Darius Lovehall and Nina Mosely, played by Larenz Tate and Nia Long, respectively, thrilled audiences two decades ago in the classic Black film “Love Jones.”
The pair, whose chemistry enveloped viewers, were “relationship goals” for many — way before hashtags and Facebook memes.
The movie, written and directed by Theodore Witcher, followed the tale of two star-crossed amorous Chicagoans seeking to make sense of a complicated situation. There is no doubt they are indeed in love with one another, but their individual circumstances and past baggage threaten to leave them in a romantic purgatory of sorts. Nina, a photographer, is fresh out of a bad relationship and not at all interested in Darius’ pursuits … initially. Darius, a novelist, falls hard for Nina almost instantaneously and spares nothing in his attempt to win her over. Somewhere along the way, an ex or two pops up, things get messy and everyone gets pissed.
Since the movie is 20 years old, spoiler alert disclaimers are not necessary. Sorry. Nina and Darius kiss and make up in the end and, for all we know, live happily ever after.
Though rumors have been swirling for years on the possibility of a sequel, there doesn’t seem to be any definitive truth to that. Thankfully, fans of the film will have another opportunity to relive the magic through “Love Jones The Musical.”
The stage production, which debuted in Oklahoma City earlier this month, is coming to Indianapolis Oct. 9 at the Murat Theatre for two shows — a matinee at 3 p.m. and an evening performance at 9 p.m.
The musical features an all-star cast of some of R&B’s biggest names: Chrisette Michelle, Musiq Soulchild, Marsha Ambrosius, MC Lyte, Raheem Devaughn and Dave Hollister.
Grammy nominated singer/songwriter Devaughn, who plays Hollywood — originally played by comedian Bill Bellamy — told the Recorder that Love Jones’ staying power and relevance is a testament to the cultural significance of Black art as whole.
“The great music we put out, the great films that we’ve done — we set a precedent. When something breaks through, it breaks through forever, and it makes it historic and legendary.”
Melvin Childs, the play’s producer, said the idea to bring the legendary cinematic offering to the stage evolved from wanting to do something different than “the average gospel stage play.”
“The level of talent represented here makes this special,” he said. “We think we may be changing the game as far as Black theater is concerned, and I’m excited about that.”
Hidden Beach recording artist Angie Fisher, who plays Nina’s best friend Josie, said the Love Jones stage adaptation will be a unique treat for audiences. “The play itself is different from the movie,” she said. “The movie was excellent, and for me it was a masterpiece, but this is a musical and there are a lot of different aspects that have nothing to do with the film. Every time I talk to someone I tell them to take the movie out of your mind.”
Love Jones The Musical
Murat Theatre at Old National Centre
Oct. 9, 2016 — 3 p.m. or 9 p.m.
Ticket price: $50–$130 each
For more information, visit oldnationalcentre.com.
‘Love Jones’ Facts
It didn’t make much money in theaters, but critics loved it about as much as we did
Even though the film only grossed $12 million at the box office, the incredible story, slamming soundtrack —which earned the 16th spot on the Billboard Top 200 — and positive critical reception made it a classic.
Who is this Theodore Witcher?
Theodore, or Ted, Witcher was only 24 years old when he directed this iconic film. Still a young man in the game, Witcher was a security guard at a Chicago TV station and then a production assistant for the infamous “Jerry Springer Show” before he wrote and directed “Love Jones.”
What did “Love Jones” do for spoken word?
You may have noticed that after the film hit the scene, everybody and their momma thought they were a poet — and not just a poet, but a spoken word artist. Clubs across the country started featuring spoken word events. Russell Simmons even capitalized off the culture with his HBO series “Def Poetry.” While some would say this was a good thing, others argued that the movie brought this underground culture to the mainstream, thereby cheapening it.
Source: Madame Noire