How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
Cy Coleman’s musical The Life.
In The Life, Coleman, Ira Gasman, and David Newman musicalize the lives of 1980s Times Square prostitutes, including Queen, who is hoping to escape; the cynical Sonja, played by White; and their menacing pimp, Memphis. The production premiered Off-Broadway in 1990 and later opened on Broadway April 26, 1997, at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre. It ran for 446 performances and 21 previews, closing on June 7, 1998.
For her role in Cy Coleman’s The Life, she won the Tony, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle Awards for her portrayal of a world-weary, no-nonsense, streetwise hooker named Sonja. Off-Broadway White has performed in the Public Theater production of the William Finn musical Romance in Hard Times (1989), for which she won the Obie Award,
Gem of The Ocean
Romance in Hard Times
The musical was part of the 1989 and 1990 Public Theater New York Shakespeare Festival in New York City. Romance in Hard Times was presented in one of Joseph Papp‘s “musical laboratories” at the Public Theater’s Anspacher Theater for three weeks in June 1989. Directed by David Warren, the cast featured Lillias White. It was open to the public but not for critics.
The musical then opened Off-Broadway at The Public Theater on November 14, 1989, and closed on December 17, 1989. The musical was again directed by David Warren with musical direction by Ted Sperling and choreography by Marcia Milgrom Dodge. The cast featured Lillias White, Cleavant Derricks, Victor Trent Cook, Rufus Bonds, Jr., James Stovall, and Alix Korey. White won the Obie Award, Performance, in 1990.
HALF TIME: A NEW MUSICAL
(Formerly “GOTTA DANCE“)
Georgia Engel and Lillias White
(Photo: Matthew Murphy)
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Center Theatre Group’s production of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom in September 2016.
BY August Wilson
DIRECTED BY Phylicia Rashad
Greg Bryan, Keith David, Jason Dirden, Damon Gupton, Matthew Henerson, Nija Okoro, Lamar Richardson Ed Swidey, Glynn Turman, Lillias White, Thomas Silcott
Photos by Craig Swartz
Second Stage Theatre’s Crowns (2002), for which she won the AUDELCO Award. In 2014, White will appear in the Primary Stages production of While I Yet Live.
White’s concert performances include Funny Girl, Hair, Dreamgirls, and South Pacific, which was broadcast by PBS Great Performances. She performed with the Brooklyn Philharmonic in a concert of works by Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland, and George and Ira Gershwin celebrating the orchestra’s 50th anniversary. She also has appeared in concert at the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, and Lincoln Center and has toured internationally with her one-woman show From Brooklyn to Broadway. She is heard on the 1990 Madonna recording “Rescue Me”.
White’s television appearances include a regular role on Sesame Street (for which she won an Emmy Award), Law & Order, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, and NYPD Blue.
Her screen credits include voiceover work in Disney’s Hercules and Anastasia and appearances in How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Game 6, Pieces of April and Then She Found Me”
Pieces of April (2003)