Hollywood veterans are taking their talents from the silver screen to theaters across the country. LisaRaye McCoy, Clifton Powell and Carl Payne joins JeCaryous Johnson‘s side-splitting stage production, Married But Single, alongside songbird Chrisette Michele, Terrell Carter and others, in a story about love, friendships and everything in between.
With a plot and storyline that runs true; friendships, father and son reconciliation, relationships on the brink of disaster and more, Married but Single has something for everyone.
Pushing the envelope with yet another provocative storyline that puts male and female relationships front and center in riveting, intimate way, Johnson, who wrote, directed and produced the limited engagement, spoke about the production in a press release:
“We are a truly special, unique and diverse group of people who love hard and pursue relationships in such a passionately driven way. With that said, that same passion and love sometimes drive us to be at odds with the very people who are the most important to us; especially when we feel like that love is being threatened or compromised in any way. My goal is to help my audiences see how to fight, but with the power of love and not divisiveness or destruction. It is with that thinking, that I am constantly working through my shows to explore love and uncover varying degrees of relationships between the sexes.”
The Source caught up with the stars during their Chicago stop as the trio dished on the play, their careers, biggest misconceptions about them and more.
What made you take on this play?
LisaRaye: I sat down with JeCaryous a couple of months ago and he said he wanted to work with me for awhile. I heard about his reputation, and the many plays and success he’s had. And I haven’t been on the road doing a play- its a different type of run for me, much different from TV by how you connect to your audience in a different way. I didn’t even know what the play was going to be about I just agreed to do it based on who he is and how I felt about his spirit and work ethic.
Clifton: I came on late, I worked with JeCaryous a few years ago. We’re all like family.
Carl: Like distant cousins…
Clifton: It’s fabulous, funny and poignant and I’m happy to be on board!
Carl: I worked with JeCaryous before and I have fun everytime I do one of his plays. He’s one of the best playwrights in this game, in that genre, that I’ve worked with. And that’s important when It comes to choosing material, plus the people who he said he was interested in. He’s open to our opinions and that matters, when you’re working with people you’ve never worked before. One thing I’ve learned, is that it’s not what you say about you , it’s what others say about you that defines you.
Clifton: We’ve all been on plays where the cast didn’t necessarily get along, but this cast is all givers and it’s a lot of actors who can’t mesh.
Carl: I try to bring a level of play to play, so I always try it make it fun in everything I do. And doing so many episodes of Martin, that’s what we did, we honestly had fun.
Touring with a stage production isn’t easy. The three veterans dished on what they learned about themselves while on the road:
LisaRaye: For me, it was the dialogue because looking through the script I had a lot to say and it made me nervous. Because I come from TV, asking “What’s the line?!” then being able to shoot just to get the line. But this is action, take one, all the way through. But I conquered my fear.
Carl: I was reminded that theater was my first love, it was the first thing I did before anything else. It was my first introduction to acting thing was theater, I grew up on it. As a kid, all I wanted to do was make it to Broadway. I was just reminded of how much I love live theater. The interesting thing is this [play] is steak compared to spam that people has been getting. They’re used to the bullsh*t plays that be out there, so when you give them some substance, it’s like, “Oooh!”
Powell, who has graced more than fifty movie and television bills, talked about his characters he played:
Clifton: I play more good guys than bad guys. I’ve done a lot of TV, where I was a father, played Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and police officers.
I don’t think it’s a better character to play in life than Dr. King. It was an honor to do that and capture the essence of him. His daughter was on set and gave me a big hug and told me I really captured the essence of her father. You know everyone can do the speeches but to capture the gentleness he had is different. Ray was incredible, Pinky (Next Friday) was funny.
We all fell in love with Carl Payne on the fan favorite, Martin, series that kept us laughing for five years. We asked if he had a favorite episode:
I don’t even know, I don’t have a favorite. But I did enjoy working with the people I grew up watching on TV; like when we did the Love Boat episode, I used to love that show! So to have Issac and Doc, it was like, “Yo, this is my childhood I’m working with!” in addition to Richard Pryor, people who I was a fan of. Working with Biggie, Snoop Dogg, Jodeci– we had so many guest stars and that was unexpected for me. Even Jackie Chan stopped through one day.
Do you still talk to your costars?
Most of them.
Clifton: Remember Homeboys in Outer Space (1996-1997?) (laughs)
Carl: You see this is where you make need to choices! (laughs)
What’s the biggest misconception about you?
LisaRaye: That I’m a gold-digger because I date men who are successful and have money and power. Gold digging- I did that in high school, I’m platinum status now! (laughs) But I come from a successful family, I come from a wealthy family in Chicago so I wasn’t the average person who came to LA and waited tables and had to wait my turn, that was not my story.
Yes, I do date men that are successful because I’m successful, and I want us to be that much more successful together because I want to build with someone. So I do want someone who brings something to the table. When we have a list of what we what our man to be I always ask well what do you have to bring? And I know what I bring.
Clifton: There’s a lot of haters who don’t do there research. I met a girl in Atlanta and her girlfriend said I left her at a restaurant and walked out I said ‘Yeah,’ but she didn’t tell her girlfriend that she told me she was a drug dealer. I can’t be around a drug dealer, because I have too much to lose. So when people tell a story, they don’t tell the whole story, oftentimes throwing you under the bus.
I think it would be nice [if people realized] that entertainers are human and there’s a lot of things people say about us that we can’t always defend. So people buy things at face value without research. I’ve had to learn how to take it on the chin and own up to the things that I have done, but it’s real difficult being in the limelight.
How do you deal with haters?
Clifton: I don’t deal with haters, I pray about it and keep it moving, whether friends or family. Because part of it is people who want to see you fail or have something negative to talk about. I think in this social media age things are a little out of control.
Carl: I don’t know because I ignore it so much. When I was younger it was different, but as I get older [it changed.] I’m writing a book called Zero F*cks — the less fucks you give increases your quality of life!
JeCaryous Johnsons’ Married But Single stage play concludes it’s nationwide tour in Columbus, Ohio, Detroit and Brooklyn in May.
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