*On April 1, 2013 “The Prince of Soul,” Marvin Gaye, R&B music legend extraordinaire, will have been dead for 30 years. The world misses him terribly… still.
As her new play, My Brother, MARVIN, hits the stage, Zeola ‘Sweetsie’ Gaye, Marvin Gaye’s younger sister at 67, gives EURweb publisher Lee Bailey an earful, in an exclusive interview.
“I’ve been waiting for this for the last 5 years. I just never gave up hope. I truly believe that God was going to let this happen because…a lot of people counted us out…they said ‘you can’t get the music and nobody’s going to want to see this without music.’ My dream was ‘yes they will because people want to know the story.’”
…And right she may be, if her claims of sold out performances at the premier and subsequent nights of the stage production of “My Brother, MARVIN,” count. With 22-cities to go, and rumors of international interest, this enhanced version of the stage play on the singer’s tumultuous life is said to delve deeper into the man “behind the music.” The story focuses on Gaye’s relationship with his family members–all of them–from the perspective of his sister, and road dawg, “Zee.”
Based on her book of the same name, a memoir with a foreword by Carlos Santana, the play’s script was written by Angela Barrow-Dunlap and has a star-studded cast headed by Emmy award-winning actress, Lynn Whitfield, NAACP award-winner Clifton Powell and R&B singer, Keith Washington. The production managed to skip past the usual smaller venues – where shows generally start in attempts to perform, tweak and revise; and instead, went straight to Detroit’s Fisher Theatre and Philadelphia’s Merriam Theater; two high profile locales.
On this day Zeola, two shows deep into the multi-city run, sounds both upbeat and relieved at this fete accompli.
“My cast is so phenomenal,” she tells Bailey in their telephone interview. “They play each role just like my family member or the character…Keith [Washington] is…Marvin. I know Marvin’s spirit is in him. Lynn Whitfield, she told me she felt my mother’s spirit jump into her. She plays my mother, and she does such a wonderful job. And Clifton Powell, of course, is directing again.”
In addition to being the play’s director, Powell also plays Marvin Gay, Sr.
But you can’t deny this production comes to fruition on the shoulders of a lot of deep family drama and dissention. The infighting has been public at every turn. Gaye’s second wife, Janis Hunter Gaye, to whom he was married for 4-years and has two children, daughter Nona and son Frankie, has been adamant about her disapproval in interviews and beyond; calling both the book and the play “exploitative,” while Marvin’s daughter, singer Nona Gaye, once told The Washington Times, “They’re dragging his name through the mud.”
Listen below as Zeola describes the threatening messages she continues to receive from Jan and Marvin III, to Lee Bailey.
Call us crazy but, we can’t help but wonder, what’s the problem? Rumor has it, Jan Gaye has …read more