Chester Gregory (Sister Act, Dreamgirls, Tarzan, Shrek The Musical) is at it again. His stage presence is nothing short of amazing and this time, we’re sure, will be no different. He, along with Crystal Lucas-Perry, have created a one-person show that represents the life and music of soul-stirring singer Jackie Wilson entitled “The Eve of Jackie.” The show is directed by Tony Award nominee Da’Vine Joy Randolph, musically directed by Rob Lewis, and features a guest appearance by Lillias White (Fela!, The Life, Dreamgirls) as LaVern Baker. This is sure to be a world premiere you don’t want to miss. Monday, February 4th Doors open at 8:45 at 54 Below with a 9:30 start time. Click HERE for tickets! And check out Gregory as he croons “To Be Loved” below. We hope to see you there!
Closing Weekend: World Premiere of Dolphins and Sharks by James Anthony Tyler
The world premiere of Dolphins and Sharks, a new comedy by James Anthony Tyler that grapples with issues of income inequality, gentrification, and capitalism, began performances at the Bank Street Theater on February 9th, under the direction of Charlotte Brathwaite.
Image: Monique Carboni/Max Millermaier
Presented by Labyrinth Theater Company, the play won the 2015 Fire This Time Festival and received further development through staged readings and workshop performances as part of Labyrinth’s 2015 Up Next and 2016 Barn Reading Series. It later appeared as a finalist for the 2016 O’Neill Playwrights Conference.
Described as a “ferocious comedy,” Dolphins and Sharks also marks Tyler’s professional debut:
“Yusuf studies philosophy. Xiomara is ambitious. Isabel keeps it real. These are the employees of Harlem Office, a neighborhood copy shop, where promotions are rare and raises are even rarer. But when one employee is given the chance to move up, friendships are tested and loyalty turns out to be less valuable than cold hard cash. Soon cutbacks and office politics have everyone fighting to keep their jobs and their sanity in this searing new play about clocking in, clocking out and rising up.”
The cast, lead by Pernell Walker, also stars Tina Fabrique, Flor De Liz Perez, Cesar J. Rosado, and Chinaza Uche.
The creative team includes Marsha Ginsberg (scenic designer), Zulema Griffin (costume designer), Kent Barrett (lighting designer), Justin Hicks (sound designer), Andrew Schneider (video designer), and Samantha Cotton (production stage manager).
Purchase tickets for $30 – $40 by visiting labtheater.org or by calling (212) 513-1080.
Dolphins and Sharks plays now through March 19th at The Bank Street Theater, located at 155 Bank Street in Manhattan.
BeBe Winans’ ‘Born For This’ Set For World Premiere
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.
On Feb 12, BeBe Winans and his nephew Juan Winans performed the title song from the upcoming musical, “Born For This: The BeBe Winans Story” during the Go Red luncheon supporting the American Heart Association. “Born For This: The BeBe Winans Story” will have its world premiere at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, GA, April 13 – May 15, 2016.
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.
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