A Life, Yes, But Where?

News   A Life, Yes, But Where?
The Cy Coleman / Ira Gasman musical The Life, which has been announced for this season on Broadway, still seeks a Broadway home, as of Dec. 16.

The Cy Coleman / Ira Gasman musical The Life, which has been announced for this season on Broadway, still seeks a Broadway home, as of Dec. 16.

Due to a crush of shows filling nearly every theatre on Broadway this spring, The Life must wait for a closing or a miracle to make its projected April opening.

David Richards, of the production company Niko Associates, told Playbill On-Line the producers "would prefer a musical-sized theatre but would settle for a 1,100-seat house at this point." They won't, however, go Off-Broadway.

On Nov. 7, the musical had an invitation-only reading at the New Victory Theatre on 42nd Street in New York. Major roles for the reading were performed by Lillias White, Pam Isaac, Michael McElroy and Cuck Cooper, according to Coleman's spokesperson, but no Broadway casting as been announced for this musical about 1970s Times Square street life.

Coleman, a multiple Tony-winner for City of Angels and many other musicals, told Playbill On-Line that The Life will be directed by Michael Blakemore and designed by Robin Wagner. Joey McKneeley is scheduled to do the choreography, though it would make for a busy spring; he's also choreographing Andrew Lloyd Webber's Whistle Down the Wind, which is scheduled to open the same month. Roger Berlind is producing the Broadway version with Martin Richards, Sam Crothers and Coleman.

The show's prospects were boosted by the May 1996 release of a The Life concept album on BMG/RCA Records. It features Jennifer Holliday, Liza Minnelli, George Burns, Lou Rawls, Joe Williams, Jack Jones, Peggy Lee, Billy Stritch, Bobby Short and other pop singers performing numbers from the show.

Coleman said he has gotten very positive responses from two large New York record stores. Colony Records in the theatre district reportedly told him the album of selling well, and Tower Records near Lincoln Center reported has re-ordered.

"It's a very interesting concept for theatre," Coleman mused about the idea of releasing a recording of a score before the show is mounted. Andrew Lloyd Webber's Jesus Christ Superstar and Evita were the first musicals to prove that concept albums could turn into stage musicals.

Coleman said he hopes cuts from The Life will get airplay on pop stations that numbers from an ordinary cast album would not.

The Life will be the latest show from multiple Tony-winner Coleman, who wrote scores to Sweet Charity, The Will Rogers Follies, City of Angels, Barnum and I Love My Wife, among others.

David (Superman) Newman is co-writing (with Gasman and Coleman) the book for the show.

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