All posts by LaRita Shelby

LaRita "Jazzy Rita" Shelby is a broadcast media & marketing professional. She serves as V.P. of Marketing and Special Programming at EURweb.com. Additionally she is an actress, singer/songwriter who has appeared on TV and in film.
Edna Anderson-Owens

Motown’s Edna Anderson-Owens Remembered

Motown's Edna Anderson-Owens remembered (August 5, 1938- June 13, 2015)

Motown’s Edna Anderson-Owens remembered (Aug. 5, 1938- June 13, 2015)

*The Electronic Urban Report at EURweb notes the passing of Motown’s Edna Vernelle Anderson-Owens, who quietly parted this life on Saturday, June 13th  2015 in Los Angeles.

The dazzling Mrs. Anderson-Owens started at Motown in 1970 in the Publicity and Community Relations department, and then advanced to being Berry Gordy’s assistant; a position that she retained for 45 stellar years.  Edna’s astute business savvy and civic responsibility was such an asset to Mr. Gordy that she became his close confidante and Co-CEO/Co-Chairman of TGC Management, LLC (a Gordy owned, intellectual property company).

Edna was born in Bluefield, West Virginia on August 5, 1938 to Amanda H. and John Douglas Anderson. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration at Wilberforce University/ Central State College, an HBCU that is now Central State University in Xenia, Ohio.

Motown founder Berry Gordy and the late Edna Anderson-Owens, Co-CEO/Co-Chairman of TGC Management, LLC

Motown founder Berry Gordy and the late Edna Anderson-Owens, a long time assistant to Mr. Gordy and Co-CEO/Co-Chairman of TGC Management, LLC.

At Motown, Edna held many titles while moving up the ranks and she consistently held the Motown vision at heart, which was to make music for all people.  She and Berry Gordy remained close up to the time of her passing.

Charles Randolph Wright, director of Berry Gordy’s musical story of Motown, said it best: “The only light in this darkness right now is that Edna shines brightly eight times a week in Motown the Musical.”

Yes, Edna’s soulful, dynamic and loving presence has been artistically captivated in Motown The Musical; a portrayal that Edna had the great fortune of witnessing many times as Mr. Gordy’s version of the Motown story finally made it’s way to the stage on his terms, revealing some of his most valuable players behind the scenes.  Edna was certainly a MVP and an irreplaceable part of Motown’s history .

In 2000, Edna was appointed by Governor Gray Davis to the board of the California Science Center in Los Angeles for two consecutive terms, serving as Chairman of the Board in 2006 and 2007.  Near the end of her term in 2009, she was again appointed to the board by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and she was recently appointed by Governor Jerry Brown to serve another four-year term.

Edna Anderson-Owens is survived by her husband Curtis Owens & son, as well as a host of loving friends, family and entertainment industry associates.

Services will be held privately.  In lieu of flowers, donations (tax deductible) may be made to either of the following non-profit organizations in honor of Edna Anderson-Owens:

Sabriya’s Castle of Fun Foundation
Att: Steve Brown
3800 South Crenshaw Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90008

Debbie Allen Dance Academy
3791 Santa Rosalia Dr. Los Angeles, CA 90008

larita shelby

St. Croix Presents Work by EURweb’s LaRita Shelby

The 2nd production of Dictation, from the writings of LaRita Shelby is presented this month in St. Croix at CCT.  Directed by Xiomara Sanchez & Eileen Des Jardins. www.CCT.VI

The 2nd production of Dictation, from the writings of LaRita Shelby is presented this month in St. Croix at CCT. Directed by Xiomara Sanchez & Eileen Bishop Des Jardins. www.CCT.VI

*EURweb’s  LaRita Shelby visited the Caribbean Community Theatre of St. Croix (CCT) this past weekend for the 2nd production based on her book Dictation: Plays, Poems & Monologues.

The June 2015 presentation was co-directed by Xiomara Sanchez (front row 2nd from left) and Eileen Bishop Des Jardins, Managing Producer of CCT (front row 2nd from right).

Also pictured on the front row:  Tony Emanuel far left and Antonio Cruz (far right).  2nd row: Sylvia Smith Brady, Clara Killy and Jada Jackson.  Top row: Ryan Burton, Curtis Walters, Kim Jerome, Marlene Whitney and Michael Baker.

Michael Baker and Sylvia Smith Brady in Dictation by LaRita Shelby at CCT 2015 directed by X. Sanches and E. Bishop Des Jardins

Michael Baker and Sylvia Smith Brady in Dictation by LaRita Shelby at CCT 2015 directed by Xiomara Sanchez and Eileen Bishop Des Jardins

The multi-cultural cast has roots in New York, Tennessee, California, Pennsylvania, Kansas City, Puerto Rico and the island of St. Croix. Under the direction of Mrs. Des Jardins and Ms. Sanchez, the talented actors tackled scenarios dealing with humorous and dramatic interpretations of life, love & relationships in skits such as My Thigh Moved, I Left Generations Sitting On The Stoop, Real Marriage Vows, Hook A Brother Up and She Wanted Me To Miss The Game!

Kim Jerome performs My Thigh Moved from Dictation by LaRita Shelby at CCT 2015 directed by X. Sanchez & E. Bishop Des Jardins

Kim Jerome performs My Thigh Moved from Dictation by LaRita Shelby at CCT 2015 directed by Xiomara Sanchez & Eileen Bishop Des Jardins.

“Dictation” was written as a collection of practice and performance pieces for actors, as well as directors to dive in and create their own incarnations of Shelby’s words.  The CCT has done just that, they even peppered several pieces with the Cruxian dialect, much to the delight of the audience.   Saskia Corke, Charles Jaquays  & Jamille Smith round out the dedicated crew, as well as a host of generous sponsors.  Special thanks to David Hayes, The National Endowment of the Arts and the Virgin Islands Council on the Arts.  For more on the Caribbean Community Theatre of St. Croix and all future performances and productions, go to www.CCT.VI.  To order Dictation: Plays, Poems & Monologues go to www.LaRitaShelby.com.

Danielle Brooks

Purple is the New Black!

Danielle Brooks (Taystee from Netflix' Orange)

Danielle Brooks (Taystee from Netflix’ ‘Orange Is The New Black’) joins cast of new production of Broadway’s ‘The Color Purple.’

*DANIELLE BROOKS, who plays ‘Taystee’ on the hit TV show, Orange is the New Black, will make her Broadway debut as ‘Sofia’ in the upcoming Broadway musical revival of THE COLOR PURPLE.  A graduate of the Juilliard School, Ms. Brooks joins the previously announced JENNIFER HUDSON and CYNTHIA ERIVO in the critically acclaimed staging from London’s Menier Chocolate Factory.

All three women will be making their Broadway debuts with this production.

Directed by Tony Award winner John Doyle, THE COLOR PURPLE will begin preview performances on Monday, November 9th at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre (242 West 45th street) and will officially open on Thursday, December 10th 2015.   THE COLOR PURPLE is produced by Scott Sanders, Roy Furman, Oprah Winfrey, David Babani, and Tom Siracusa.

A Young Hollywood Award Winner, DANIELLE BROOKS stars as “Tasha ‘Taystee’ Jefferson” in Jenji Kohan’s Orange is the New Black, a Netflix original series that follows the lives of prisoners in an all-women’s correctional facility.  Orange is the New Black will return for its third season on June 12th, 2015.  Brooks was born and raised in South Carolina before heading to NYC to attend Juilliard’s drama program.  Brooks’ other credits include the Sony/Rovio animated feature, Angry Birds, alongside Maya Rudolph and Josh Gad; HBO’s Girls; the indie feature film I Dream Too Much, executive produced by Richard Linklater (SXSW); and Time Out of Mind, written and directed by Oren Moverman, starring Richard Gere.

 ABOUT THE COLOR PURPLE

John Doyle’s critically acclaimed production opened in summer 2013 in London at the Menier Chocolate Factory.

Charles Spencer of The Telegraph said THE COLOR PURPLE, “BLOWS THE ROOF OFF THE THEATRE,” and Libby Purvess of The Times says, “IT ROCKS THE HOUSE.  NEVER WAS THERE SUCH STAMPING, CHEERING, HOOTING, ROARING AND WHISTLING.”  And Mark Shenton of The Stage called the production, “A REVELATION.  SOMETHING TRULY EXTRAORDINARY.”

Based on Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel and the Warner Bros. / Amblin Entertainment motion picture, THE COLOR PURPLE is adapted for the stage by Pulitzer Prize and Tony award winner Marsha Norman, with music and lyrics by Grammy award winners Brenda RussellAllee Willis and Stephen Bray. 

THE COLOR PURPLE is an unforgettable story of enduring love and triumph over adversity.  With a fresh, joyous score of jazz, ragtime, gospel and blues, this stirring family chronicle follows the inspirational Celie, as she journeys from childhood through joy and despair, anguish and hope to discover the power of love and life.

Group tickets are currently available for THE COLOR PURPLE by calling 1-800-432-7780.

To view a montage from the The Menier Chocolate Factory production and an interview with Cynthia Erivo, please visit: http://www.colorpurple.com/

ABOUT THE CAST

JENNIFER HUDSON won the Academy Award, Golden Globe, and BAFTA Award for her performance as Effie White in Dreamgirls.  Her breakout film performance also garnered a Screen Actors Guild Award and an NAACP Image Award. Additional film credits include Sex and the City, Secret Life of Bees, Winnie Mandela, The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete, and Black Nativity. Her highly acclaimed album, JHUD, dropped this past fall in the top 10 on Billboard’s Top 200. Just prior, she released singles including the recently Grammy-nominated “It’s Your World,” featuring R. Kelly; “He Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere,” featuring Iggy Azaelea; “I Can’t Describe,” produced by Pharrell and featuring TI; and “Walk It Out,” featuring Timbaland. Most recently, Hudson was featured on Gorgon City’s chart topping track, “Go All Night,” off their new album, Sirens.

Hudson’s 2008 debut album went Platinum and entered Billboard’s Top 200 at No. 2 thus marking the biggest first week sales for an R&B female entry since 2004. The album was nominated for four Grammys and won for “Best R&B Album.”   In 2009, Hudson released her sophomore album, I Remember Me which debuted at No. 2 on Billboard’s Top 200 and R&B Albums charts and has since been certified Gold in the U.S.

CYNTHIA ERIVO, one of the fastest-rising stars of British musical theatre, received an Evening Standard Theatre Award nomination for Best Musical Performance and a WhatsOnStage Award nomination for Best Actress in a Musical for her performance as Celie in THE COLOR PURPLE.  In 2011 Cynthia received her first big musical theatre break, in Kneehigh Theatre’s production of The Umbrellas of Cherbourg at the Gielgud Theatre, followed by the starring role of Deloris Van Cartier in the UK tour of Jerry Zaks’ production of Sister Act.  Cynthia appeared in the West End as Chenice in Harry Hill and Simon Cowell’s critically acclaimed musical, I Can’t Sing, at the London Palladium and also played the leading role of Dessa in the European premiere of Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty musical, Dessa Rose, at Trafalgar Studios.

A 2010 graduate of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA), Cynthia’s many stage credits include Simon Stephens’ Marine Parade, which premiered at the 2010 Brighton Festival, John Adams’ experimental “song play,” I Was Looking at the Ceiling and Then I Saw The Sky, at Theatre Royal Stratford East, and Dominic Hill’s The Three Musketeers and The Princess of Spain at Traverse, Belgrade and English Touring theatres.

This past fall, Cynthia returned to her classical roots in the Donmar Warehouse’s acclaimed all-female production of Henry IV opposite Dame Harriet Walter, directed by Phyllida Lloyd.  She will soon star as Puck in the Liverpool Everyman’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, opposite Dean Nolan and Andrew Schofield, directed by Nick Bagnall.  In addition to her stage career, Cynthia is a songwriter and wrote the song, “Fly Before You Fall,” for last year’s feature film Beyond the Lights. 

ABOUT THE CREATIVE TEAM

JOHN DOYLE received Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards as Outstanding Director of a Musical for his Broadway debut, Sweeney Todd.  His production of Company won the Tony Award for Best Musical Revival and he won UK Best Musical Awards for The Gondolier’s (West End), Fiddler on the Roof and Moll Flanders with nominations for other productions including A Catered Affair (Broadway) and Mack and Mabel (West End). Recent credits include Irma la Douce for City Center, Stephen Sondheim’s Road Show (Public Theatre and Menier Chocolate Factory), Passion and Allegro for CSC, and the acclaimed revival of Merrily We Roll Along at the Watermill Theatre.  John has been the artistic director of four prestigious UK regional theaters and has directed numerous new and classic plays and operas. John is currently represented on Broadway with the Tony nominated musical, The Visit, starring Chita Rivera.

MARSHA NORMAN (Book) won a Pulitzer Prize for her play ‘night, Mother and a Tony Award for her book of The Secret Garden on Broadway. She also wrote the book for the recent Broadway production of The Bridges of Madison County. Ms. Norman is co-chair of the Playwriting Department at Juilliard and vice president of the Dramatists Guild of America. Her other plays include Getting Out, Traveler in the Dark, Sarah and Abraham, Trudy Blue and Last Dance.  Her published work includes Four Plays, Vol. 1: Collected Plays of Marsha Norman and a novel, The Fortune Teller. She has numerous film and TV credits, Grammy and Emmy nominations and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters and the Fellowship of Southern Writers.  She is a native of Kentucky who lives in New York City and Great Barrington with her two children.

BRENDA RUSSELL (Composer/Lyricist). Brooklyn-born singer/songwriter Brenda Russell’s music has touched fans on a global scale through millions of albums sold and songs heard on airwaves around the world. Author of “Piano in the Dark,” “If Only for One Night” and the anthem “Get Here,” Brenda has written for or collaborated with superstars such as Sting, Mary J. Blige, Stevie Wonder, Chaka Khan, Tina Turner, Donna Summer, Michael McDonald, Ray Charles, Earth Wind & Fire, Luther Vandross, Diana Ross, and Patti LaBelle, among many others. Nominated for three Grammys for 1988’s pop classic “Piano in the Dark,” Brenda’s compositions have also won Grammys for other artists.  She has recorded eight solo albums since 1979, with her most recent, Between the Sun and the Moon, released in 2004. Brenda’s songwriting talent has been featured on television and in films such as How Stella Got Her Groove Back and Barry Levinson’s Liberty Heights. www.brendarussell.com

ALLEE WILLIS (Composer/Lyricist) has sold 50 million records, including Earth, Wind & Fire’s “September” and “Boogie Wonderland,” the Pointer Sisters’ “Neutron Dance” and Pet Shop Boys with Dusty Springfield’s “What Have I Done to Deserve This?” Willis won a Grammy for Best Soundtrack for Beverly Hills Cop and was nominated for an Emmy for “I’ll Be There for You,” the theme from “Friends.” She’s also an award-winning artist, set designer, interactive-multimedia artist, writer and director.  Her new live shows, including sold-out runs of Ba-de-ya, Baby! and Allee Willis’ Super Ball Bounce Back Review, have drawn rave reviews in Los Angeles.  Willis has also become a regular headliner at the legendary comedy review, UnCabaret.  She returned to her hometown of Detroit for “Allee Willis Marches on Detroit,” an ongoing series of events and fundraisers dedicated to her beloved hometown, with an event in Detroit’s historic Fox Theatre with students from her alma mater, Mumford High, as well as a second “Marching on Detroit” event in 2012 when Willis staged the “Last Call Before The Wrecking Ball” concert at Mumford, just a month before the school was demolished.  She has also consulted for Intel, Microsoft, AOL and Disney and addressed the U.S. House of Representatives on cyberspace.  As her alter-ego, Bubbles the artist, Willis has sold more than 1,000 artworks. She co-created and designed two animated series, “Fat Girl” and “Driving While Black,” which contain the only previous scores of Russell, Willis and Bray. www.alleewillis.com

STEPHEN BRAY (Composer/Lyricist) made his Broadway debut with The Color Purple in 2005. After beginning music studies with private instruction in Detroit, Bray continued training at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. Working with Madonna, he wrote and produced many of her top-ten recordings, including “Angel,” “Into the Groove,” “Papa Don’t Preach,” “True Blue” and “Express Yourself.” Performing with Breakfast Club, he earned a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist and top-ten single. He has composed and produced for multiplatinum artists including The Jets, Gladys Knight and Kylie Minogue. Film and television projects include Beverly Hills Cop II, Who’s That Girl?, All About the Benjamins and the theme for PBS’s “California Connected.” Stephen develops artists for his Soultone label and looks forward to more musical theatre.

ALICE WALKER (Original Author) won the Pulitzer Prize and the American Book Award for her third novel, The Color Purple, which was made into an internationally popular film by Steven Spielberg. Her other best-selling novels, which have been translated into more than two dozen languages, include By the Light of My Father’s Smile, Possessing the Secret of Joy and The Temple of My Familiar. Her most recent novel, Now Is the Time to Open Your Heart, was published in 2004. Ms. Walker is also the author of several collections of short stories, essays and poems as well as children’s books. Her work has appeared in numerous national and international journals and magazines. An activist and social visionary, Ms. Walker has been a participant in most of the major movements of planetary change, among them the Human and Civil Rights Movement in the South, the Hands Off Cuba Movement, the Women’s Movement, the Native American and Indigenous Rights Movement, the Free South Africa Movement, the Environmental and Animal Rights Movement and the Peace Movement. Her advocacy on behalf of the dispossessed has, in the words of her biographer, Evelyn C. White, “spanned the globe.”

 

 

 

source:
Linda Stewart, It Is Done Communication
[email protected]

Corey Clark - slider

Corey Clark Scores Legal Victory 1 in 4

Corey Clark 2015

*The saga continues for singer Corey Clark, made famous by his season two appearance on Fox’s American Idol and by his unceremonious and controversial exit from the show.

In 2013 ten contestants filed a $25 million suit against the show claiming that details of arrest records in their personal lives were exploited in a manner which defamed them.  The law suit did not result in victory.  The ten hopefuls argued that their talent was overshadowed by what was perceived to be ongoing character assassinations.   The network maintained that the contestants failed to disclose their arrest records, and that was grounds for disqualification.  It was a tough blow for Clark, who also suffered fallout over his alleged affair with famed American Idol judge Paula Abdul.

Through all of this Corey Clark has fought a legal battle to redress what has continually been deemed by him to be slanderous and libelous activity by media outlets who refuse to let the facts prevail.  In 2012 he lost a $40 million dollar suit against MTV, but Corey is undaunted and has scored at least some hope in his current battle against Radar Online.

Corey’s account is that the outlet smeared his name in retaliation for him granting an exclusive interview to another media company once he refuted previously published information about him that further permeated a misrepresentation of an alleged battery arrest, for which there was no conviction and the charges were later dropped with regards to an alleged altercation with Clark’s sister.  Though Clark and his sister have gone to the press to refute the allegations, Clark maintains that there are some in the media who will not let the falsehoods die.

Despite claims of being blackballed because of his persistence to fight for his rights, Clark persists.   Last week Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Elizabeth White issued a ruling that denied defendant Radar Online’s Anti Slap motion to strike and dismiss the Clark vs. RadarOnline, LLC case in its entirety.

Corey Clark gave EURweb this exclusive account of the latest proceedings in an interview with LaRita Shelby on May 8th 2015.

After this great news for Corey, he now flexes his legal muscles for the next round when the case goes to trial.  EURweb sought a reply from Cameron Stracher, counsel for Radar Online but was told that no comment could be made on pending litigation.

eurweb & berry smokey & charles1

EURweb’s Visit with Motown Founder Berry Gordy (WATCH)

Motown meets EURweb team

Charles Randolph Wright, LaRita Shelby, Berry Gordy, Lee Bailey, Smokey Robinson

*What would it be like to sit down with Motown founder Berry Gordy, Jr., Smokey Robinson and “Motown The Musical” director Charles Randolph Wright?  Well the day finally came, and as a select pool of the media entered the palatial setting of Hollywood’s Pantages Theatre, there was an air of ecstasy in the building.  Press from major networks, to the Los Angeles Sentinel, and local radio & TV outlets rounded out the list of special invitees.

Our turn finally came, a sportily clad Lee Bailey got into position, our media team from Oakhouse Pictures set their mics and trained their cameras on two men that made history, and one man whose job was to orchestrate it in the present time to Broadway precision and theatrical proportions worthy of an Emmy Award.  I could feel a “selfie” coming on, though I rarely point the camera towards myself. There was only one other occasion when I felt such an urge, and that was when Linda Morgan hosted a cavalcade of jazz legends to be honored at city hall.  With the legends in the group shot, I was satisfied just to snap a shot of my mug in the foreground to prove that I was there!  Aim, smile, “click.”  Well that’s just what I was about to do as Lee, Smokey, Berry, Charles and our crew were getting in position when I heard press and marketing agent Linda Stewart say: “What are you doing?”  While aborting the attempt, I replied: ‘Taking a selfie for social media.’ Which was the truth, but when it came to being in the midst of Motown royalty, all bets were off, my professional cap was barely hanging on, I was a FAN!  I was all in and proud of the men who gave my mama & daddy and ‘nem something to sing and dance about against the back drop of an America that was deprived of their civil rights and fighting to stand up and be counted.

Ironically, on this afternoon in 2015, Baltimore was ablaze over another fallen, and unarmed black male at the hands of police. It was yet in the aftermath of the deaths of Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Walter Scott and many more.  I wanted to ask Mr. Gordy and Mr. Robinson how they managed to birth romance out of rage and dance out of desolation in the 1960’s when their musical caravans surely rode through paths of cruel and usual punishment, and strange fruit on Southern streets and trees.  However this interview was delegated to the media legend himself, Mr. Lee Bailey.  It was time for Broadway’s Motown The Musical to descend upon Hollywood, in the heart of Los Angeles, Motown’s second home and now residence to many of the people that it had made known to the world.

The interview concluded, although it was hard to adhere to the 10 minute time frame, just one question could evoke twenty five years of memories.  Berry Gordy spoke with the authority of a proud general who had brought his musical troops safely through their mission.  Smokey Robinson reveled as more than just a sultry two stepping crooner, but as a steady co-pilot who kept the whole operation grounded, and Mr. Charles Randolph Wright revealed skills that are clearly majestic, in being able to intertwine so many complex stories, songs, and chapters into a mere two hours that equal the magical soundtrack of our lives.  It was now time for the official group shot.  I was jumping in at all costs just to prove that one day I was in the same room as Berry Gordy.  Well, as if the story could not get any better, when Mr. Bailey took the occasion to formally introduce me, Mr. Gordy stopped him and quickly informed Mr. Bailey that he “knew Rita” and that “he had heard of Rita already.”  Like a deer in headlights I thought, ‘Who me?!”  I threw him a couple of my favorite lines from Mahogany, thanked him and I’ve been acting “siditty” every since.  My day, my week, my life was made in that moment!  Guess that’s the way it goes, once you encounter Motown, you’re never quite the same, kinda like ‘sunshine on a cloudy day.’

To top it off, when show time finally came for me, I had the great fortune of attending with my charming and debonair date, who is a family member of one of the persons characterized in the show.  I had no idea until a day or so before the show.  Edna Anderson Owens, that’s her name and I met the real fabulous dame once in a day that was just as serendipitous .  Sending loving thoughts to her and to all the folks to helped to make it happen- musicians, promoters, administrators, executives, choreographers, costumers, and artists.  Thank you Mr. Berry Gordy, you did it sir.  Somebody had to be the heavy, and it was you.  You endured, you prevailed and the world will never be the same because you came.  Your story is finally told, your way.  Motown The Musical is playing now through June 7th 2015 at the Hollywood Pantages, then the national tour continues to select cities through 2016.   It is presented by Kevin McCollum, Doug Morris and Berry Gordy.  Special discounts are available.  Click here.      

EUR BONUS COVERAGE: Check out Lee Bailey chat’s with Mr. Gordy, Smokey Robinson and Charles Randolph-Wright about the man himself and his “Motown The Musical” stage production.

paul oakley stovall & phylicia rashad

Paul Oakley Stovall Strikes Gold with ‘Immediate Family’ Director Phylicia Rashad

Director Phylicia Rashad

Director Phylicia Rashad at the first rehearsal for Paul Oakley Stovall’s “’Immediate Family,’” which plays April 22 through June 7, 2015, at the CTG/Mark Taper Forum.

*It is rare that a new playwright lands a top notch director who happens to be a veteran Broadway actress and television star. But that’s exactly what happened when Phylicia Rashad was introduced to the work of Paul Oakley Stovall.

The result is “Immediate Family,” a comedy that is now showing at Los Angeles’ Mark Taper Forum and presented by the Center Theatre Group.

“Immediate Family” is somewhat of a modern day comedy of errors that unearths rigid notions of family, relationships, expectations and the sometimes fuzzy dimensions of love.

Paul Oakley Stovall told EURweb’s Jazzy Rita Shelby how he took a leap of faith and realized a dream come true.

EURweb’s Jazzy Rita: “How were you able to collaborate with Phylicia Rashad?”

Paul Oakley Stoval:  “I just said, why not ask.  The worse she could say is no… I just asked and she said yes.  You have to say yes to life! Don’t convince yourself of something before you actually try to do it.  A lot of times it will be a lot easier than you think.”

“Immediate Family” directed by Phylicia Rashad opened to a packed star studded house on May 3rd, 2015 and shows through June 7th 2015.  The cast includes Kamal Angelo Bolden, J. Nicole Brooks, Bryan Terrell Clark, Shanésia Davis, Mark Jude Sullivan and Cynda Williams.   “Immediate Family” was most recently seen at The Goodman Theatre where it was nominated for GLAAD, Steinberg and Jeff Awards.  Mr. Stovall’s other works include “Billie and Billy,” “Young Lords and Ladies,” “Cheek to Cheek,” “The Fields” and “Parker.” For now the whole town is talking and chuckling about the complicated, yet common entanglements in “Immediate Family.”  For tickets and information go to www.centertheatregroup.org or call (213) 628-2772.  The Mark Taper Forum is located at the Music Center, 135 N. Grand Avenue in Downtown L.A. 90012.