The cast looked down from the rehearsal room balcony as the press took their seats. Everyone was chatting happily as we waited for a sneak peak of the musical many have longed to see in the UK. It didn’t take long for the press to be blown away by the talented artists in the room as they sang three powerful songs from the multi-award winning musical The Life.
Making its UK premiere, The Life will be welcomed into the Southwark Playhouse this month. With the two-time Tony Award Winner Michael Blakemore back directing this dark and heartening musical, London is sure to be in awe of these brilliant performers and the story they well soon tell. Originally known as a book by Cy Coleman, Ira Gasman and David Newman, The Life is a tragic melodramatic musical about living in the life as pimps and prostitutes around Times Square in the 1980s.
“It tells a great story and it’s real,” said Blakemore about the concept of the musical. “Good work is always about just two things at once. This is pretty grim and quite depressing. To grasp it with the music that represents us as the spirit with all these people who like to live, want to thrive, want to get on in their own peculiar way.”
This raw and edgy musical challenges diversity, which we continue to struggle with socially. This musical presents diversity by allowing all the cast members to have his or her own sense of style.
“Everyone is different. Everyone is unique,” said David Albury starring as Fleetwood, “We are a living community all existing together bringing our stories to the forefront.”
Not often does a musical tackle the heavy subject matter of living in the life of drugs and prostitution. Though, this musical was set back in 1980’s New York, the subject matter of living in the life and the growth of feminism are still relevant around the world today.
“At the moment it’s really exciting to see strong and powerful women on stage playing their worth and showing us that feminism is a choice no matter what walk of life you take,” said Joanna Woodward starring as Mary, “Everybody should be free to make their own choices in life.”
The cast is eager to move into the dark and intimate set in two weeks. Still only halfway through their rehearsal process, the cast continues to develop their characters as Blakemore shapes the musical in a way to best tell the story for the audiences.
Now, on the twentieth anniversary, Blakemore says it best, “I want The Life to have a life.”
Amy Anzel, Matt Chisling and Catherine Schreiber present
the UK premiere of…
Music by Cy Coleman
Lyrics by Ira Gasman
Book by David Newman, Ira Gasman, and Cy Coleman
with additional material by Michael Blakemore
A thrilling exposé of the darker side of 1980’s New York, The Life is a defiant and heartfelt musical lament for the old Times Square. A world of pimps and prostitutes, innocents and opportunists, it’s a gutsy and gritty joyride filled with both pathos and fun.
Queen and Fleetwood are just trying to get by. New York has hit a moral rock bottom, and opportunity is becoming a scarcity. Queen is now selling herself to anyone with cash in Times Square, while Fleetwood is spending that cash on his nightly fix. Such is a regular story for those in The Life – just ask Sonja, whose market value as a hooker is depleting. It seems that nothing ever improves for those in The Life, but when a mysteriously innocent farm girl named Mary shows up, and Memphis and Jojo, the biggest players in town, offer to help Queen out, will things start looking up?
25 March – 29 April 2017
77-85 Newington Causeway
London SE1 6BD
Running Time: 140 minutes including interval