Monday, June 17, 2024

Broadway: John Legend, Lynn Nottage Team Up for Musical Adaptation of Douglas Sirk 50s Movie with Racial Twist, “Imitation of Life”


John Legend is coming to Broadway.

He’s written the songs for a musical adaptation of Douglas Sirk’s 50s soap opera, “Imitation of Life.”

The great Lynn Nottage is writing the script from the original book and movie. Liesl Tommy, who directed the not great Aretha Franklin movie, “Respect,” is directing it.

“Imitation of Life” starred Lana Turner, John Gavin, and Sandra Dee. It’s a melodrama about race, among other things. The imdb summary reads: “Aspiring actress Lora Meredith meets Annie Johnson, a homeless Black woman at Coney Island, and soon they share a tiny apartment. Each woman has an intolerable daughter. However, Annie’s little girl Sarah Jane is by far the worst. Neurotic and obnoxious, Sarah Jane doesn’t like being Black; since she’s light-skinned (her father was practically white), she spends the rest of the film trying to pass as white, much to her mother’s heartache and shame. Lora, meanwhile, virtually ignores her own daughter in a single-minded quest for stardom.”

This should be interesting. “Imitation of Life” is in development, so we won’t see it before 2026.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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