Sharleen Cooper Cohen began her business career by creating a highly successful interior design firm. After a decade as a designer, she turned to writing novels. Seven published novels later (The Day After Tomorrow, Regina's Song, The Ladies of Beverly Hills, Marital Affairs, Love Sex and Money, Lives of Value and Innocent Gestures), over two million copies of her books are in print in the U.S., Italy, Spain, Norway, Sweden, China and The United Kingdom. Three of them have been optioned for film and television. During her career as a novelist, she toured the United States numerous times, appearing at speaking engagements, book signings and on television and radio.
In 1995, her interest turned to the theatre and she wrote her first musical, Sheba, which she co-produced with the Jewish Repertory Theatre, Off-Broadway in New York. Sheba was one of the JRT's most successful productions and garnered an excellent New York Times review. The Sheba CD was released in January 2000 by Original Cast Records.
Since Sheba premiered, she was associate producer of Street Corner Symphony on Broadway and also produced Jerry Herman's The Best of Times at the Vaudeville Theatre in London's West End. In January of 1999, she produced Cookin' at the Cookery, the story of Alberta Hunter, in conjunction with the Arkansas Repertory Theatre.
Her musical, Stormy Weather, the story of Lena Horne, had its first reading in New York in December 1998. Readings produced by Broadway On Sunset in Los Angeles in September 1999, featured a cast that included Barbara McNair, Tamara Tunie, Kelly Britt, Dennis Cole, and Ron Glass. Additional readings, directed by Billie Allen, were held in New York in October 2000. Produced by Amas Musical Theatre, the cast included Phylicia Rashad, Ruth Williamson, Tamara Tunie and Dennis Parlato. Stormy Weather was awarded Honorable Mention in the Stage Play Script Category of the 2000 Writer's Digest Writing Competition. Amas Musical Theatre also produced readings in New York in September and October 2001 with choreography by Hope Clarke. Billie Allen directed a cast that included Phylicia Rashad, Richard White, Ruth Williamson and Tamara Tunie. Luther Henderson was the orchestrator, arranger and musical supervisor.
Her original musical, Blackout, with music by award-winning composer Debra Barsha, had its first reading in April 2002, presented by The Amas 6 O'Clock Musical Theatre Lab. Directed by Allison Bergmann, the cast included Marcy McGuigan, Joseph Sirvano, Nina Hennessey and J.T. Horenstein.
A production of Sheba, a community outreach project bringing together the African-American and Jewish communities in an entertainment experience, is planned for 2004 in Los Angeles. This production, which has the support of both religious communities, may be the first of its kind and will serve as a blueprint for a national tour.
Visit Sharleen Cooper Cohen's website at www.sharleencoopercohen.com.