Detroit has a loves jones for plays, so the lavish Fox Theatre in Detroit was the perfect venue for two nights of Love Jones The Musical. Headed by a star-studded cast, it’s inspired by Theodore Witcher‘s romantic black film, Love Jones. Twenty years later the groundbreaking classic remains a fan favorite and a reflection of how real love conquers all.
Although there were some variations, the musical mimicked most of the movie’s themes. The cast delivered a passionate and sometimes funny performance as they portrayed the drama involved with love and life. Main characters, Nina and Darius were played by singer-songwriter Chrisette Michele, and Tony Grant with believable chemistry. R&B sensation Musiq Soulchild played the clever Savon, schooling Darius about the realness of married life. Additional celebrity cast members were Raheem DeVaughn as the smooth playboy, Hollywood; Dave Hollister; and hip-hop pioneer MC Lyte. Nina’s feisty best girlfriend, Josie, was revived by singer Angie Fisher; while Singer Chaz Shepard — who has been in several screen and stage productions — played Nina’s ex-fiancé, Marvin.
The musical performances were stellar as DeVaughn, Soulchild and Michele intertwined some of their own hits into the score. Mommy-to-be Marsha Ambrosius was enchanting as she sang her sensual slow jam, “Late Nights & Early Mornings.” Some audience members probably wouldn’t have minded if the musical turned into a concert. Certain dialogues piqued the crowd’s interest, but others fell flat, losing their attention. Following the show, Michele had a meet and greet with fans, graciously signing autographs and taking pics.
Love Jones The Musical probably won’t gain the popularity of its namesake, but it does well with stirring up nostalgia for Black love.
Photo gallery credit: Montez Miller except where noted