Tyler Perry – an international success as an actor, director, screen and playwright, producer, author, and songwriter – notched a star on the Orpheum Theatre’s Sidewalk of Stars in front of the Orpheum.
Special to the Tri-State Defender
You can just hear Madea now: “Go ‘head boy!”
Tyler Perry – an international success as an actor, director, screen and playwright, producer, author, and songwriter – notched a star on the Orpheum Theatre’s Sidewalk of Stars in front of the Orpheum on Thursday (March 15).
And unless you’ve been frozen in time for the last 10-plus years, you know that much of Perry’s success is linked to his signature character “Madea,” a wisecracking, gun-toting grandmother. Madea is center stage in a series of plays – “Madea’s Family Reunion” (2002), “Madea’s Class Reunion” (2003) and “Madea Goes To Jail” (2005) – and set the stage for Perry’s jump to the big screen.
The star unveiling was a promotion (As if any of Perry’s shows need additional promotion) for his latest play, “Madea Gets A Job,” running March 15-18 at the Orpheum.
A robust crowd gathered in front of the downtown theatre for the presentation and – of course – to get a glimpse of the megastar himself. The appreciation for Perry was evident. One of the stargazers said Perry had given her a reason to go to the movies again.
Orpheum President and CEO, Pat Halloran, presented the award. Robert S. White II, chief of staff for Mayor A C Wharton Jr., represented Wharton, who was in Washington, D.C., for a convening of the White House’s Strong Cities, Strong Communities initiative. White presented Perry with a mayoral proclamation. Gwen Harmon, director of Governmental and Community Relations for the National Civil Rights Museum, made a special gift presentation on behalf of the museum.
Others on hand included restaurateurs and Food Network celebrities, Pat and Gina Neely, and Fred Jones, Southern Heritage Classic founder and president of Summit Management Corporation.
As the festivities unfolded, a woman screamed, “I love you Tyler, with your sexy self!”
Perry replied in his Madea voice: “I love you too, honey!”
Madea couldn’t be boring if she was asleep.
While Perry has his critics (Read: Spike Lee did not attend the star unveiling), there are many others who see in Perry’s work a mastery of common African-American folks’ thoughts, perceptions, hopes, dreams, fears, eccentricities, talents, stupidities, beauties, faith and joys – all wrapped up in characters like Madea and her cohorts.
It’s difficult to imagine anybody not laughing while watching the scene in “Madea’s Family Reunion” when Jackie (D’Atra Hicks) and her husband Kevin (Terrell Philips) break it down! And there are dozens more Madea moments like that one that are cherished over and over in homes throughout the world.
Perry’s name joins Broadway greats such as Yul Brenner, Carol Channing, Robert Goulet and
Cary Grant on the sidewalk in front of the Orpheum.
(This story reflects reports by Tony Jones and Jonwalter Lewis.)
| Photos by Jonwalter Lewis|