The producers of The Life are targeting March 1999 for a London opening of the Cy Coleman musical. Coleman told Playbill On-Line (Oct. 22) that the time frame would be ideal, considering that director Michael Blakemore -- who staged the original Broadway production -- would be free to take the job in the spring. "We wouldn't want to miss that chance," he said.
Coleman also said the producers of The Life had recently worked out a deal with American and British Equity allowing much of the U.S. cast to repeat their roles in London. Publicist Judy Jacksina previously told Playbill On Line that most of the major stars of the Broadway's The Life -- including Lillias White, Pamela Isaacs, and Chuck Cooper -- would probably make the trip overseas.
Last summer, there was some buzz that former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell may find her new job on the West End stage, playing the Life character of Mary, the impressionable farm girl who quickly turns streetwise streetwalker. Coleman, however, commented that that rumor was largely the product of the publicity mills. Mary was played by Bellamy Young in the Broadway production.
The Life, Cy Coleman's Broadway musical about Times Square street life, closed June 7 at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre after 22 previews and 465 regular performances. Dealing with runaways, hookers and drug dealers, the musical will be remembered for recapturing the raffish pre Disney Times Square. Coleman had visited the territory once before -- in his 1973 musical Seesaw -- though the Life lyrics by Ira Gasman and book by Superman writer David Newman (with Coleman and Gasman) got grittier than the sunny Seesaw did.