New York City Center uses cookies on this site to customize and improve your experience. By clicking “Accept,” you are agreeing to this usage. View our privacy policy for more information. 

Encores! 2022

The Life



Mar 16 – 20, 2022

Tickets start at $35

Approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes with one intermission



This production includes explicit language and simulated violence. Not recommended for audiences under age 13.

Nominated for 12 Tony Awards (including Best Musical) The Life tells the story of Queen, and her fellow sex workers, who strive for a better life against oppressive forces in post-disco Times Square. Emmy, Grammy, and Tony Award-winning artist Billy Porter (Pose, Kinky Boots) reinvents this musical for a whole new generation to bring forth the gritty, dangerous, and exciting decadence of New York City in 1980.

As concert adapter and director, Porter has received the full blessing of the Cy Coleman, Ira Gasman, and David Newman estates to reshape a classic music-comedy into a powerful musical drama, humanizing the production’s Black characters in their struggles, passions, and desperate bids for success. Featuring new, funk-infused arrangements and orchestrations by James Sampliner and new vocal arrangements by Michael McElroy, this bold revival reclaims The Life through Porter’s singular lens.

The production includes Jelani Alladin as Lou, Alexandra Grey as Queen, Antwayn Hopper as Memphis, Grammy nominee Mykal Kilgore as Young JoJo, Grammy Award winner Ledisi as Sonja, Erika Olson as Mary, Destan Owens as Old Jojo, and Ken Robinson as Fleetwood.


The Life is part of the 2022 Encores! season, our beloved, Tony-honored series of musical theater revivals. Artistic Director Lear deBessonet and Producing Creative Director Clint Ramos’ vision for the series includes hidden gems from the Broadway canon, productions where artists reclaim work through their own personal lens, and celebrations that look at the ways iconic musicals connect us.

Don’t miss the final Encores! show of the series, part of a new annual community tradition at City Center: Into the Woods (May 4 – 15, 2022).


Interested in VIP seats? Join the President’s Council starting at $2,500 and receive access to premium seats and other special benefits throughout the season. Please call 212.763.1257 or email for more information.


Programming subject to change.



Photos & Videos

Point of View

Point of View

Comedy Undercut ‘The Life.’ Billy Porter Looks for Its Humanity.
The New York Times

Read more

“Billy Porter and The Life. Nothing gets me more excited than hearing those two things together.”
—Frank DiLella on NY1




Vaccinations, Boosters & Masks Required

To ensure the health and safety of everyone, at this time City Center will operate a fully vaccinated venue and approved masks must be worn by all audience members, staff, and crew. To help you buy with confidence, please review our latest health, safety, and ticket policies.


Cast & Credits

Cast & Credits

Music by Cy Coleman
Lyrics by Ira Gasman
Book by David Newman, Ira Gasman, and Cy Coleman
Concert Adaptation by Billy Porter
Scenic Designer Clint Ramos
Costume Designer Anita Yavich
Lighting Designer Driscoll Otto
Co-Sound Designers Kai Harada and Megumi Katayama
Projection Designer Zachary Borovay
Wig & Hair Designer Tom Watson 
Casting by The Telsey Office
Choreography by AC Ciulla
New Arrangements & Orchestrations James Sampliner  
Featuring The Encores! Orchestra
Guest Music Director James Sampliner
Directed by Billy Porter

Starring Jelani AlladinAlexandra Grey, Antwayn Hopper, Mykal Kilgore, Ledisi, Erika Olson, Destan Owens, and Ken Robinson

With Joe Beauregard, Angelica Maria Beliard, Angela Brydon, Adee David, Tyler Eisenreich, Asmeret Ghebremichael, Semhar Ghebremichael, Albert Guerzon, Jeff Gorti, Heather Lang, Nathan Lucrezio, Tiffany Mann, LaQuet Sharnell Pringle, Devin L. Roberts, MiMi Scardulla, Jaquez André Sims, Anastasia Talley, and Tanairi Vazquez

Encores! Artistic Leadership
Lear deBessonet | Artistic Director
Rob Berman | Music Director
Clint Ramos | Producing Creative Director
Josh Clayton | Supervisor of Music Administration & Score Restoration
Adrian Alea | Creative Associate

Creative Advisors
Camille A. Brown, Eisa Davis, and Robert O'Hara

Producer of Musical Theater
Jenny Gersten

Show Your Encores! Love

Show Your Encores! Love

For nearly 30 years we’ve watched our Encores! series bring a community together through a shared love of song and dance. Now there has never been a more important time to return this flagship program, like a beacon of hope, back to our New York community. Please consider making a gift today to support this beloved series.



Leadership Support for Encores!
Stacey and Eric Mindich Fund for Musical Theater

Major Support for Encores! is provided by

Encores! Season Sponsors
Roz and Jerry Meyer
The Shubert Foundation
Stephanie and Fred Shuman Fund for Encores!
Joseph S. and Diane H. Steinberg Charitable Trust

Additional support for Encores! is provided by
The Kaplen Brothers Fund
The Frederick Loewe Foundation
Daryl and Steven Roth
The Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation, Inc.
The SHS Foundation
The Ted Snowdon Foundation
NYSCA logo


Production videography by Bardo Arts/Alex Pearlman
Production photos by Joan Marcus
Art by Ben Wiseman