pm
Tuesdays & Saturdays: 3.00pm
Ticket Prices: £25 for all tickets (concessions available), previews £14
Address: Southwark Playhouse, 77-85 Newington Causeway, London, SE1 6BD
Box Office: 020 7407 0234