Congratulations to The Southwark Playhouse, Director Michael Blakemore, the magnificent Sharon D Clarke, Cornell S. John, and entire cast and creative team behind the outstanding UK run of Cy Coleman‘s gem of a musical, The Life!
Posts Tagged ‘Ira Gasman’
(click song title above to listen)
“Chuck Cooper’s every entrance is as frightening as a specter of death. Singing with power and resonance, he’s a villian who can be jointly cheered and booed”. The New York Times
Cy Coleman’s 1997 broadway musical The Life was ten years in the making and in his own words “worth every minute of it”. Aside from all the awards and accolades (Drama Desk Awards, Outer Critics’ Circle Awards, Drama League Awards, Grammy nominations and a record breaking 12 Tony nominations), it won the praise of such prominent luminaries in the theatre as Arthur Miller who said, “If Kurt Weill and Bertold Brecht were alive today, this is the musical they would have written”!
The Life is a raw, gritty and moving story of friendship and hope from multi-layered characters and flawless direction by Michael Blakemore OBE. The original production included Tony nominations for featured performers Sam Harris, Lillias White (Featured Actress Winner), Pamela Isaacs, and the powerhouse performer of this week’s tune, Chuck Cooper (Featured Actor Winner).
This year marks the show’s 20th anniversary and the UK premiere with original director Blakemore at the helm begins now! When he was asked in a recent interview about the new cast, “every single person we approached we got – it’s all our first choices. People like Sharon D. Clarke, Cornell S. John, it’s all really proper talent”. Blakemore continues, “It’s an enthralling story, with a plot like an old black-and-white Warner Bros. movie. It’s got this soarinig music, great performances, lots of it is very funny. If you like that kind of tight construction and soaring narrative, with real grit and heart, I think you’ll love it”.
The Life at Southwark Playhouse March 25 – April 29th, don’t miss!
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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). The original production of The Life, directed by Michael Blakemore, opened on April 26, 1997. With dance and cocal arrangements by Cy Coleman and based on an Original idea by Ira Gasman, the show received 12 Tony Nominations of which it won two, and 9 Drama Desk Awards of which it won three, including Best Musical.
20 years later to the day, Michael Blakemore will be directing the musical again for its UK premiere, starring stage legends Sharon D. Clarke and Cornell S. John. Running March 25th through April 29 at the Southwark Playhouse, the cast will also star John Addison (Jojo), David Albury (Fleetwood), Jalisa Angrews (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). Click HERE for tickets and information.
“No, you can’t get to heaven on one amen.” sings Billy Preston. “You got to hallelujah again & again”.
Hallelujah again & again is exactly what Billy did. He starting out as a prodigy on organ and piano and by age 10 was backing up gospel diva Mahalia Jackson before lending an amen or two in studio sessions and tours with the likes of Little Richard & The Beatles. His work with The Beatles on their Let It Be album set the stage for his big break as a solo artist in the early-’70′s with soul smashes of his own for A&M Records.
In early 1995, Cy Coleman had gathered together some friends in the studio to record songs from the score of his upcoming Broadway Musical hit, The Life which would go on to be nominated for 10 Tony Awards winning 2 or Lillias White and Chuck Cooper. Joe Williams, Lou Rawls, Bobby Short and incredibly the last recorded performance by George Burns would accompany Billy on this album. Go ahead and testify fellas, again & again.
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