Written by | Ray Cornelius
In 1991, former original “Dreamgirls” star, Charles Randolph Wright choreographed a television special for brother and sister gospel duo, BeBe and CeCe Winans as a favor for his friend and actress, Chip Fields. Twenty-five years later, Wright is reuniting with Winans as the writer and director of his new musical, “Born For This: The BeBe Winans Story” for Atlanta’s Alliance Theatre.
The two friends discussed their new collaboration on Tuesday evening as part of a Behind-The-Scenes Experience. They were also joined by the show’s musical director and Stellar Award winner, Donald Lawrence as well as the show’s choreographer, Warren Adams and assistant choreographer, Brian Harlan Brooks.
Director and writer Charles Randolph-Wright talking about “Born For This”
“Born for This” is a new musical that follows Detroit natives BeBe and CeCe Winans as they experience the ultimate in culture shocks when invited to join Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker’s Praise The Lord Network television show. The Winans teenagers become not only television celebrities, they also become like adopted children of the Bakkers, integrating TV evangelism in Pineville, North Carolina. As BeBe and CeCe encounter fame, fortune, and even a young Whitney Houston, BeBe must learn to balance his desire for success with his true calling. The show stars the next generation of Winans singers – Juan and Deborah Joy Winans as BeBe and CeCe, Kirstin Wyatt as Tammy Faye Bakker, Chaz Pofahl as Jim Bakker and Kiandra Richardson as Whitney Houston.
Wright, who most recently directed Berry Gordy’s Broadway hit “Motown: The Musical,” confessed to attendees that this musical has totally exceeded his expectations.
Charles Randolph-Wright with Warren Adams
“The greatest thing for me is that when I look around and see five Black men who are guiding this piece and taking this journey. This does not happen! You do not see this, especially in the higher world of theatre. To have the actors look at us and breakdown into tears is incredible. We went through this on ‘Motown’ but to have this and with such amazing energy. This is greater than I’ve imagine and I dream big!”
Wright went on to further explain that he knew he had to premiere “Born For This” in the South and at the Alliance Theatre. The company has built a reputation within the industry for successfully launching great musicals including “Elton John and Tim Rice’s Aida” and “The Color Purple – The Musical” and most recently “Bring It On – The Musical.”
BeBe Winans discussing how faith is the driving force behind the show
Winans is also overjoyed with the production and credits “faith” as the driving force behind his passion project. “I told Mike and the Alliance that ‘I don’t have no money but I got faith’ and that is what’s going to make it happen. As we have taken this journey, through faith, God has already started multiplying.”
After the discussion, Winans gave an impromptu performance of the show’s title song, “Born For This” and then we were taken to a tech rehearsal in the Alliance Theatre space. Unfortunately, I was not permitted to take pics of the stage or the actors but trust me when I tell you this show is going to be a hit. It is definitely Broadway bound!
Check out more photos below and click here to purchase your tickets!
Alliance Theatre’s General Manager – Mike Schleifer
Donald Lawrence explaining how he got involved with the show
Warren Adams is an award-winning South African choreographer
“Born For This” rehearsal space is filled with images of the Winans Family,
Whitney Houston and Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker
BeBe Winans and Donald Lawrence sharing a laugh
BeBe Winans singing “Born For This”
“Born For This” stars Deborah Joy Winans and Juan Winans as BeBe and CeCe
Photo Credits: RayCornelius.com and AllianceTheatre