Written by | Ray Cornelius 

Do Ya Wanna Funk?

Well, let’s just say we all did Saturday night during the Atlanta engagement of the off-Broadway hit musical, Mighty Real. The cabaret style show chronicles the life and times of the fabulous 70’s disco queen Sylvester James and played to a sold-out audience at Atlanta’s historic Variety Playhouse in Little Five Points.

Mighty Real  features the überly talented Anthony Wayne as Sylvester along with Jacqueline B. Arnold and Lenesha Randolph as Sylvester’s unforgettable background singers, Martha Wash and Izora Armstead aka Two Tons O’ Fun.


Anthony Wayne along with Jaqueline B. Arnold and Anastacia McCleskey

Photo Credit: FabulousSylvester.com

The 90-minute show takes fans on a musical journey through Sylvester’s life and features such high energy dance numbers as “Dance (Disco Heat),” “Do Ya Wanna Funk?,” “Can’t Stop Dancing,” and his anthem “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real).” There are also some show stopping moments including a medley of classic hits like “Could It Be Magic,” “A Song for You,” Patti LaBelle’s “You Are My Friend,” and Aretha Franklin’s “Ain’t No Way.”

The show is produced and directed by Wayne and his partner, noted fashion stylist, Kendrell Bowman along with Broadway’s original Dreamgirl, Sheryl Lee Ralph and her D.I.V.A Foundation. The two were inspired by Sylvester’s story on a 2011 episode of TV One’s Unsung  and immediately solicited Ralph for assistance. The show opened in 2014 to rave reviews and has traveled around the U.S. including stops in NYC, Washington D.C., Miami, and San Fransisco.

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TV and film actress, Terri J. Vaughn with friends after the show

Bowman announced during the curtain call that Atlanta was one of the final stops before the show was headed to Broadway in 2016 and that fashion icon, Andre Leon Talley, was onboard to design all of the show’s costumes.

Atlanta notables in attendance included Bravo TV star, Dwight Eubanks and TV/Film actress, Terri J. Vaughn. After the show, the cast stayed behind for a meet and greet and photo opportunities.

My friend, Emmy-winning NPR reporter, Rose Scott and I stayed around for a quick interview with Ralph, Bowman, and Wayne. Check out the 4-minute clip below along with more photos from the evening.

Click here to learn more about Mighty Real: A Fabulous Sylvester Musical.

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Sheryl Lee Ralph and Ed standing in front of Mighty Real booth

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Attendees could purchase the Mighty Real original soundtrack and memorabilia


Jaqueline B. Arnold and Anastacia McCleskey as “Two Tons O’ Fun”

Photo Credit: FabulousSylvester.com

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Bravo TV star Dwight Eubanks

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The cast stayed after the show for a meet and greet + photos

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“Die hard” fans of  Sheryl Lee Ralph also came out to support the show

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Terri J. Vaughn taking a photo with the cast

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Sheryl Lee Ralph and cast signing autographs

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WABE’s Rose Scott interviewing Terri J. Vaughn 

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Anthony Wayne along with Sheryl Lee Ralph and Kendrell Bowman in front of marquee

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Rose Scott interviewing Wayne, Ralph, and Bowman in front of Variety Playhouse

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Photo Credits: RayCornelius.com and FabulousSylvester.com