Broadway Musical Adaptation Of ‘Imitation Of Life’ Is In Development

Photo: Getty

Universal Theatrical Group and Universal Pictures' live theater division has announced the development of a new music, 'Imitation Of Life.'

Based on the novel by Fannie Hurst and Universal Pictures films, with book by Lynn Nottage, music and lyrics by EGOT winner, John Legend, and directed by Liesl Tommy. The film and book will now be turned into a Broadway musical.

The novel, 'Imitation Of Life,' was originally published in 1933. The story confronts the complexities and contradictions of racial identity, economic exploitation, and the limits of the American dream. The story centers on Delilah Johnston, a black mother in 1920s Atlantic City, and her daughter Peola who “passes” as white. Delilah must navigate her friendship and business partnership with Bea Pullman while trying to hold on to Peola, who is determined to build a bold and dangerous new life. 

“When I met with Universal Theatrical Group to talk about a possible collaboration, the only title I wanted to discuss was Imitation of Life. I’d long been a fan of the book and I knew there was a passionate, contemporary, and newly relevant adaptation of this story uniquely suited to musical theater. To my mind the only collaborators for this beautifully complex, wholly American story are Lynn Nottage and John Legend; thankfully, they agreed to join me immediately in bringing their creativity and immense talents to this re-telling. We are thrilled to partner with UTG as we turn a whole new lens on Imitation of Life, using this great American art form to illuminate and uplift Black life,” notes director Liesl Tommy.

Casting and timeline have not been announced.