-Courtesy of Perpetual Motion PR
Before Rosa Parks refused to go to the back of the bus, before Martin Luther King, Jr. inspired a movement, Lloyd Price’s music brought Black and white youth together. From his obscure beginnings to overnight teen sensation, from unsung trailblazer to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, the story of Lloyd Price has never been told onstage — until now. Featuring a stellar ensemble of singers and dancers performing the singer/songwriter’s iconic hits “Lawdy Miss Clawdy,” “Stagger Lee,” and the legendary song that became his namesake, “Personality,” this world premiere musical celebrates one of the most resilient and influential entertainers of the 20th Century. With a script written by B. Jeffrey Madoff in collaboration with Price himself, a team of American theatre titans helmed by Director Sheldon Epps (Broadway: Play On! and Blues in the Night) will bring Price’s story and everlasting legacy to the People’s Light stage. Personality: The Lloyd Price Musical runs March 9 – April 3 on the Leonard C. Haas Stage. Single tickets are $45. To purchase, call 610.644.3500 or visit peopleslight.org. People’s Light is located at 39 Conestoga Road, Malvern PA 19355.
After the sold-out run of our adaptation of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, People’s Light is thrilled to continue bringing audiences together by celebrating Lloyd Price. Though Price ranks as one of the most significant musical artists of the mid-twentieth century, his multi-generational impact on the industry has remained covered in relative obscurity for too long. Says Director Sheldon Epps, “I have always been attracted to stories about what I call unsung heroes in our history. Lloyd Price is certainly worthy of our attention as he was a great showman, a trailblazer and a true pioneer. It’s a great honor to bring his story and his music to life for audiences who may know him and especially to those who should know him.”
Price came from humble beginnings in his hometown of Kenner, Louisiana, where he faced incredible obstacles to a thriving musical career—especially as a young black man coming of age in a pre-Civil Rights Movement America. Armed with fierce determination and a soulful sound, Price skyrocketed to stardom in 1952 when his R&B single “Lawdy Miss Clawdy” was recorded by Specialty Records and released to acclaim, hitting No. 1 on the R&B charts and selling over a million copies. His originality and dynamite personality captured the hearts of American youth, helping to bridge racial divides and encourage coming together through a love of rock ‘n roll. But the path to the Hall of Fame was a winding one: immediately after the success of his first record, he was drafted to fight in the Korean War in 1953. Yet Price was a master of reinvention, finding his footing time and again, creating his own record label, and developing the bridge between R&B and Pop music scenes.
Recent highly successful productions at People’s Light, like Nina Simone: Four Women and Lights Out: Nat “King” Cole, explored an iconic cultural figure in an intimate way. This production celebrates Price with a true “song and dance” musical, larger in scale than anything on the People’s Light stage in over a decade. Music Supervisor Shelton Becton (Broadway‘s The Color Purple, Shuffle Along…, and more) will highlight Price’s iconic musical flair and will have audiences dancing in their seats. Edgar Godineaux (Broadway’s Ain’t Too Proud), whose choreography was last seen in Lights Out, makes his return to People’s Light to create the high-energy dance numbers for the cast of thirteen.
Setting the production apart from other biographical or jukebox musicals is Price’s involvement in the creation of Personality. Not only did he contribute the music and lyrics that serve as the scaffolding for Madoff’s narrative, but he worked directly with Madoff on the story of his life. Sadly, Lloyd passed away in May of 2021 before he could see his efforts fully realized in the premiere. Personality will be a fitting tribute to Price, his tireless efforts, and the legacy he created. “People’s Light has been wanting to bring this story to our audiences for some time,” reveals People’s Light Producing Director Zak Berkman. “We’re sad the pandemic prevented us from staging Personality before Price’s passing, but we are overjoyed audiences will get to witness his journey and discover more about a truly groundbreaking artist.”
In addition to Epps (former Artistic Director of Pasadena Playhouse) Becton, and Godineaux, the prestigious creative team of Broadway veterans includes Scenic and Projection Designer David Gallo (Tony Award winner for Broadway’s The Drowsy Chaperone), Lucille Lortel nominated Costume Designer Karen Perry, Lighting Designer Jeff Croiter (Tony Award winner for Broadway’s Peter and the Starcatcher), Video Designer Steve Channon (The Mountaintop), and Rob Kaplowitz (Tony Award winner for Broadway’s Fela!) returns to People’s Light as Sound Designer. Viveca Gardiner assists Scenic and Video Design. Gwendolyn M. Gilliam stage manages, assisted by Molly Norris. Saladin White II serves as COVID Compliance Manager. Presented in partnership with the Hard Kill LLC, and Eric Cornell, Executive Producer.
Personality: The Lloyd Price Musical previews Wednesday, March 9th, Thursday, March 10th, Friday, March 11th and Saturday, March 12th. The play opens on Sunday, March 13th and runs through Sunday, April 3rd. Single tickets are $45. People’s Light also offers a range of ticket discounts, like a 50%-off Access Night on Thursday, March 24th at 7:30pm, 25% off for educators and military, and families and youth tickets which are 10% off the regular ticket price for groups of 6, 7, 8, or 9. Learn more about available ticket discounts here.