The production at the Greenwich Theatre marks the first London revival of the Charles Strouse-Lee Adams musical, which originally played the West End in 1968 starring Sammy Davis, Jr. Variety reports that the new staging by director Rick Jacobs will feature two new Strouse songs, “Winners” and “I’m a Success.”
Featuring choreography by Mykal Rand, the West End production of Golden Boy will run through July 12. The creative team also features Richard Aylwin (design) and Gerry Jenkinson (lighting).
Golden Boy had a famously rough road to Broadway. Odets succumbed to cancer before he could finish adapting his play. "By the time Lee Adams and I caught [Odets], he was at the end," Strouse said in the book "It Happened on Broadway." "We were in Vegas. He told us he had a terrible problem with gambling, that we shouldn't let him near the tables. Nevertheless, around midnight, we would have to pull him away and say, 'Get ye to the typewriter, because we've got to meet Sammy.' I'm an early riser, and at 6:30 the next morning, I'd pass by the casino and see an unshaven Clifford. 'I was going to quit,' he'd say, 'but I was ahead.' The first week of rehearsals, Odets died."
William Gibson was brought in to work on the book, and it is he and Odets who share credit for the libretto, though many people worked on it, including Davis himself. Original director Peter Coe was replaced by Arthur Penn after tryouts in Philadelphia and Boston.
According to David Sheward's book "It's a Hit," the musical had the unlucky fortune to play Detroit during a race riot. As a result of the interracial romance portrayed between Joe and his manager's white mistress, Lorna Moon (played by Paula Wayne), the stars received death threats and required the services of bodyguards. Golden Boy opened at the Majestic Theatre on Oct. 20, 1964 and went on to play 569 performances.
Songs in the original score include "Workout," "Night Song," "Everything's Great," "Gimme Some," "Stick Around," "Don't Forget 127th Street," "Lorna's Here," "This Is The Life," "Golden Boy," "While The City Sleeps," "Colorful," "I Want To Be With You," "Can't You See It," "No More" and "The Fight."