Saturday, June 24, 2017

2017 Interview with BeBe Winans

Benjamin, "BeBe" Winans, six-time Grammy Award winner, is the seventh child and youngest male of the the Detroit based first family of gospel music. BeBe is known as an inspirational, R&B, and popular vocalist, songwriter, and producer as well as an Executive Music Producer for the OWN Network’s latest scripted series, “Greenleaf”; host of his own radio show on the Heart & Soul Channel (68) on Sirius/XM Radio Networks on Sunday Mornings (9am ET/7am PT); renowned as the breakthrough artist to bridge the language of his roots in the church with a chart-topping, Award-winning career spanning audiences universally throughout all genres; author; Actor in motion pictures including friend Denzel Washington’s,‘The Manchurian Candidate’; and star of productions like Broadway’s Oprah Winfrey Presents The Color Purple with Chaka Khan amongst his credits. Teaming with his younger sister, Priscilla “CeCe”, the duo first began crossing lines as “adopted children” of Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker on the PTL television show. Their first tour, on which Whitney Houston proclaimed herself their “sister” and sang background for the siblings, set the tone for a very special career. 

For an artist with his message and core based in the church and its word, BeBe Winans has faced an exciting and unique career which in 2017, comes to life as a musical of his life, co-written and Directed by Motown:The Musical Director, Charles Randolph-Wright with book, music and lyrics by BeBe -- Born For This: The BeBe Winans Story. It will open at the Broad Stage in Santa Monica July 11. Born For This:The BeBe Winans Story is populated with original music and Winans’ family hits. CeCe is played by niece, Deborah Joy Winans, who is currently filming "Greenleaf," the OWN Original TV series. Nephew, Juan Winans, portrays BeBe. BeBe sat down during his busy schedule and talked briefly with us about the show and his illustrious career.

Talk about PTL and how it changed the lives of both you and CeCe.  

PTL was the place where CeCe and I became independent…far away from our family, friends and what we knew as security. And where we became a duet.

This inspired the musical Born For This. How long did it take to write the musical? How long did it take to finally get it produced? 

Born for This has been a ten year journey and honestly it's still being written. Or should I say still evolving.

It really is a family celebration, as your niece and nephew are playing you and CeCe in the show. How did this decision come about?  

Well, my niece Deborah Joy was always destined to be an actress from birth and we fueled her passion. And after she graduated with her degree in theater it happened to be the same time Charles (Randolph-Wright) and I started building a cast for discovering this piece, a perfect storm and then Juan came a little later in the process.

Is the Broad the very first public presentation of the show? Are you planning a tour with the hope of ending up on Broadway?  

The Broad is the third presenting house. We opened in 2016 in Atlanta first at the Alliance and then in D.C. At the Arena Stage. As we march to Broadway!!!!

I love the universality of 'never giving up' and young people today really need this kind of inspiration. How do you feel about the changes in music over the years? Are you happy with new music today or do you look to the past to your gospel roots to get that good musical feeling?  

It is in so important to me to always encourage young artists to dream God's dream for their lives and although the styles have changed the messages are still most important.

Talk about Metro World Child and your involvement in it. 

Metro Child is an awesome organization that brings hope to children who are often forgotten. So I'm proud to shine the spotlight on them.

What:        Born for This

Where:        The Eli & Edythe Broad Stage
                     1310 11th St. Santa Monica. Limited free parking is available.
When:        July 11 – August 6, 2017
                      Press Opening: July 20 at 7:30pm
                      Tuesday – Friday at 7:30pm;
Saturday – Sunday at 2:00pm and 7:30pm

Phone:       Patron Services at 310.434.3200

In Person: Box office at 1310 11th St. Santa Monica, beginning three hours prior to performance.

(production photo credit: Greg Mooney)

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