Omg! Can you believe the romance classic Love Jones is celebrating their 20 year Anniversary. Im 27 so I was only a kid when this movie was released and it is one of my favorite romance movies of all time. I swear I am always looking for a poetry bar to find my Darius LoveHall… I jumped for joy and clicked my heels once I found out that they would be turning this soul sensual love story into a stage play. This isn’t just any stage play, the musical lineup itself is mind blowing featuring Musiq Soulchild, Marsha Ambrosius, MC Lyte, Raheem Davaughn, Chrisette Michelle and more.
I had the chance to catch up with Chaz Shepherd who has definitely been a fan on my television many times, from classic movies like Set It Off to the hit show The Game… Chaz is no stranger to the spotlight from the screen to the stage. He will be playing Marvin in the production and is also a Philadelphia Native so it was great to speak with him and find out a few tidbits about what to expect from the production.
Check out what he had to say…
How excited are you about the production
CS: I’m not usually excited, I’m normally inquisitive, im normally looking forward to stuff so this situation I am very blessed to be apart of this production. I only see it as a blessing, as favor and the potential of this production is awesome. Even though I am apart of it, I am almost like an audience member waiting to see how this is going to go.
Speaking about new challenges during the production CS: This is so exciting because this is my first time working on an independently produced play and this will be a different type of crowd, specifically a more brown crowd (African American). This is a crowd that comes to be apart of the show not just to watch the show. I come from the “bougie” crowd, the broadway crowd. The broadway crowd is different they have theatre protocol and you never know if they like it or not until the end.
Also we have worked hard, we only had 7 days to put this production together. What normally takes 4-6 weeks we put into 7 days of rehearsals.
This is super fun for me because we are rolling with a different crowd “the brown crowd” (african americans). We are going to have a lot of fun.
Opening night of Love Jones is in your Hometown of Philadelphia,Pa … How do you feel?
CS: Man! I can’t believe the first stop is in my hometown, Philly. Philly is already the spot, period. Philly knows art, music, it knows honesty. I joke with my friends all the time telling them “Philly is the most arrogant city in the country, Philly dont play”. You have to really impress Philly for them to come out of their shell, and I like that. So this is going to be very special.
Were you a fan of Love Jones The Movie
CS: I was a fan, but I was in between because it is somewhere in the middle of being a good movie and chick flick. This is a lot brown women favorite movie. I remember liking the smoothness of Nina and Darius, and how Larenz Tate & Nia Long played it so well. Another thing I liked about the movie was the fact that it wasn’t about the ghetto, it didn’t put us in the stigma of doing drugs and violence. This movie was intelligent, professional young adult people living the story of love and I really love the complexities of it.
The play is an adaptation of the movie, the foundation of the movie I absolutely love it, and its something that really looks good on brown folks.
Your character Marvin was the fiancee of the main character Nina in the movie Love Jones, how do you plan to bring him to life in this production.
CS: I actually didn’t remember Marvin in the movie, which was a good thing for me. On purpose I did not go back and watch the movie because I wanted to approach the character the way he jumped off the script to me. But I can definitely tell you the way this guy is its definitely different from the movie, there is another element to it that may stir something up in the ladies.
What can the audience expect from this awesome musical lineup
CS: Y’all can expect Soul. You have a lot of soul coming your way in this production, you have a lot of talent, and you have a cast of people who want to be good. In the short time we have had to prepare we have worked diligently. You have one dope singer after the other and different styles.
You have rapper MC Lyte who brings another flavor, her DJ is even apart of the production. You have the gospel soul sounds of Dave Hollister, you even have some Donnie & D’ Angelo with me (Chaz Shepard). Musiq Soulchild is one of my favorites and its because he is always true to his sound. So the music that you like is the music that you’re going to hear.
Talking about upcoming projects for the future
CS: I have a Netflix show coming soon called “Haters Back off”. This is one of Netflix new shows and we all know Netflix is killing it right now as far as original series. This is a crazy comedy, a weird uncomfortable comedy. Its a girl that is huge on YouTube and her artist name is Miranda Sings and I compare the show to like a live version of “The Simpsons”,Miranda just thinks she is the star and apparently the only one who thinks so. And has a weird family and I am the one chocolate person in the mix.So keep a look out for that soon.
Also my website Chazshepherd.com will be launching this month and there will be a free download of my mixed EP. My album will be coming at the top of the year 2017. So the free download will be a introduction to what to expect on my upcoming sophomore album.
For all things ChazShepherd please follow him on social media @handsomechaz on ig.. and www.chazsheperd.com for all music and more.
Check your ticketmaster to find out when Love Jones The Musical will be visiting your city.