Principal Casting Announced For New England Premiere Of BORN FOR THIS - A NEW MUSICAL
ArtsEmerson today announced the principal cast and full creative team for the New England Premiere of Born for This - A New Musical, which plays a limited summer engagement at Boston's Emerson Cutler Majestic Theatre from June 15-July 15, 2018.
Principal cast of Born For This will feature Donald Webber Jr. as BeBe Winans, Loren Lott as Cece Winans, Kirsten Wyatt as Tammy Faye Bakker, Chaz Pofahl as Jim Bakker, Nita Whitaker as Mom Winans, and Milton Craig Nealy as Pop Winans.
From six-time GRAMMY Award-winning icon BeBe Winans and led by director Charles Randolph-Wright (Motown the Musical), Born For This celebrates the incredible true story of BeBe Winans - a young man who follows his heart and finds his destiny.
Rounding out the creative team for Born For This are award-winning choreographer Warren Adams, scenic designer Neil Patel, costume designer William Ivey Long, lighting designer Jason Lyons, sound designer Jon Weston, and projections designer John Narun.
Starting at just $18, tickets for Born For This are now on sale, available online at www.ArtsEmerson.org, by phone at 617.824.8400, or in person at the ArtsEmerson Box Office (located at the Emerson Paramount Center, 559 Washington St, Downtown Boston). Student, senior, group and package discounts are also available.
Detroit teenagers Bebe and Cece Winans experience the ultimate in culture shock when they leave the comfort and safety of their family (the already-famous Winans musical dynasty) to join Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker's Praise The Lord Network in Pineville, North Carolina. Jim and Tammy become an unlikely surrogate family as the siblings rapidly become the hottest stars in televangelical America. Eventually crossing over to mainstream fame, Bebe must learn to reconcile the temptations of stardom and fortune with the things he ultimately values more.
Born For This brings the legendary artist's story to life with acclaimed new music and lyrics by BeBe Winans that will have audiences on their feet. A wildly funny yet deeply emotional journey toward self-discovery, Born For This is the family-friendly and universal story for anyone who has ever yearned for something - for anyone who is looking to find their purpose in life.
ArtsEmerson is Boston's leading presenter of contemporary world theatre. It is dedicated to engaging all communities through stories that reveal and deepen connections to each other. By cultivating diversity in the art and in the audience, ArtsEmerson ignites public conversation around the most vexing societal challenges as a catalyst for overcoming them. ArtsEmerson is committed to welcoming everyone into its landmark venues, located in Boston's downtown Theatre District, for a diverse program of contemporary theatre, film, and music from around the city and around the world. In addition, ArtsEmerson engages in a range of community partnerships and produces a series of initiatives that make visible the rich diversity of cultural activity in the region. These programs are core to ArtsEmerson's mission and expresses commitment to civic responsibility to create a more cohesive society. ArtsEmerson is led by Artistic Director, David Dower and Executive Director, David Howse. For more information, visit ArtsEmerson.org.
About Emerson College
Based in Boston, Massachusetts, opposite the historic Boston Common and in the heart of the city's Theatre District, Emerson College educates individuals who will solve problems and change the world through engaged leadership in communication and the arts, a mission informed by liberal learning. The College has 3,780 undergraduates and 670 graduate students from across the United States and 50 countries. Supported by state-of-the-art facilities and a renowned faculty, students participate in more than 90 student organizations and performance groups. Emerson is known for its experiential learning programs in Los Angeles, Washington, DC, the Netherlands, London, China, and the Czech Republic. The College has an active network of 39,000 alumni who hold leadership positions in communication and the arts. For more information, visit Emerson.edu.
Donald Webber Jr. (BeBe Winans) Raised in a family of artists whose accomplishments range from church choir director to platinum recording artists. His father developed his career under the care of gospel greats like James Cleveland, and alongside Rodena and Billy Preston wrote and played on countless memorable gospel albums. His uncle Melvin Gentry is a multi-platinum, with multiple Billboard Top 100 number 1 hit, lead singer of the 80s hit-making group Midnight Star. Donald has begun making a name for himself in NYC appearing in the title role of Alexander Hamilton on Broadway every weekend in HAMILTON: AN AMERICAN MUSICAL. Original Broadway Cast: MOTOWN the Musical, HOLLER IF YA HEAR ME, WHORL INSIDE A LOOP (Off Broadway). TV: American Idol, The Wiz Live! on NBC. Twitter/Instagram: @donaldwebber.
Loren Lott (Cece Winans) Clark Atlanta BA Mass Media Arts. 2015 American Idol Top 16. TV/Film: Tales, The Quad, Greenleaf, The Game, Fatal Attraction, TAG, etc. Theatre: Once On This Island (Timoune/Andrea/Asaka partial swing on Broadway) Motown the Musical (Diana Ross u/s, Gladys, Esther) National Tour and Broadway, Ragtime (Sarah) regional, Once on this Island (Erzulie) regional, Shrek the Musical (Fiona u/s) regional, etc. @LorenSharice
Milton Craig Nealy (Pop Winans) Originated the role of Pop Winans at the Alliance Theater and LA's Broad Stage. Broadway credits include Pop Gordy in MOTOWN: THE MUSICAL, CAROLINE OR CHANGE, John in MISS SAIGON (also London and Australian productions), 4 Eyed Moe in FIVE GUYS NAMED MOE, AIN'T MISBEHAVIN' (Revival cast), Agwe in ONCE ON THIS ISLAND, and DREAMGIRLS (Original and Revival casts). National Tour credits include Horse in THE FULL MONTY (also the Australian Cast), Marty in the 2010 Tour of DREAMGIRLS, and Judas in The 20th Anniversary Tour of JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR at The Muny and returned in 2012 for DREAMGIRLS, where he played the role of Jimmy Early with Jennifer Holiday. Television and Film credits include "Person of Interest" and THE BLUES BROTHERS.
Chaz Pofahl (Jim Bakker) hails from Charlotte, where he moved during the most turbulent years of Jim and Tammy Faye's PTL ministry. Some of his favorite Charlotte credits include Coraline, Journey to Oz, Seussical, And Then They Came for Me, The Borrowers, Macbeth and The Secret Garden (Children's Theatre of Charlotte); Bat Boy and Dream a Little Dream (Actor's Theatre of Charlotte); Love's Labour's Lost, The Tempest, Much Ado About Nothing and Julius Caesar (Charlotte Shakespeare Festival); La Ronde and A Woman of No Importance, and The Sherlock Project (PaperHouse Theatre); Floyd Collins (Carolina Actors Studio Theatre); and Rent (Theatre Charlotte). Additional regional credits include Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (Center for Puppetry Arts); Dracula: The Rock Opera (7 Stages); Avenue Q and Fiddler on the Roof (Cape Fear Regional Theatre); and The Music Man, Joseph...Dreamcoat and A Christmas Carol (Temple Theatre); and Born For This(ALLIANCE THEATRE and Arena Stage).
Nita Whitaker (Mom Winans)'s theater credits include Ragtime, The Ten Commandments and New Brain (Los Angeles), Me & Mrs. Jones (Philadelphia) and Breaking Through (Pasadena Playhouse). TV/film credits include The Winner Is, The Hour of Power, The Bodyguard and Lush Life. After competing for Miss America, Nita was the Star Search grand champion and later toured internationally singing duets with Andrea Bocelli. She sang the original demos of several Whitney Houston standards with David Foster. Nita is also an award-winning author and CEO of a non-profit that presents books and reading fundamentals to children (www.inaworldwithbooks.org). Love to daughters Liisi and Skye LaFontaine and husband Scott Perkins. www.nitawhitaker.com
Kirsten Wyatt (Tammy Faye Bakker) Broadway credits include Annie, A Christmas Story The Musical, Elf, Shrek, Grease, High Fidelity, The Pajama Game, Urinetown and You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown. Favorite regional credits include Sally Bowles in Cabaret, Agnes Gooch in Mame (Connecticut Critics Circle Award), Charity in Sweet Charity, Miss Adelaide in Guys and Dolls, Rona Lisa Peretti in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Tessie Tura in Gypsy, Paulette in Legally Blonde and Ellie Mae Chipley in Show Boat with the San Francisco Opera. TV credits include Blue Bloods, The Naked Brothers Band, As the World Turns and All My Children. She is a proud member of Actors' Equity Association and graduate of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. Love to Sean, husband of 14 years. Twitter: @KirstenWyatt.