A new musical based on the life of celebrated American civil-rights activist Rosa Parks is currently being developed in London, under the stewardship of producer United Theatrical.
ROSA tells the compelling true life story of Rosa Parks and her journey from ‘quiet seamstress’ to the mother of the civil rights movement. By refusing to give up her seat on a bus to a white passenger in 1950’s Alabama, Parks took her place in history as an international symbol of hope that has inspired future generations to continue the fight for equality.
The musical is written by Victoria Gimby (book and lyrics) and Stuart Matthew Price (music and lyrics).
“We have been passionate about telling Rosa’s story since meeting Victoria last year”, said James Yeoburn, Producer at United Theatrical. “Victoria and Stuart have captured in their work the rise of one of history’s most powerful women whose life was spent campaigning for equality not only for her race but for her gender and class. We are delighted to see how beautifully this translates for the stage.”
The development process which has been ongoing throughout July and August, is being directed by Matt Ryan (Dogfight) with musical direction by Tom Brady (Showboat). The workshop cast includes: Simbi Akande (Showboat, Feast of Gods) ; Ricardo Coke-Thomas (Stephen Ward, The Pajama Game); Sophie-Louise Dann (Bend It Like Beckham, Made in Dagenham); Jason Denton (Showboat, Beautiful); James Gant (Titanic, Oliver!); Cornell S. John (Kidulthood, The Lion King); Abiona Omonua (Soul, The Color Purple); Jenny Perry (Rocky Horror Show); Cat Simmons (Midsummer Nights Dream, Oliver!), and Jos Slovick (Once, Spring Awakening).
“This is a human story about an everyday person investing fearlessly in what she felt was right,” adds Yeoburn, “and her contribution has never been more relevant. Rosa’s story is taught to all ages throughout the education systems both in the US and here in the UK. Her message remains strong and continues to empower our leaders of tomorrow.”
The musical, which has attracted interest from both sides of the Atlantic, will continue development through 2016 with a future full-scale production in the planning.