Tuesday, May 23, 2017

LAWTF To Perform In Culver City On July 30

For one very special night, the Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Festival (LAWTF)  comes to Culver City for a unique performance on Sunday, July 30, 2017  at 7 p.m. The venue will be the Veterans Memorial Building, 4117 Overland Ave., Culver City, CA 90230.

The theme for the evening will be Defining Moments. Four of LAWTF’s encore performers will be featured. Works are excerpted and include:

CARLA DELANEY in Voices. It’s not until this voice-over artist meets the surprising voices in her head, her heart, and her snotty respiratory system that she realizes the value of her own voice.

WENDY HAMMERS in I Survived Cancer and All I Got Was This Lousy President. This surviving and thriving excerpt from Wendy Hammers’ newest solo play follows her 2015 pancreatic cancer diagnosis the same week a reality show host announced he wanted to become the leader of the free world. A humorous and uplifting look at navigating one’s own health and wellness in the face of The Donald and disease.

CLARINDA ROSS in Spit Like A Big Girl. Award-winning actor and playwright Clarinda Ross shares her funny and poignant family story, inspired by the discovery of her father’s journals after his untimely death. Ross takes us on a bumpy journey through the back roads of her Southern childhood.

RACHAE THOMAS in Pieces of Carra Remix. Underscored by song and music, Pieces of Carra Remix chronicles the evolution of a biracial young woman’s life based on past family memories and particularly those that embrace her mother.

The evening is hosted by KAREN A .CLARK, singer-songwriter-poet who has performed three of her solo shows with Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Festival. She serves on the Festival’s Board of Directors.

The Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Festival, a non-profit arts organization, was founded by Executive Producer Adilah Barnes and Miriam Reed.

Defining Moments marks the LAWTF’s seventh consecutive annual program for residents of Culver City. This performance is made possible in part by a Culver City Performing Arts Grant with support from Sony Pictures Entertainment.

Tickets for the performance are $20 in advance, $25 at the door. Industry (with valid I.D.), seniors and groups of ten or more, $18.  Children 12 and under, $10.

Reservations: (818) 760-0408. Online reservations are available at http://www.lawtf.org

Monday, May 22, 2017

Antonio Fargas Stars In 'Mann & Wife' Finale

ATLANTA (May 22, 2017) – Popular NAACP Image Award-nominated actor Antonio Fargas (Everybody Hates Chris, Starsky & Hutch) guest stars in the third season finale of Mann & Wife, world premiering on Tues., May 23 at 9 p.m. ET on Bounce.

When Daniel (David Mann) dreams that he is in a 70’s cop show, he uncovers the truth behind the cold case he has been struggling to solve.

Real-life husband and wife team David and Tamela Mann star and serve as executive producers of Mann & Wife. The half-hour situation comedy follows their characters - newlyweds and second-chance sweethearts Daniel and Toni Mann - as they laugh and love their way through the ups and downs of life as a blended family, each with two children from previous marriages.

Mann & Wife co-creator Roger Bobb (House of Payne The Rickey Smiley Show) serves as executive producer and director of the series.

Mann & Wife has been a smash success, setting network records for viewership in both seasons. Bounce is the only emerging broadcast network producing original scripted series, which in addition to Mann & Wife includes the current mega-hit drama Saints & Sinners and the popular comedies In The Cut and Family Time.  

Bounce (@BounceTV) airs on the broadcast signals of local television stations and corresponding cable carriage and features a programming mix of original and off-network series, theatrical motion pictures, specials, live sports and more.  Bounce has grown to be available in more than 94 million homes across the United States and 93% of all African-American (AA) television homes, including all the top AA television markets. Among the founders of Bounce are iconic American figures Ambassador Andrew Young and Martin Luther King, III. 

Desean Kevin Terry Stars In The Drama 'Les Blancs'

Desean Kevin Terry

By Darlene Donloe

Admittedly, Desean Kevin Terry was skeptical about playing the lead in Lorraine Hansberry’s play, Les Blancs. He initially thought he couldn’t be effective in a role that he was convinced wasn’t relevant to today. Then, he read and conceptually inhaled what was Hansberry’s final work. It was then he realized just how powerful the drama and the role would be for an accomplished actor. 

Now the handsome and charismatic Terry, who graduated from Juilliard, has nothing but praise for Hansberry who, he proclaims, was a gifted playwright “ahead of her time”. 

Les Blancs is a drama about the end of colonialism in a fictional, unnamed African colony. The play, set in a rickety Christian mission surrounded by the violence and counter-violence of black revolutionaries and white authorities, reveals the impossible moral choices faced by individuals who must reconcile personal happiness with idealism.

An affable actor who was born in Belize, but grew up in Los Angeles, Terry is gratified to play the lead in the Los Angeles premiere of the Rogue Machine production of Les Blancs, set to open May 27.  The play is directed by Gregg T. Daniel.

Terry, a personable type who laughs frequently and easily, plays the wandering Tshembe who has returned for the funeral of his father, a tribal elder. Tshembe, a proud man, is disillusioned by the white man’s alleged good intentions.

To effectually pull off this highly-flavored role calls for a skilled actor. Enter Terry, who has impressive theatrical credits. Some of his theater credits include: Father Comes Home from the Wars, The Trip to Bountiful, The Antigone Project, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Romeo and Juliet, Taming of the Shrew, Comedy of Errors and The Royale. Some of his television credits include: Southland, Shameless, ER, Monk, The Night Shift, House, Grey's Anatomy, Scorpion, NCIS. Some of his film credits include God's Army, Somebody's Mother and States of Grace.  

Matthew Lindberg, Desean Kevin Terry and Turner Frankosky
I recently caught up with Terry to discuss his role and his career.

DD: Describe Les Blancs.

DKT: The story takes place in a fictional, colonial country in Africa. I play a character named Tshembe. It’s about living one’s life under oppression.  It’s not about defining the story of freedom.

DD: Tell me why you wanted to be a part of Les Blancs.

DKT: I like political pieces. In this time period, as an artist, I’m interested in having a political dialogue. It engages me. More than ever before people are asking questions and wondering what they can do. This piece was welcomed. I don’t want to do art for art sake. This play is so interesting. We’re so familiar with Lorraine Hansberry’s Raisin in the Sun. When I first read Les Blancs, I was skeptical. Then I read it and I was amazed how relevant the play continues to be. Lorraine [Hansberry] was ahead of her time. This was an artistic challenge.

DD: You say before you read it you were skeptical. Why?

DKT: Because it’s Lorraine Hansberry. You would think the material would be dated. It thought I wouldn’t be able to connect with it. I was wrong. The way she structured the political and the personal is incredible.   This is over 50 years ago. That was my skepticism. I was blown away because I didn’t have to transport myself to another time period in order to connect with the material.

DD:  Tell me about your character – Tshembe.

DKT: He is the main character. I think this is a contemporary appeal. At the start of the play his father has died and it has brought him back home to say goodbye to his father. He is an educated man who has been in search of humanity. He sees himself as a black man but is more interested in being universal and living as a human being. The issue is that he really understands the simple things in life, but his hometown keeps pulling him to live in a political conversation when he would like to have a universal conversation. He’s being forced to be political. He fights.

DD: If you were in his shoes, do you think you would be the same way?

DKT: I have a lot of similarities with him. I think we both would love to live in a world where people see people as people.  Education breaks down the differences and shows we're all the same. That’s not what the system does. We are still categorized. What should be your primary thing? Should it be personal or political? That's what the piece addresses. If I walk into a situation – they don’t know if I have three degrees. They just see a black man.

Desean Kevin Terry
DD: What do you like/not like about your character?

DKT:  I don't think one has to like everything about a character in order to play them. I don’t dislike the character. I never do. Even those points of disagreement. I would have answered the political - way before Tshembe did. That’s what’s beautiful about him.  We have a difference, but I don’t dislike the difference. I appreciate being able to take that journey.

DD: How have you gone about developing the character?

DKT: The first thing is this. We have these dialects. The first thing is that the dialect is a huge concern for me as an actor. I have to communicate with his sound. I love the sound. I love the dialect. I’m trying to figure out a way of expressing things in a different physical manner. If I didn’t have this dialogue I would have much less of a transformation.

DD:  Why should people come see this show?

DKT:  People should pay their money to see the show because we are living in such a time where people are asking themselves the same question. Whatever side you were on, it was a political reawakening. Now people are questioning what should I do? Am I doing enough? Am I part of the problem or the solution?  We sit in the dark and think – it’s not me. Hopefully you’ll see towards the end that the problems, they have been here all the time. It’s a universal thing. It is a beautiful play that Hansberry has written. I’m astounded by this play.

DD: Is it more important for black people or white people to see this show?

DKT: I think everybody needs to see this show. I think it’s especially important that white people see the show. It's a different look on the structure of power. I really think that black people in this country are having what W.E.B. Dubois called double consciousness.  We have a sense of our roles. This is a beautiful play where someone can step out and see how the majority is allowed to live in comparison to the minority.
Shari Gardner and Desean Kevin Terry and Jelani Blunt
DD: Why did you want to be an actor?

DKT: I wanted to be an actor because it’s always been rewarding. As a kid I was a shy kid. I didn’t really talk to people. Then I started acting and it gave me the ability to express myself. I can connect.  I want to get to the heart of the matter. People get to see my imagination and see the real sense of me. I want to share with people the things that are important to me, the compassionate and emotional side of me.

DD: What is it about theater?

DKT:  One hundred percent it gives me a sense of freedom. When wearing a mask one can feel more free. Not everyone. When wearing certain masks there is a freedom of expression. I’m an introverted person. I have very little interest in getting up and talking as myself.

DD: You do theater, film and TV. Is your preparation different for each genre?

DKT:  The preparation changes depending on the material. In general there is a different preparation. With theater you get to rehearse. You're allowed to have more of a transformation. TV and film are more immediate. They are casting by who you are, not who you can become. Theater is the actor’s medium.  TV is the writer’s medium and film is the director’s medium.

DD: What is your favorite show of all time?

DKT:  My favorite show of all time is The Royale by Marco Ramirez. I was in the show. I like that it is about a boxer. It’s loosely about Jack Johnson. He’s going up for the heavyweight championship of the world. It’s about boxing and politics. The playwright says in the opening that boxing will be done with their words.

DD: What are you working on after this show?

DKT: After this show – I don’t know, just living that actor life.

Cast of 'Les Blancs'
Les Blancs, directed by Gregg T. Daniel, stars Terry, Amir Abdullah, Bill Brochtrup, Anne Gee Byrd, Aric Floyd, Fiona Hardingham, Jason McBeth, Matt Orduña, Jonathan P. Sims and Joel Swetow.

Les Blancs, Rogue Machine Theatre (in The Met), 1089 N Oxford Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90029; (Additional parking in lot at medical center east of Freeway); 8 p.m., Sat. and Mon.; 3 p.m. Sun. through July 3; no performance on May 29 (Memorial Day); $40; Pay-What you-Can on June 5th ($5 minimum at box office, night of performance, while supplies last); Reservations: 855-585-5185 or www.roguemachinetheatre.com

Photos by John Perrin Flynn


Sunday, May 21, 2017

'Jersey Boys' Rocks and Rolls Into The Ahmanson

By Darlene Donloe

Mark Ballas is sensational!  Yes, that Mark Ballas, the one who spent 18 seasons as a featured professional dancer on Dancing With The Stars.

Ballas is reprising his hit Broadway performance as Frankie Valli in the Tony, Grammy and Olivier Award-winning hit musical Jersey Boys, currently enjoying a run at the Ahmanson Theatre.

The Los Angeles engagement of the national tour runs through June 24.

Ballas made his Broadway debut in the role last fall (October 18, 2016-January 15, 2017).

Jersey Boys, directed by two-time Tony Award-winner Des McAnuff, tells the story of the 1960s hit pop group Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. The show is the behind-the-music story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons – warts and all. They were just four guys from Jersey whose sound was mesmerizing. Their harmonies were something unheard of. Their popularity shot through the roof.  But while their music was pitch perfect, their personal lives were off key.
The show features all their hits including Sherry, Big Girls Don’t Cry, Oh What A Night, Walk Like A Man, Can’t Take My Eyes Off You and Working My Way Back To You.
Mark Ballas
Photo by Jeremy Daniel
Ballas sings like an angel. He moves like a gazelle. He gives an all-around powerful and high-energy performance that draws you in. This role is made for him. It’s hard to imagine anyone else in the role. He’s surrounded by a more-than-worthy ensemble cast that delivers the goods.
The real star of this show is the music, which keeps the audience swinging and swaying and mouthing the words to every song.
Kudos to Director Des McAnuff (Dr. Zhivago, Jesus Christ Superstar) who has helmed a memorable and entertaining show. The pace is quick with scenery flying in from the sides and up top, not to mention the cast getting into the act by seamlessly carrying on furniture and props with military-like precision.
L-R: Keith Hines, Matthew Dailey, Mark Ballas and Cory Jeacoma in the national tour of "Jersey Boys,"
which plays May 16 through June 24, 2017, at Center Theatre Group/Ahmanson Theatre. Photo by Jim Carmody.
The cast of Jersey Boys features Matthew Dailey (Tommy DeVito), Keith Hines (Nick Massi) and Cory Jeacoma (Bob Gaudio) as The Four Seasons, with Barry Anderson and Thomas Fiscella. 
The ensemble of Jersey Boys includes Mark Edwards, Corey Greenan, Bryan Hindle, David LaMarr, Austin Owen, Kristen Paulicelli, Leslie Rochette, Andrew Russell, Jenna Nicole Schoen, Dru Serkes, Jonny Wexler and Jesse Wildman.

Jersey Boys is the winner of the 2006 Best Musical Tony Award, the 2006 Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album, the 2009 Olivier Award for Best New Musical and the 2010 Helpmann Award for Best Musical (Australia). Jersey Boys has been seen by over 24 million people worldwide (as of January, 2017).
Jersey Boys opened at the August Wilson Theatre on Broadway to critical acclaim on November 6, 2005, running 11 record-breaking years and becoming the 12th longest running show in Broadway history.
L-R: Mark Ballas and Cory Jeacoma
Photo By Jim Carmody
Jersey Boys is written by Academy Award-winner Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, with music by Bob Gaudio, lyrics by Bob Crewe and choreography by Sergio Trujillo.
Jersey Boys, The Ahmanson Theatre, at The Music Center, 135 N. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, 90012; 8 p.m., Tues.-Fri.; 2 and 8 p.m. Sat.; 1 and 6:30 p.m. Sun.; No performance on Mondays; exceptions: no performances on Sat., May 20; added performances on Mon., June 19 at 8 p.m. and 2 p.m., Thur., June 22; (213) 972-4400 or online at www.CenterTheatreGroup.org; $25 – $125 (ticket prices are subject to change).
On the DONLOE SCALE: D (don’t bother), O (oh, no), N (needs work), L (likeable), O (oh, yeah) and E (excellent), Jersey Boys gets an E (excellent).

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Obba Babatunde Stars In 'Five Guys Named Moe'

Obba Babatunde
photo courtesy of Obba Babatunde

By Darlene Donloe

The show may be called Five Guys Named Moe, but there is one guy named Obba Babatunde who will, undoubtedly, rock the stage and then promptly bring down the house.   

A consummate showman known for his spirited, authentic and high-energy performances, Babatunde who has been entertaining audiences with his acting, singing and dancing for more than four decades, knows how to make it do what it do. And, he’ll “do” just that when Five Guys Named Moe, opens tonight (Sat., May 20) in the Ebony Repertory Theatre’s production at the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center.

It’s the 25th anniversary of the musical written by Clarke Peters (HBO’s The Wire and Treme).

Five Guys Named Moe celebrates the timeless music of Louis Jordan, the pioneering saxophonist, singer and bandleader, who was called, "The King of the Jukebox." The musical tells the story of Nomax — who is down on his luck. His girlfriend, Lorraine, has left him, he's been drinking and he's listening to the radio at 4:45 a.m. Emerging from his radio are the Moes – No Moe, Little Moe, Four Eyed Moe, Eat Moe, and Big Moe. They encourage Nomax through song and stories to turn his life around and tell Lorraine that he loves her.  Babatunde, who can be seen in three new television series (Netflix’s Dear White People, Comedy Central’s The Detroiters, and Showtime’s forthcoming I’m Dying Up Here, plays Nomax.

Five Guys Named Moe began its journey with a six-week run at the Theatre Royal, Stratford East. The musical went to London’s West End Lyric Theatre in 1990 where it played until 1995 when it moved to the Albery Theatre.  In 1992, Five Guys Named Moe made its Broadway debut at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre, where it played 445 performances and 19 previews. The show’s popularity grew, as regional and touring productions wowed audiences across the U.S. and the world.

A show that has music, dancing and acting is right up Babatunde’s alley. He loves each medium equally. The Emmy Award-winner (Bold and the Beautiful), Tony Award nominee (Dreamgirls) and Ovation Award nominee, also has a NAACP Image Award (A Soldier’s Play). Some of his stage credits include Sammy at The Old Globe, Chicago on Broadway, and Jelly’s Last Jam. He received an Emmy Award nomination for the HBO Movie Miss Evers’ Boys and an NAACP Image Award nomination for HBO’s Introducing Dorothy Dandridge. Some of his film appearances include: The Manchurian Candidate, The Notebook, Philadelphia, The Celestine Prophecy and John Q.  He has appeared in too many television shows to mention (Madame Secretary, Kingdom, Hand of God, Dear White People, Dawson’s Creek, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air). He co-produced and directed Oscar’s Black Odyssey as well as the multi-award winning short film Clarissa’s Gift and co-produced Dorothy Dandridge.  These are just some of the credits he’s amassed and accomplished in his more than 45 years career.

Today Babatunde is seated in the ERT rehearsal room, comfortably dressed in black slacks and a blue baroque shirt. His age, which is north of 60, belies the pep in his step, the twinkle in his eyes and his youthful spirit. He greets you with a big, friendly smile and embraces with a sincere, warm hug.

Although he’s one of the nicest and most personable people you’ll ever meet in Hollywood, when he’s talking about his craft there’s no nonsense and no pretense. He shoots from the hip and wants others to do the same. His choice of words is deliberate and his gaze is piercing.

(front) Obba BabatundĂ©, (rear L-R) Octavius Womack, Rogelio Douglas, Jr.,
Eric B. Anthony, Jacques C. Smith and Trevon Davis.
Photo by Craig Schwartz Photography
Talking to Babatunde about the role and his career, it’s clear that he loves what he does and that he enjoys taking on stimulating roles.  The veteran actor says he has no doubt that Five Guys Named Moe will be a success. He has nothing but praise for Clarke Peters, Keith Young (director), Abdul Hamid Royal (musical director) and his cast, which includes Eric B. Anthony (Eat Moe), Trevon Davis (Little Moe), Rogelio Douglas, Jr. (Four-Eyed Moe), Jacques C. Smith (No Moe) and Octavius Womack (Big Moe).

Our conversation was quick, but satisfying.

DD: So, how are rehearsals going?

OB: Sensational. We have an amazing group of people. This being the 25th year, for those who have or have not seen it, I highly recommend coming to see this production in this house. There is something new about it. It has a fresh face. We still have the same wonderful Jordan music and arrangement, but the treatment of it is different. It bares watching and experiencing it.

DD: Tell me about the first time you ever saw this show. What did you think?

OB: I enjoyed it because of the performances. Being a stickler for character, I thought that I would have enjoyed it more had I been engaged by who the five different personalities were as opposed to ‘this is just great music by a great performer.’

DD:  Describe Five Guys Named Moe.

OB: In this production there is a unique experience identifying, through the use of Jordan’s music, the journey of a man named Nomax, who is challenged with habits that have caused him to be stymied in his growth and relationships particularly with Lorraine, his girl. But we see more of an evolution as he witnesses that which is placed before him. His challenges. And through that there is a growth and development that affords him a desire as well as a methodology to move out of it.  This is all done through song, dance and pure entertainment.

DD: Tell me about your character, Nomax.

OB: I love him. He’s challenged. When you play a character, whether you’re the villain or the hero, you must always see yourself as the hero. Otherwise you can't portray it honestly. Someone who has screwed up doesn't go through life waking up saying they are screwed up.  They keep making excuses for what has happened to them. No one sees themselves as a villain. I love the characters I portray. They are full human beings. I don't play “isms” or aspects of a character. The reason being is - everybody you meet is a full human being. Particularly in black skin, we have often been relegated to playing an idea of who we are, somebody else’s idea of who we are. Before you are anything, you are a human being. Every character I’ve ever portrayed is my attempt to play them as a full human being. How they express their humanity may be different – either through drama, comedy or tragedy. All of those things exist in every human being.

DD:  Why are you the right person to play Nomax?  What do you bring?

OB: I was asked to do it by my friend, Wren T. Brown (ERT Producing Artistic Director). I’m capable because of the experience I bring because of my many years in theater and the understanding of the different levels that can be portrayed by an actor.

Obba Babatunde as Nomax in 'Five Guys Named Moe'
Craig Schwartz Photography

DD: How did you go about developing the role?

OB: To prepare for the character I have to be in shape. I make sure I stay in shape so I don’t have to get in shape. I get vocally prepared, physically prepared and, uh, I have to be aware of the period so that I can be true to the period and how I present this character. I have to be aware of the musical styles of this period so that I can present it the way it should be presented.

DD: As a song and dance man, you’re in your element.

OB:  Interestingly enough, for me I am the subject. It's the five guys who are doing the heavy lifting. I’m along for the ride. It’s different from what Obba, in his song and dance element, would do. It’s more of an acting role for me.

DD: How do you feel about that?

OB: I love all aspects of the theatrical experience whether it’s song, dance, acting, comedy, farce, feature film or television, it’s all part of the wheelhouse of Obba Babatunde.

(l-r) Obba Babatunde and Keith Young
Photo by Malcolm Ali Photography

DD: Talk about your director Keith Young.

OB: To talk about Keith Young, I have the utmost respect and regard for him. I worked for him as the choreographer for the show Sammy, where I played Sammy. We worked very close together to present magic. As I see him work in this as a double duty as director and choreographer – creating on stage without having the practical reality of a set and scenes it’s not locked in a specific place that’s supported by the scenery. He creates in a way that’s not easy to do.

DD:  Talk about the cast.

OB: Each cast member brings a unique individualistic gift and talent and expertise. It is a joy to work with these five gentlemen with all the potentiality of testosterone. I’ve not experienced false ego in one. We all are a family. I want to include our musical director Abdul [Hamid Royal]. We are fortunate and blessed. With his long list of credits we receive the benefit. He was also the original director of the Broadway cast. He is a creator from its inception. We have a wonderful stage manager and assistant stage manager. Everybody I’ve named is male. Everyday we start out by holding hands in a circle and each one of us takes a turn to unite us in prayer. That also speaks to who they are.

DD: Why should people come see this show?

OB: People should come to see Five Guys at Nate Holden because they will be lifted and entertained. You get a chance to laugh and get reminded what it feels like to be moved by the great music of Louis Jordan. These five guys are brilliant. Our band and our physical production can compete with any show presently running anywhere. That it’s being done here at this theater speaks volumes. The reason I say that is when you have huge budgets you can make a spectacle. But when you’re challenged with not having a huge budget, but you bring in the best of talent in lighting, sound, choreography, director, and talent on the stage you are seeing the best of the best. It’s not shrouded or bamboozled because of all the expensive glitz. It’s pure.

DD: How do you prepare to go on stage?

OB: It doesn't matter whether I’m doing a play, a musical, a drama, a soap or a feature film, I start by warming up with tap steps. It starts from the soles of my feet and then resonates itself up my legs to my body, arms fingers and head.

DD: What happens to you when you’re on stage?

OB:  I’m no longer me. I’m now Nomax. He has a drinking problem.  Obba doesn’t drink.

DD: By what method do you decide whether to take a role?

OB: My barometer for measuring has more to do with what the piece is about than what my character is about.   If I look at the production being film, TV or stage, it seems to represent something to glorify something that I am personally juxtaposed to.  I emphasize the word “glorify” – then I pass on it. I choose not to do it. I understand the power of the media and, uh, how it shapes the viewpoints of people who experience it or witness it. I can do a character or I can do a project that is about a horrific circumstance as long as it is not glorifying that circumstance.

DD: What do you learn about yourself or your craft each time you take on a project?

OB: If I had to examine what I learn from each project, it’s a little bit more about myself because I get to explore through that character a different part of one’s humanity and a reflection of my own.

DD:  What does acting do for you?

OB: I love the arts. I am so excited about all that I’ve done in more than 45 years. I’m more excited about what I am to do. I feel so fortunate and blessed that I found my purpose at an early age and I’ve lived it.

DD: What did you expect from Hollywood and what did you get?
OB: I subscribe to this. In life one can not take from me what they did not give to me. I didn't come to Hollywood with expectations to get anything from Hollywood. I came to Los Angeles to continue the practice of my craft and that’s what I’ve done.

DD: Sing, dance or act. You can only do one for the rest of your life. Which one do you pick?

OB: I come out of the post vaudevillian style of entertainment like a Sammy Davis Jr.  They are all one art form for me. I dance through my singing, I sing through my acting and I act through my dancing.  So it’s all one. There is never like, ‘I’m going to be a singer, or actor or dancer’.  It’s all one. It’s all a part of the same. That’s how I’ve fashioned my career. It could be the secret to my success.

Five Guys Named Moe, written by Clarke Peters, directed by Keith Young with musical direction by Abdul Hamid Royal, stars Babatunde, Eric B. Anthony, Trevon Davis, Rogelio Douglas, Jr., Jacques C. Smith and Octavius Womack.

Five Guys Named Moe, Nate Holden Performing Arts Center, 4718 West Washington Blvd., Los Angeles, 8 p.m. Fridays, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturdays and 3 p.m. Sundays, through June 11; $30-$55; ebonyrep.org or 323-964-9766.  Groups of 10 or more: groups@ebonyrep.org or 323-964-9766.