The Life (Broadway)
THE LIFE with music by Cy Coleman, lyrics by Ira Gasman and book by David Newman, Ira Gasman, & Cy Coleman, based on an original idea by Ira Gasman opened at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre on Broadway on April 26, 1997 and closed on June 7, 1998 after 21 previews and 466 performances
Produced by Roger Berlind, Martin Richards, Cy Coleman & Sam Crothers; Associate Producer: Frank Tarsia. Originally produced in New York City by Westbeth Theater Center (Arnold Engelman, Producing Director)
Directed by Michael Blakemore; Choreographed by Joey McKneely; Scenic Design by Robin Wagner; Costume Design by Martin Pakledinaz; Musical Director: Gordon Lowry Harrell; Music orchestrated by Don Sebesky & Harold Wheeler; Vocal & Dance arrangements by Cy Coleman & Doug Katsaros; Lighting Design by Richard Pilbrow; Sound Design by Peter Fitzgerald; Hair Design by Bobby H. Grayson and Make-Up Design by Kathy Pomerantz.
Starring Vernel Bagneris (Lacy), Mark Bove (Bobby Cop Monte Hustler Ensemble), Chuck Cooper (Memphis), Felicia Finley (April / Ensemble), Chris Ghelfi (Ensemble), Michael Gregory Gong (Oddjob Shoeshine Monte Hustler Ensemble), Katy Grenfell (Frenchie Ensemble), Sam Harris (Jojo), Rich Hebert (Lou), Pamela Isaacs(Queen), Stephanie Michels (Doll House Dancer / Ensemble), Kevin Ramsey (Fleetwood), Judine Richárd (Tracy / Street Evangelist / Ensemble), Rudy Roberson (Silky / Street Evangelist / Enrique / Ensemble), Lynn Sterling (Carmen / Ensemble), Mark Anthony Taylor (Slick Street Evangelist Shatellia Monte Hustler Ensemble), Gordon Joseph Weiss (Snickers), Lillias White (Sonja), Sharon Wilkins (Chichi / Ensemble) and Bellamy Young (Mary)
Swing: Tracy Nicole Chapman
Understudies: Michael Brian (Jojo, Lou, Snickers), Tracy Nicole Chapman (Queen), Felicia Finley (Mary), Kimberly Hawthorne (Queen), Stephanie Michels (Mary), Rudy Roberson (Lacy), James Stovall (Fleetwood, Memphis, Silky) and Sharon Wilkins (Sonja)
Assistant Choreographer: Linda Cholodenko; Assistant Scenic Design: David Peterson, Atkin Pace and Thomas Peter Sarr; Assistant Costume Design: Markas Henry, and Laura Drawbaugh; Associate Lighting Design: Dawn Chiang; Assistant Lighting Design: Michael Gottlieb, and Susan Chute; Assistant Sound Design: Janet Smith, and Richard Dunning; Assistant Hair Design: Bob Dente.
General Manager: Marvin A. Krauss Associates,Inc.; Company Manager: David Richards, and Barbara Crompton; Production Supervisor: Steven Zweigbaum; Stage Manager: Àra Marx; Assistant Stage Manager: Rolt Smith; Technical Supervision: Neil Mazzella.
Vari*Lite Programmer: David Arch; Assistant to the Director: Jennifer Uphoff Gray; Fight direction by B. H. Barry; Dance Captain: Lynn Sterling; Casting: Hughes / Moss Casting; Press Agent: The Jacksina Company; Production Associate: Adam Epstein, Michael Milton, Jeffrey Solis, Stuart Zimberg, and Elaine Bayless; Production Assistant: Patrick Janson; Marketing: Leanne Schanzer Promotions; Online Marketing: Toby Simkin / BuyBroadway Inc.; Advertising: Serino Coyne,Inc.; Photographer: Carol Rosegg,
Musical Coordinator: John Miller; Conducted by Gordon Lowry Harrell; Associate Conductor: Joseph Baker; Guitar: David Spinozza; Drums: Warren Odze; Bass: Gary Haase; Keyboards: Mark Berman, and Joseph Baker; Percussion: Dave Yee; Trumpet: Gregory L. Gisbert, and Hollis Burridge; Woodwinds: Mike Migliore, Tom Christensen, and Dale Kleps; Music Copying: A Notable Company Ltd., and Katharine Edmonds
Cast Replacements: Joshua Bergasse (Shoeshine / Oddjob / Ensemble), Michael Brian (Jojo), Christopher F. Davis(Slick / Shatellia / Street Evangelist), Brian Lane Green (Jojo), Kate Levering (April / Ensemble), Rommy Sandhu (Ensemble) and James Stovall (Memphis)
Replacement Swing: Carla Renata Williams
Replacement Standby: Sal Viviano (Jojo)
Replacement Understudies: Heather Brown (Queen), David Aron Damane (Fleetwood, Memphis, Lacy), Kate Levering (Mary), Devin Richards (Fleetwood, Memphis, Lacy) and Carla Renata Williams (Sonja)
As Founder and CEO of Theatre.com and BuyBroadway.com. The pioneer in moving the Broadway industry onto the internet. The theatre press branded me as “Toby is the man pushing theatre, kicking and screaming, into cyberspace.” What started in 1989 as a Broadway industry service called ShowCall via dialup BBS for members of the League of American Theatre Producers evolved onto the world wide web in the early 90’s, and shortly after this, the vast majority of Broadway shows (starting with my production of Victor/Victoria) and theatrical organizations followed. The “Super site of Broadway” became a publicly traded company, prior to my re-branding it as Theatre.com at the Minskoff Theatre.
Described by Variety Magazine as a “marketing powerhouse“, it was the single largest theatre community in the world with over 180,000 active members (in the 1990’s this was massive). From buying official Broadway tickets and souvenirs, providing detailed global show listings, interactive show study & educational guides, live streaming shows and events (including many Opening Nights live broadcasts), industry news from major theatre journalists, pictures and videos, games, messaging directly to Broadway cast’s backstage or even licensing a musical, theatre.com offered it all in a single, easy-to-use interface to theatregoers globally.
The Life explores the underbelly of Times Square’s 42nd Street, inhabited by pimps and prostitutes, druggies and dealers, and runaways and street people in the era prior to its Disneyfication. The Life was the pulsating life on the Times Square streets in the 1980s-where everything had a price, especially sex -the garish topless bars, the transvestite joints, the hookers who worked the sidewalks at the bidding of their pimps.
The show was first produced at the off-Broadway Westbeth Theatre, running from July 30, 1990 to August 16, 1990. Joe Layton directed and choreographed, with a cast that featured Chuck Cooper, Lillias White, and Mamie Duncan-Gibbs.
Chuck Cooper & Lillias White both won Tony awards for their performances in this production.
“Check It Out!” (Company); “Use What You Got” (Sam Harris, Company); “A Lovely Day to Be Out of Jail” (Pamela Isaacs, Lillias White); “A Piece of the Action” (Kevin Ramsey); “The Oldest Profession” (Lillias White); “Don’t Take Much” (Chuck Cooper); “Go Home” (Pamela Isaacs, Bellamy Young); “You Can’t Get to Heaven” (Pamela Isaacs, Lillias White, Judine Richard, Rudy Roberson, Mark Anthony Taylor); “My Body” (Katy Grenfell, Sharon Wilkins, Judine Richard, Lynn Sterling, Lillias White, Pamela Isaacs, Felicia Finley); “Why Don’t They Leave Us Alone” (Michael Gregory Gong, Mark Bove, Rudy Roberson, Mark Anthony Taylor, Gordon Joseph Weiss, Felicia Finley, Lynn Sterling, Sharon Wilkins, Katy Grenfell, Pamela Isaacs, Lillias White, Judine Richard); “Easy Money” (Rich Hebert, Bellamy Young, Sam Harris, Kevin Ramsey); “He’s No Good” (Rich Hebert, Pamela Isaacs); “I’m Leaving You” (Pamela Isaacs); “The Hookers’ Ball” (Vernel Bagneris, Company)
“Step Right Up” (Rudy Roberson, Mark Bove, Michael Gregory Gong, Mark Anthony Taylor); “Mr. Greed” (Sam Harris, Mark Bove, Rudy Roberson, Michael Gregory Gong, Mark Anthony Taylor); “My Way or the Highway” (Chuck Cooper, Pamela Isaacs); “People Magazine” (Rich Hebert, Bellamy Young); “We Had a Dream” (Pamela Isaacs); “Use What You Got” (reprise) (Bellamy Young, Rich Hebert, Sam Harris); “‘Someday’ Is for Suckers” (Lillias White, Katy Grenfell, Felicia Finley, Mark Anthony Taylor, Lynn Sterling, Sharon Wilkins); “My Friend” (Pamela Isaacs, Lillias White); “We Gotta Go” (Kevin Ramsey, Pamela Isaacs); “Check It Out!” (reprise) (Company)