After tremendously successful engagements in Atlanta and Washington, D.C., the Broadway-bound musical story of BeBe and CeCe Winans, “Born for This,” is kicking off the Broad Stage’s 2017-18 Theatre Season this month in Santa Monica.
How the two Detroit teenagers, whose older siblings formed the renowned gospel recording group The Winans, came to be paired by televangelists Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker in North Carolina is told along with the self-discovery they experienced in the face of the temptations of fame that came with crossing over to mainstream popularity.
Six-time Grammy Award-winning artist BeBe Winans, who composed the original score and co-authored the book with director Charles Randolph-Wright of “Motown: The Musical” fame, told Tasty Clips that the spark for its creation came during a call from singer Roberta Flack 10 years ago.
“We were just talking about things when all of a sudden she detoured and said, ‘BeBe, Look baby when you going to get to it? You gotta write that musical about you and your sister. It’s an American story. After that it’s a movie.’ … Then she went right back into our conversation.”
“About five days later, I was visiting friends in Montreal. I walked into my room, opened up my laptop and like a faucet turned on, I sat there for two hours and wrote the first draft.”
After a tough casting process, the lead roles were won by family members Juan Winans, a Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter in his own right; and Deborah Joy Winans, who co-stars on OWN’s original TV series “Greenleaf.”
“I couldn’t be prouder,” boasted the beaming uncle. “That being said, there are 40 nieces and nephews around and some of them ain’t talented. So trust me, they’re not up there because their last name is Winans. They’re up there because they can pull it off.”
Despite receiving accolades in its previous run, criticism is something that he’s not worried about.
“My family don’t know nothing about peer pressure because to be raised the way we were raised, what is that? So when it comes to reviews, I’ve never been scared of them because what you believe may not be what I believe.”
Added Winans: “What I learned in the beginning was you can’t expect people to understand what’s been given to you. If you’re not ready to be misunderstood then you’re not ready to do anything in life. My father and mother taught us that. Understanding that doesn’t make it pleasurable to hear people talk and say terrible things about you, but it’s part of the journey.”
The former chart topper feels that music is at an all-time low.
“I’m a 55 year-old grown man and I can’t listen to some things that they’re saying on radio,” Winans said. “Really has it come down to this? That profanity is all in the lyric? Gladys Knight sang ‘Neither One of Us Can Be the First to Say Goodbye.’ That’s real. Being a lyricist, I’m really a fan of a song being presented and a story there. Sad to say, there’s not a lot of that in all genres these days. When I hear a nice song, I’m like Whoa!
“I think we need to teach the next generation how we got here and how we endured,” he continued, “because if we don’t, they lose out on the richness and reality of who they are. We were taught how to sing and how to present a song. I think that’s lost. There are no A&R divisions in record companies that really teach artists how to be artists. I don’t even watch music television shows cause ain’t nobody wearing no clothes. It’s just shock value. I’m like that’s not a dress! Really! It’s in a sad state.”
Surprisingly, BeBe Winans is much happier these days behind the scenes.
“I love writing and putting things together,” he revealed. “I can enjoy singing here and there but that’s why you haven’t seen me on the tour circuit. That’s not my passion. This is something I’m enjoying.”
For tickets to “Born for This” (July 11 – Aug. 6), visit: www.thebroadstage.com or call (310) 434-3200.
CLIPPETTES: HBO’s “True Detective” is returning for a third season in 2018 with Oscar winner Mahershala Ali (“Moonlight”) desired as the lead …
Amanda Seales’ “Smart Funny & Black” comic game show convenes at Nerdmelt Showroom on July 10 with Comedy Central stars James Davis (“Hood Adjacent”) vs. Sam Jay (“Half Hour”) …
Tyler Perry will produce and star in an upcoming biopic of pioneering African-American filmmaker Oscar Micheaux …
J. Cole: 4 Your Eyez Only Tour parks at the Forum for two nights July 11 and 12 …
O’Shea Jackson Jr. has landed the role of the late drug-addled major league pitcher Dock Ellis in a biopic to be produced by his dad and new Hollywood Walk of Fame inductee, Ice Cube …
Opening July 12 in select cities as well as On Demand, “I Am The Blues” visits with many unsung living legends including 83-year old Bobby Rush — whose latest recording, “Porcupine Meat,” won him his first Grammy for Traditional Blues Album in February.
TASTY QUIP: “Al Sharpton in the mirror takin’ selfies / How is him or Pill Cosby supposed to help me?” – JAY Z on “Family Feud” from his new album “4:44”
TC ON TV: July 8 – “CBS This Morning Saturday” (CBS): Michael Kiwanuka “Tour de Pharmacy” (HBO): Executive producer and star Andy Samberg (“Brooklyn Nine-Nine”), takes a satirical look at the doping scandal plaguing competitive biking with appearances by Danny Glover, Maya Rudolph, Mike Tyson, Phylicia Rashad, Chris Webber, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, John Cena and Lance Armstrong.
July 9 – “The Defiant Ones” (HBO): A four-part documentary event focusing on music industry giants Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine, directed by Allen Hughes (“Menace II Society”). “Unsung” (TV1): Back-to-back episodes featuring Wyclef Jean and Jagged Edge open the season.
July 10 – “The Therapist” (Viceland): A sit down with Prodigy, the Mobb Deep rap legend who died last month, closes the first season.
July 11 – “Fluffy’s Food Adventures” (Fuse): Gabriel “Fluffy” Iglesias and his boys eat their way across the country. “Essence Festival 2017” (OWN): Taped in New Orleans.
July 12 – “The Carmichael Show” (NBC): Last week, the network announced they were canceling this clever sitcom in August after three seasons. Catch it while you can.
TASTY QUIP: “It is in your hands to stop all the killing and all the shooting wherever it might be. Because you cannot say Black Lives Matter and then kill yourselves. Because you know, we’ve mattered long before it was said. But the way we show all the various people of color matter is by loving each other and doing something about it – not just talking about it. – STEVIE WONDER at “Conference on Peace”
As featured in the Los Angeles Wave and Independent, Tasty Clips is one of the leading entertainment newspaper columns on the West Coast, serving nearly one million weekly readers. To reach Bill Vaughan, send email to email@example.com or via Twitter @tastyclips.