[Rikki Beadle Blair is the bisexual Black Playwright who wrote the play for her]
S&A’s interview with Richardson-Whitfield follows below.
In the upcoming bioplay A Lady Must Live, Salli Richardson-Whitfield is set to play legendary singer and actressLena Horne. The show will explore a major span of Horne’s life, taking place "backstage after the first preview of ‘A Lady and Her Music,’ as Horne wrestles - emotionally and physically - with her ghosts, struggling to rework her show to recount her life story with more candor and complexity."
The project has been in the works for years, and Richardson-Whitfield and her team will soon launch a fundraising campaign to workshop the play. Recently the actress made time to talk with Shadow And Act about the process of transforming into Lena Horne, as well as her other upcoming projects.
JAI TIGGETT: Back in 2011 we saw your performance as Lena Horne for the Jenesse Silver Rose Gala. Is that where this project started?
SALLI RICHARDSON-WHITFIELD: That just really sparked something. After that event, so many people came up to me, some of which she knew Lena and said, "Oh my God, you were Lena." I’ve always had a love For Lena Horne and I’d really love to do it as a movie, but she loved singing and being on Broadway in New York. She actually left Hollywood to go back to performing on stage. So I thought that it should be a Broadway show, because that really was true to her heart.
So then you have to find the right playwright. I got very lucky that I had to go to London for a convention. My manager knew this playwright [Rikki Beadle Blair], and I went to see his play and it blew me off my feet. I had breakfast with him and talked about it, and he wasn’t quite sure. But then we found a way to get into the story and get it written. And now we need the money to do the workshop. The workshop is the first step of a production, and then you present that for the really big investors to take it to Broadway or start in LA at one of the bigger theaters.MORE