The Cy Coleman/ Ira Gasman musical The Life, which has been announced for this season on Broadway, will be developed in a Nov. 7 invitation-only reading at the New Victory Theatre on 42nd Street in New York.
Major roles for the reading will be performed by Lillias White, Pam Isaac, Michael McElroy and Chuck 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. Roger Berlind is producing the Broadway version with Martin Richards, Sam Crothers and Coleman.
The show's prospecte have been boosed by the May 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.