The Life, a Tony Award winning musical which features
music composed by Broadway legend Cy Coleman, tells the story
of Queen, a prostitute who works 42nd Street to support her man,
a Vietnam Veteran named Fleetwood. After years of selling her
body on the street, Queen has finally managed to save enough
money for her and Fleetwood to escape "The Life", but
when she returns to her hotel room, she discovers that Fleetwood
has broken into her savings and used it to pay off his drug debts.
Meanwhile, Fleetwood and an opportunistic pimp named Jojo have
befriended an attractive young girl named Mary who is fresh off
the bus from Minnesota. When Fleetwood generously offers to let
Mary stay with them, Queen tries to persuade the young girl to
go home, but Fleetwood and Jojo have already begun to lure her
in with promises of money and fame. That night, Queen is picked
up by the police, and upon her release, she learns that while
she was spending the night in jail, Fleetwood, Jojo, and Mary
were having a threesome. Furious, Queen leaves Fleetwood and
is soon taken in by a rival pimp named Memphis. It isn't long
before Memphis reveals his true nature, threatening to kill both
Queen and Fleetwood if she should ever attempt to leave him.
When Queen tries to warn Fleetwood of these threats, Memphis
beats her brutally. Queen has finally had enough. Sonja, a fellow
prostitute, procures for Queen a bus ticket out of town, and
she decides to say goodbye to "The Life" forever, but
before she can board that bus, Queen is confronted by both Fleetwood
and Memphis, and only one of the three will walk away alive.
The Life opened in the Spring of 1997 at the Ethel
Barrymore Theater under the direction of Michael Blakemore. Although
the production closed on June 7, 1998, after a run of just over
450 performances, it had already managed to win 3 awards for
"Best Musical" of 1997, including the Drama Desk Award,
the Outer Critics Award, and the Drama League Award.
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