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. After losing her first husband, she turned to writing to process her grief. Seven published novels later The Day After Tomorrow, Regina’s Song, The Ladies of Beverley Hills, Marital Affairs, Love Sex and Money, Lives of Value and Innocent Gestures, over two million copies are in print in the U.S., Italy, Spain, Norway, Sweden, China and The United Kingdom. Three were optioned for film and television.
Her earliest theatre project, Sheba, Sharleen wrote and co-produced (book and lyrics) with music by Gary William Friedman, Off Broadway in partnership with 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.
Her second original musical, , the Story of Lena Horne, began with various readings in New York, and Los Angeles. Stormy Weather was awarded Honorable Mention in the Stage Play Script Category of the Writer’s Digest Writing Competition. A workshop of Stormy Weather was produced by Amas Musical Theatre at The Signature Theatre, starring Leslie Uggams.
The world premiere of Stormy Weather: Imagining Lena Horne, starring Leslie Uggams, Kearran Giovanni, Davis Gaines and Kevyn Morrow, was presented in February – March 2007 at the Prince Music Theater in Philadelphia and broke all box office records.
In January 2009, The Pasadena Playhouse presented the West Coast premiere of Stormy Weather starring Leslie Uggams. It was held over through March 8 by popular demand and broke all box office records.
Sharleen served as producer on Broadway’s Indecent (Tony nomination), An American in Paris (Tony nomination), The Velocity of Autumn and Street Corner Symphony. In London’s West End, she produced Jerry Herman’s The Best of Times at the Vaudeville Theatre.
Other co-producing and associate producing credits include: Bingo, Duet and Cookin’ at the Cookery.
Other projects in development include: Blackout with lyrics by Cooper Cohen, and music by award-winning composer Debra Barsha (Radiant Baby), Who Killed Marilyn? a play in one act, Paying Natasha, a screenplay in pre-production, and Pop Nation, where she will serve as producer.
Cooper Cohen serves on the board of Amas Musical Theatre, Living Heritage Foundation, and is Vice President of The American Friends of The National Trust of Italy (FAI).