A modern twist on the 1997 classic Black film “Love Jones” hits the stage tonight at Baltimore’s Murphy Fine Arts Center. Nearly 20 years after people first fell in love with the film, the movie is being adapted into a musical play with a fresh mix of both ‘90s and modern music. The show features an all-star cast including Chrisette Michelle as Nina Mosely, Tony Grant as Darius Lovehall, and some fan favorites like MC Lyte, Musiq SoulChild, Marsha Ambrosius, Raheem DeVaughn and Dave Hollister.
MC Lyte and Raheem DeVaughn (Photos Courtesy lovejonesthemusical.com)
This Black post-college romance followed poet Darius Lovehall and photographer Nina Mosely as they navigated the ups and downs of their relationship. This timeless film grew a cult-like fandom because of its realistic characters and positive portrayal of Black love.
“It was a very meaningful love story for our generation. People like a good love story,” hip-hop icon MC Lyte told the AFRO exclusively.
Singer and co-star Raheem DeVaughn also sees why “Love Jones” is still loved today. “‘Love Jones’ is an influential Black film community-wise I think that’s what makes it stand out. The fact that it was something positive… a light at the end of the tunnel,” DeVaughn added. “It captured love and relationships and spoken word. It maintained a consciousness throughout the film and I think that resonated.”
This idea still sticks with many today, and producer Melvin Childs puts a modern and funky twist on a classic. While the plot remains the same, Love Jones: The Musical will feature additional characters, a cast, and an all new soundtrack that he co-produced with MC Lyte. The 10-track soundtrack will showcase original songs from the star-studded cast, and will be available for purchase after each show and online.
“I want them to just be entertained,” MC Lyte said of the hoped-for impact on the audience. She added, “They can certainly learn a few things about love and relationships and communication.”
DeVaughn is determined to put on a great show as well. “It’s modernized in a cool way. There’s definitely a lot of funny moments,” he said. “We want people to laugh, people to cry. We want people to look insides themselves and find themselves in one of these characters and to be entertained at the same time.”
While the musical is entertaining, DeVaughn also appreciates the message the play is showing the audience. “The world is so chaotic right now. Love is something that is very important, and we’re in a generation where Black women and Black men can be shamed by one another,” said DeVaughn. “We tend to allow social media to dictate the culture and how we communicate with one another. That sense of being human, the reciprocation of love and understanding what it is that we’re put here to do and how we have to do a better job of taking care of another, it’s so important for that to be conveyed not only through Black theater but through music as well.”
Love Jones: The Musical will be playing at the Murphy Fine Arts Center at Morgan State University all weekend from Sept. 23-25. Tickets can be purchased on Ticketmaster’s website.
“Come be prepared to have a good time,” MC Lyte invited, “and we look forward to coming in to the city. We’re going to have some fun.”