'Love Jones: The Musical' review

Love Jones The Musical continues its Fall tour
through the first week of December 2016.

Mix something old with something new, drop a splash of funk and a whole lot of dope vocals...and you have "Love Jones-The Musical."

The cast of Love Jones The Musical on stage
at Ovens Auditorium in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Almost twenty years ago, "Love Jones" (the movie), debuted and spurred a culture that thrives in poetry slams, lounges, coffee shops and the souls of chic folks to this very day. Back in the day, "Love Jones" was The Rebirth of Slick personified. 

It was everything that cool is: effortlessly fly, collectively soulful, and breathtaking. A complicated love story, the struggle, and artistic expression gave life to Darius (Lorenz Tate) and Nina (Nia Long). 

Love Jones was originally released on March 14, 1997 and became a cult classic film that captured the hearts and imagination of an entire generation. The soundtrack was equally impressive with a blend of neo-soul and R&B hits that fueled the 90s. The film was written and directed by Theodore Witcher and tells the classic, yet gritty, love story of Darius Lovehall (an up & coming writer and self-proclaimed renaissance man) and Nina Mosley (an aspiring photographer). The film starred Larenz Tate, Nia Long, Isaiah Washington, Bill Bellamy and Lisa Nicole Carson.

Set in Chicago, Darius (Larenz Tate) and Nina (Nia Long) meet in a nightclub, where an unassuming open mic event quickly turns into an explosive spoken word give and take that leaves the audience speechless. From the moment they lay eyes on each other, Darius and Nina’s lives are turned upside down. Their mutual attraction is obvious, but they are both on the rebound from unfinished previous relationships and neither of them are ready for “the real thing.” As much and as hard as they try and fight it, neither of them can resist what is pulling them together. It’s a passion, an obsession…a ‘love jones’ that comes along once in a lifetime.

The film was considered one of the greatest cinematic love stories of the 90’s and portrayed a side of black culture that was not reflected onscreen at a time when heavy drug and violent gang films populated the theaters.

The writers and cast of "Love Jones-The Musical" have breathed new life into the cult classic that is Love Jones (the movie).  


So the musical follows the movie, but with a twist. Darius (played by Tony Grant) is not a smooth spoken word artist, but a smooth vocalist. Nina (Chrisette Michele) is still a photographer torn between two lovers. So the storyline is similar, but the nuances of the musical create an experience that is more like a fiyah R&B/Neo Soul concert than anything else.

Why do I say that? Well...

A photo posted by Love Jones The Musical (@lovejonesthemusical) on

Darius and Nina meet at The Sanctuary, a lounge owned by MC Lyte's character where amatures take the stage. In one great scene, when Darius is trying his best to get at Nina, they are texting (texting did not exist on the same scale in '97, when the movie came out, that it does today.). Darius texts Nina songs to pull her in, as she's trying to rebuff his invite to go to a party with him and his friends.

Each time he sends a song, the artist pops up in the center of the stage. Let me tell you, when we heard the high pitched voice of Michel'le saying "Hi, everbody," Ovens auditorium lost it! Then she hit "Something In My Heart," and we were almost taken completely out!

Performances by Raheem Devaughn, Terrell Carter, and the highlight for me: Angie Fisher, were so amazing. Then, as if those weren't enough, we were blessed with Marsha Ambrosius, Musiq Soulchild, and Dave Hollister supplying us with their vocal gifts.

There were a number of other really good performances that carry you through this concert-musical and the love story that is Darius and Nina, but you will just have to see them for yourself, if you have not already.

Tour Schedule

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