Sharleen Cooper Cohen's first career was as a highly successful interior designer. Her work appeared in House Beautiful, Architectural Digest and the Los Angeles Times Home Magazine. Then 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 were optioned for film and television.
In 1995 Sharleen's first musical, SHEBA (book and lyrics), with music by Gary William Friedman, was produced Off Broadway by the Jewish Repertory Theatre. It 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. In 2003, SHEBA was updated: songs added, the score re-orchestrated to make it a Pop Rock Gospel Musical. Presented in Los Angeles in 2004 as a community outreach project, it brought together the African-American and Jewish communities in an entertainment experience and enjoyed the support of L.A.'s religious leaders. SHEBA was awarded Honorable Mention in the Stage Play Script Category of the 2004 Writer's Digest Writing Competition. Amas Musical Theatre produced readings of SHEBA at the 2005 New York Music Theatre Festival, directed by Iona Morris.
In 1997, Sharleen served as associate producer of STREET CORNER SYMPHONY on Broadway and in 1998 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. In November 2005, she produced BINGO the Musical Off Broadway; the latest interactive theater piece turns Grandma's favorite form of gambling into fun-loving musical theater.
Her musical, STORMY WEATHER, the Story of Lena Horne, had readings in New York in 1998 and in Los Angeles in 1999, featuring Barbara McNair, Tamara Tunie, Kelly Britt, Dennis Cole and Ron Glass. Additional readings directed by Billie Allen were held in New York in 2000 and 2001, both produced by Amas Musical Theatre, with choreography by Hope Clarke. The cast included Phylicia Rashad, Ruth Williamson and Tamara Tunie. STORMY WEATHER was awarded Honorable Mention in the Stage Play Script Category of the 2000 Writer's Digest Writing Competition. Amas Musical Theatre produced a workshop of STORMY WEATHER in 2004, directed by Victoria Pero with choreography by Hope Clarke starring Leslie Uggams with LaTanya Hall, Blair Ross and John Hillner. In February 2005, The Manhattan Theatre Club produced a reading of STORMY WEATHER. Amas Musical Theatre presented another reading of STORMY WEATHER in November 2005. Victoria Pero directed a cast that included Tony award winners Leslie Uggams and Anthony Crivello. A regional theatre production starring Leslie Uggams is scheduled for summer 2006, prior to Broadway.
Another original musical, BLACKOUT, with book and lyrics by Sharleen and music by award-winning composer Debra Barsha (RADIANT BABY), had a workshop reading in New York in December 2003, produced by Amas Musical Theatre.
Currently she is functioning as producer and book writer with Douglas Day Stewart on a musical based on his original screenplay, AN OFFICER AND A GENTLEMAN, one of the most popular and highest-grossing films of all times. Award-winning composer Kenneth Hirsch and award-winning lyricist Robin Lerner are writing the score.