Reggae musical The Harder They Come will receive its West End debut when it transfers to the Playhouse on 9 June.
The production, based on the 1972 Perry Henzell film that launched Jimmy Cliff onto the world stage, has already enjoyed hugely successful sell-out seasons at both the Theatre Royal Stratford East, where it premiered in 2006 and was revived in 2007, and at the Barbican, where it ran earlier this spring.
Telling the story of Ivan, a country boy who dreams of becoming a reggae star, The Harder They Come features classic reggae tracks including You Can Get It If You Really Want, Rivers Of Babylon and The Harder They Come. Ivan’s journey to make it in music is not an easy one, and the scene drives him to a fast and furious life as an outlaw, but he would rather die than kill his dream.
The cast for The Harder They Come features Rolan Bell, Jacqui Dubois, Derek Elroy, Victor Romero Evans, Joanna Francis, Matthew J Henry, Marlon King, Susan Lawson-Reynolds, Joy Mack, Marcus Powell, Joe Speare and Chris Tummings. Direction is by Theatre Royal Stratford East Artistic Director Kerry Michael and Dawn Reid.
The Harder They Come is the second musical in three years to start its life at the Theatre Royal Stratford East before transferring to the West End. The Big Life, a comic ska musical based loosely on Love’s Labour Lost and set in 1950s London, wowed West end audiences at the Apollo in 2005.
The Harder They Come previews from 23 May and is booking until 1 November.