NEWS: Michael Blakemore to Direct UK Premiere of The Life at the Southwark Playhouse

Michael Blakemore will direct Sharon D. Clarke and Cornell S. John in a production of Cy Coleman and Ira Gasman’s musical at the Southwark Playhouse  from the 25th March until the 29th April. 


Featuring a rarely hear score by composer Cy Coleman (City of Angels, Sweet Charity, Barnum), The Life exposes the darker side of life in 1980’s New York and focuses on Times Square before it was cleaned up.

Talking about the news Michael Blakemore said: “Getting The Life on in London has been an ambition of mine ever since we did it on Broadway.  The score is Cy Coleman’s masterpiece and we’ll be presenting it with the original 11-piece orchestrations.  We’ve assembled a magnificent cast and the show seems to have gathered in power and relevance with the passing of time.”

Queen and Fleetwood are just trying to get by. New York has hit a moral rock bottom, and opportunity is becoming a scarcity. Queen is now selling herself to anyone with cash in Times Square, while Fleetwood is spending that cash on his nightly fix. Such is a regular story for those in The Life – just ask Sonja, whose market value as a hooker is depleting. It seems that nothing ever improves for those in The Life, but when a mysteriously innocent farm girl named Mary shows up, and Memphis and Joio, the biggest players in town, offer to help Queen out, will things start looking up?

Sharon D. Clarke’s (Sonja) previous stage credits include roles in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Ghost and We Will Rock You. Cornell S. John’s (Memphis) stage credits include Porgy and Bess at the Savoy Theatre, Les Misérables at the Queen’s Theatre, Pacific Overtures at the Donmar Warehouse and The Full Monty at the Prince of Wales Theatre.

The production will feature set and costume designs by Justin Nardella, choreography by Tom Jackson Greaves, projection designs by Nina Dunn, lighting by David Howe and  musical direction by Tamara Saringer.

The Life will play at the Southwark Playhouse from the 25th March until the 29th April. For more information and to book tickets visit:

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