A new play, set to open early next year in Copenhagen, will center on the life of singer Amy Winehouse, who died last year following a painful (and very public) battle with drug-and-alcohol addiction. The 27-year-old English singer was found dead in her London home in July 2011 — the result of alcohol poisoning, investigations revealed.
The production, simply titled Amy, won’t just focus on the problems the R&B songstress faced — it will also explore the role of the media in exacerbating those struggles. Event organizers said the play seeks to emphasize “the enormous pressure a sensationalist public put on a young superstar when her problems began,” the BBC reports. It will feature music from both of Winehouse’s studio albums: 2003’s Frank and 2006’s Back to Black. The Winehouse family, however, has had nothing to do with the production and hasn’t provided any input. Instead, the play will draw upon interviews, concerts, news articles, letters, acceptance speeches and song lyrics.
(PHOTOS: The Life and Times of Amy Winehouse)
Amy will open Jan. 30 at Copenhagen’s Royal Danish Theatre, with 29-year-old actress Johanne Louise Schmidt starring as Winehouse. The play will also delve into the singer’s failed marriage with Blake Fielder-Civil, who has struggled with addiction as well.
As plans for Amy continue to develop, a few questions arise: How soon is too soon to begin profiting off the life of a deceased celebrity — or really, any deceased person? And even if turning a profit isn’t necessarily the chief motivation, how soon is too soon to develop the tragic story behind a death into material for an artistic project? One might also consider that in Winehouse’s case, fame seemed to play a role in her downward spiral — and that happens to be a key premise of the play. So perhaps there’s something disrespectful about exploring and dramatizing those struggles on a public stage, less than two years after the singer’s death. Of course, Amy could also provide valuable new insight into the talented, tortured musician’s mind and musings and could serve as a poignant tribute to her life. We’ll have to wait to decide.