Musical version of ‘Love Jones’ comes to the Fox

Mekeisha Madden Toby
Special to The Detroit News

Ask any woman who has seen “Love Jones” what her favorite scene is and she will likely talk about Darius wooing Nina with his seductive poem.

“I’m the blues in your left thigh trying to become the funk in your right,” said the character played by star Larenz Tate in his poem, “A Blues for Nina.” Nia Long, of course, starred as Nina and the two young actors were so attractive and believable, a whole slew of black men and women in their 20s flocked to coffee houses and poetry readings trying to get that loving feeling.

Chrisette Michele and Chaz Shepherd star in “Love Jones: The Musicial.”

It’s that feeling the two captured nearly 20 years ago in the Theodore Witcher romantic comedy that producer Melvin Childs hopes to tap into with “Love Jones: The Musical.” An updated take on the original film, the production, including a new soundtrack, cast, dialogue, poetry and added characters, arrives Friday and Saturday at Detroit’s Fox Theatre.

Rapper MC Lyte executive produced the new soundtrack and also stars in the musical alongside Marsha Ambrosius, Musiq Soulchild, Chrisette Michele, Raheem DeVaughn and Tevin Campbell.

“That movie was like our ‘Mahogany,’ ” MC Lyte, 45, said during a recent phone interview. “It was very urban at the time and told the story of two incredibly talented and good looking folks up there on the screen and it made us all proud. So when I was approached about the musical, I said, ‘Why not?’ ”

Anthony Grant and Chrisette Michele get upclose and personal in this scene from “Love Jones: The Musical” at the Fox Theatre this weekend.

Lyte, who was born Lana Moorer, said the audience should enjoy the updates and new songs. The singers Musiq Soulchild, DeVaughn and Ambrosius also will weave in a few of their hits.

“There are more than 27 songs in the musical,” Lyte said. The list includes “Step Into the Light,” a song she does with singer Dave Hollister. “The cast is amazingly talented and I am proud of them. It’s like a live concert every time, but the hard part is the medium. With theater, it changes every night. The props change and some stages are smaller while others are larger depending on the location.

“But I’m happy to be a contributor on this project,” she said. “Melvin thought about it to a great extent and somehow he figured out a way to merge the concert world with theater. We’re really throwing down out here and doing what we love to do which is bring our art to the world.”

Mekeisha Madden Toby is a Los Angeles based entertainment writer.

‘Love Jones: The Musical’

Fri. and Sat.

Fox Theatre, 2211 Woodward, Detroit

Tickets: $59.50-$125

Call (800) 745-3000