Stormy: The Life of Lena Horne

Stormy: The Life of Lena Horne is a new musical written by Camilla Beeput with songs by Camilla Beeput and Alex Webb, and incidental music and arrangements by Webb.

Stormy premiered at the Norfolk & Norwich Festival and Bath Festival in May 2017 and received rave reviews.  In a 4-star review The Times called it,  ‘a bravura display – sometimes sexy, sometimes icily androgynous … sassy anecdotes and vignettes were wrapped around a clutch of energetic new songs  co-written by the pianist and musical director Alex Webb … by the end of the evening a star had been reborn.’

The musical has since run at Cafe Coqs at Zedel in Soho (2018) and in the Underbelly Festival on London’s South Bank (2019).

Camilla_AW Lena poster_Underbelly

From 1920s Harlem to the golden era of Hollywood. through WWII to the Civil Rights movement, Stormy: The Life Of Lena Horne celebrates the life and work of one of the most significant African-American figures in 20th century entertainment.  Camilla Beeput’s musical gives us the untold story behind Horne’s glamorous career as dancer, movie star, activist, singer – and the first black actor to break the Hollywood stereotype.

Under the direction of Maxwell Golden and Olivier award winning actor/writer/director Clarke Peters (Five Guys Named Moe, The Wire) Stormy brings Lena back to life alongside a five-piece band under the musical direction of Alex Webb, providing thrilling musical evocations of the eras that Horne lived through in her 60 years in show business.


The musical line-up for the shows was Cheryl Alleyne (drums), Erica Clarke (reeds), Miles Danso (bass), Sheila Maurice-Grey, Sue Richardson or Andy Davies (trumpet) with Alex Webb (piano, MD, arranger).

Horne (1917-2010) came to fame in the 1940s, a time when African-Americans could not vote in the South or gain admittance to most hotels.  She conquered the jazz clubs, the cabaret scene, Hollywood and became a key figure in the Civil Rights movement – then made a triumphant return in The Wiz and then in her own one-woman Broadway show in the 1980s.  In 2017, her centenary year, Stormy brings the Lena Horne story to a new generation, reminding us that many of the struggles she faced are still with us – but inspiring us with an extraordinary example of fortitude, idealism and poise.

When Horne died in 2010 The Guardian commemorated, ‘a free woman whose style, beauty, eloquence and independence made her a role model for millions’.

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