‘Love Jones: The Musical’ Reimagines A ’90s Classic For R&B Lovers [REVIEW]
Baltimore caught a 'love jones' as Love Jones: The Musical landed at Morgan State University's Murphy Fine Arts Center last weekend.
Based off of the 1997 classic film, Love Jones, the musical follows Darius Lovehall and Nina Mosley as they navigate through their feelings for each other to discover whether or not they're just "kickin' it" or if they want their spark to evolve into a fire.
Similar to the film, the musical's cast finds themselves at an open mic night in the Chicago nightclub, Sanctuary. But as MC Lyte shared with the audience ahead of the show, there's no "dialogue or poetry" from the 1997 film in the musical. Although the musical shares the same name, similar characters and the general storyline of Love Jones, Lyte made a distinction for the packed house at the HBCU venue.
"This is Loves Jones: The Musical...not to be confused with Love Jones, the movie," she emphasized.
The disclaimer was a good move since otherwise the musical may have left fans of the original film anticipating classic scenes and dialogue to only be left with disappointment. Instead, the audience was able to settle in and see where this rendition of Love Jones would take us.
For many, Love Jones is a 90s favorite with memorable poetry. But what the musical -- emphasis on musical -- forwent in poetry, it made up for with an abundance of R&B music from its star-studded cast.
Chrisette Michele, Raheem DeVaughn, MC Lyte, Marsha Ambrosius, Musiq Soulchild, Dave Hollister, Angie Fisher and more all pick up the mic at one point or another to provide some smooth vibes from their personal repertoire. Not to mention, Tony Grant, Terrell Carter, Kamilah Barrett, Jamecia Bennett, Jackie Michaels and Chaz Shepherd also star in the Zadia Ife-directed musical. It was truly an R&B lover's dream.
As we mentioned before, Love Jones hit the theaters in 1997 thus approaching its 20th anniversary in March 2017. And it seems that the musical adapted to reflect the film's current audience. While the film is centered around 20-somethings, played by Nia Long and Larenz Tate, the musical is certainly more for the grown folks as Chrisette Michele and Tony Grant take on the roles of Nina and Darius, respectively.
But with age, comes experience. And the R&B veterans certainly brought forth something special in the two hour and fifteen minute musical including the ability to adapt to malfunctions while onstage.
Just like the relationship in Love Jones, the musical had a few hiccups -- namely the microphone being cut off in at least two or three times different instances. But, the star-studded cast were able to adapt at moment's notice -- and even worked it into their performance to craft a hilarious and genuine moment. At one point, Michele's Nina gives a grand speech to her soon-to-be ex-fiance, Marvin, but unfortunately the microphone cut out. "You just gave a whole damn speech I didn't hear at all," he said. "That's because my microphone is in my breasts," she quipped back.
Overall, Love Jones: The Musical is funny, romantic show with a lot of heart that successfully reimagines the 1997 film for a live audience. It still manages have a few of the classic scenes too (They weren't really going to go without that rain scene.) And although it strays from the original film, at it's crux, it holds on to what's most important: black love.
Check out the trailer above and get ticket information here.