Announced more than a year ago and a musical in the making for as many as nine years, Born For This: The BeBe Winans Story will make its world premiere April 13, at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, Ga, and run through May 15.
Co-written with Charles Randolph-Wright, director of Motown the Musical, the production – which features an original score by Benjamin “BeBe” Winans – is described as “a hilarious and heart-warming journey toward self-discovery.” Co-produced with Arena Stage in Washington D.C., it will move to the nation’s capitol to kick off the theatre’s 2016-2017 season July 1 and run through Aug. 28.
The story wouldn’t be complete without Winans’ sister CeCe Winans. Together, they were introduced to the world as teenagers through the Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker’s Praise The Lord Network television show when they left their native Detroit for North Carolina to work for an organization of 4,000 employees and only four being African-American.
“We’re all born for a purpose,” the six-time Grammy Award-winning singer said. “This musical celebrates the journey of finding it.”
The newest generation of Winans singers, siblings Juan Winans and Deborah Joy Winans (star of megachurch drama “Greenleaf” coming to the Oprah Winfrey Network in June) respectively portray their uncle and aunt as the youngest siblings of the Winans legacy. Whitney Houston, a close friend of the Winans, will be included in the musical which is titled after a song BeBe recorded with Stephanie Mills in 2002.
Moderated by Alliance Theatre Artistic Director Susan V. Booth, a special behind-the-musical event featuring creators Winans, Randolph-Wright and music supervisor Donald Lawrence took place March 15 at the Peachtree Street venue. Nearly a year prior a reading of the play was held, with Oprah Winfrey and Cicely Tyson among the attendees, when it was set for a January 2016 debut.
In February, Winans, 54, and his nephew Juan performed the title song from the musical during the Go Red luncheon supporting the American Heart Association.
April 19, May 3 and May 10 are free conversations before the play (10:45am) about behind-the-scenes production elements. April 19 special guests will be Winans and Randolph-Wright. After each Saturday matinee (4:30pm), audience members have the opportunity to interact with cast members during a moderated Q&A.