Go Inside NY City Center Encores ‘The Life’ Directed By Billy Porter

New York City Center’s 2022 Encores! Season continues March 16 – 20 with The Life—music by Cy Coleman, lyrics by Ira Gasman, and book by David Newman, Ira Gasman, and Cy Coleman. Nominated for 12 Tony Awards (including Best Musical) The Life tells the story of Queen, and her fellow sex workers, who strive for a better life against oppressive forces in post-disco Times Square. Emmy, Grammy, and Tony Award-winning artist Billy Porter (Pose, Kinky Boots) reinvents this musical for a whole new generation to bring forth the gritty, dangerous, and exciting decadence of New York City in 1980.

As concert adapter and director, Porter has received the full blessing of the Cy Coleman, Ira Gasman, and David Newman estates to reshape a classic music-comedy into a powerful musical drama, humanizing the production’s Black characters in their struggles, passions, and desperate bids for success. Featuring new, funk-infused arrangements and orchestrations by James Sampliner and new vocal arrangements by Michael McElroy, this bold revival reclaims The Life through Porter’s singular lens.

The cast features Jelani Alladin as Lou, Alexandra Grey as Queen, Antwayn Hopper as Memphis, Grammy nominee Mykal Kilgore as Young JoJo, Grammy Award winner Ledisi as Sonja, Erika Olson as Mary, Destan Owens as Old Jojo, and Ken Robinson as Fleetwood. With Joe Beauregard, Angela Brydon, Tyler Eisenreich, Asmeret Ghebremichael, Semhar Ghebremichael, Jeff Gorti, Albert Guerzon, Heather Lang, Nathan Lucrezio, Tiffany Mann, LaQuet Sharnell Pringle, Devin L. Roberts, MiMi Scardulla, and Tanairi Vazquez.