NEW McCREE THEATRE (Flint) & MILLENNIUM CENTRE (Sfld), 2009
The hit Broadway Ossie Davis play, “Purlie Victorious,” was adapted into a musical in the 1970’s and became a hit sequel to the original comedy. The New McCree Theatre in Flint, Michigan, hired Buku Productions’ Artistic Director, Reuben Yabuku, to commute North to direct the classic musical production of “Purlie,” for their patrons and with their area performers. The result was so explosive that Reuben decided to partner the New McCree Theatre and Buku Productions Theatre Company to co-produce this show for Buku’s Detroit area patrons.
The Flint audiences packed into the New McCree Theatre to see this funny and highly entertaining musical. The sold-out crowds were extremely energized and excited by the superb cast of performers and the singing by all eight lead singers (Johnnie Person, Jon’Tise Samuels, Gwen Hemphill, Tezell Morris, Cliff Thurlow, Billie Scott-Lindo, Travis Thurlow, and Terence Grundy), the background vocal support by a marvelous trio of pit singers and an outstanding live band led by Music Director, Richard Battle.
PURLIE: JOHNNIE PERSON AS PURLIE ON FOX 2 DETROIT
PURLIE: JON’TISE SAMUELS AS LUTIEBELLE ON PLANE IDEAS
Purlie Victorious Judson is a man who fled the South during the Jim Crow era, because he wasn’t good at “staying in his place.” The play opens with Purlie returning home with a scheme to swindle Ol’ Cap’n Cotchipee out of $500; the amount of the inheritance he feels Ol’ Cap’n stole from his family. However, the plantation owner may not be as easy to persuade as Purlie thought; not when it comes to parting with Ol’ Cap’n’s first love: money. The fun really heats up as Purlie and Ol’ Cap’n, both as stubborn as can be, match wits.