Invisible Life Musical, About Bi-Sexual and Gay Black Culture, Hits Stage With Brenda Braxton and Frenchie Davis

News   Invisible Life Musical, About Bi-Sexual and Gay Black Culture, Hits Stage With Brenda Braxton and Frenchie Davis A musical adaptation of best-selling author E. Lynn Harris' 1994 novel "Invisible Life," which tracks one man's coming of age and his experiences in bisexual and gay culture, is reborn as a new musical featuring a score by hit-makers Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson. Performances begin June 25 at the Apollo Theater.

Frenchie Davis begins performances in Mahalia.
Frenchie Davis begins performances in Mahalia.

The musical adaptation, which has been in development for several years, is receiving an Actors Equity approved showcase at Harlem's Apollo Theater through June 30.

Proteus Spann and Javon Johnson, who collaborated on the musical's book, directs the showcase that has music and lyrics by Ashford and Simpson and additional lyrics by Stanley Bennett Clay.

Ashford and Simpson are the songwriters behind such Motown hits as "Ain't No Mountain High Enough," "Your Precious Love," "Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing," "You're All I Need to Get By" and "Reach Out and Touch."

The songwriters performed selections from their score during a well-reviewed 2007 engagement at Feinstein's.

Brenda Braxton stars as Mama Tyler alongside Grammy-nominated singer and actress Frenchie Davis (Rent) as JJ, Tony Award nominee Vivian Reed as Aunt Susan, Danea C. Osseni as Nicole, Milton Craig Nealy (Motown, Dreamgirls) as Coach Tyler, Ann McCormack as Candance, Gregory Williams as Raymond Tyler Jr., Brianna Horne as Sela and Terry Lavell (La Cage Aux Folles) as Kyle. The cast also features Ann McCormack as Candance, Gregory Williams as Raymond Tyler Jr. Brianna Horne as Sela and Terry Lavell as Kyle.

The musical, and its source material, which tackles issues of race, religion, gay identity and AIDS, centers on "Raymond, a college football player, [who] dreams of a future as a lawyer and family man with his childhood sweetheart Sela, but is seduced into a Down-Low romance by star Quarterback, Basil Hernderson. Pressured by his Father to continue his NFL legacy, Raymond escapes to New York City and falls madly in love with a Broadway Diva, Nicole. Raymond's scandal-reunion with Basil, and fashionista best friends Kyle and JJ, threatens his 'Perfect World' and forces Raymond to 'Live his Life in Truth…'"

According to the show's creators, the score to Invisible Life mixes R&B and Paradise Garage grooves.

Reginald Van Lee executive produces the stage adaptation that has musical direction by e'Marcus Harper and DJ Teddy Douglas.

Tickets ($18) can be ordered at Ticketmaster.com or by called 1-800-745-3000. Peformances are scheduled for June 25, 26, 29 and 30 at 7:30 PM, and June 27 at 3 and 7 PM.

Visit InvisibleLifeTheMusical.com or apollotheater.org.

Today’s Most Popular News: