Sweetest Day’s final weekend in Detroit was filled with giveaways, love and drama as the public came out to see the It’s a two-player game play. Held at the historic Music Hall, the Je’Caryous Johnson production is based on the eponymous film, which is a classic in the black community. As with his past productions, Johnson’s latest masterpiece features a dynamic package. Vivica A. Fox reprized her role as relationship guru Shanté Smith and Columbus Short plays her man Keith Fenton. They are joined by Porsha Williams, Gary Dourdan, Carl Payne, RonReaco Lee, Brely Evans and Vivian Green.
True to the film’s original plot, Shanté has mastered the art of managing her man. His relationship with Keith is the envy of him, until he’s drawn to his colleague and Shanté’s nemesis, Conny (Porsha Williams). Williams, who extended her Real Housewives of Atlanta fame well beyond 15 minutes, delivers an impressive performance. It is difficult to say that she is relatively new to plays.
Short, who recently starred in True to the game, flexes his charm while keeping his character’s man card intact. As a handsome and successful Keith, he tries to stay humble, but he quickly flips the script to match Shanté’s manipulative moves. His silly but supportive pals Tony (Payne) and Dwain (Lee) round him out with their hilarious mansplaining.
Always stunning, Fox conveys the beauty and poise she is known to embody. But when it’s needed, his grimy side comes out. Flanked by her daughters, Diedre (Evans) and Karen (Green), she holds court like a queen. Her ability to win over audiences and her co-stars proves why she has a loyal following. A unique talent in his own right, Evans steals many scenes with his vibrant and raunchy display. You will literally laugh out loud co-signing his shenanigans.
At the other end of the spectrum is Karen (Green), naive but determined. Green, who is even newer on stage than Williams, enchants with her robust and sensual voice. His signature ballads, “Emotional Rollercoaster” and “Gotta Go Gotta Leave,” are the perfect soundscape for his issues with Dwain.
When Bill (Dourdan) dives into the picture, his commanding presence and gentle arrogance challenge Keith to up his game. Coupled with interference from their friends, Shanté and Keith’s relationship soon resembles war, more than to love.
Keeping the formula of unfiltered dialogue and adult folk humor, fans of the film will feel this adaptation. He creates his own path with unexpected twists and musical interludes by Towanda Braxton. It’s a two-player game is expected to hit several cities including Los Angeles, Atlanta, Orlando and DC.
Stay tuned for deployment of exclusive interview with writer, director and producer Je’Caryous Johnson.