Ever wonder what goes on in a barbershop full of men? Well, if the shop is anything like the barbershop showcased in the Illusion Theater’s production of Always & Forever: Concert Weekend, it’s a whole lot of gossiping and singing about love and broken hearts.
In 1996, Richard D. Thompson, Sanford L. Moore and Garry Q. Lewis collaborated with the Illusion Theater to create a “show about men singing about the highs and lows of love” and from there Always & Forever was born. An audience favorite for the past twenty years, the show is making its return to the stage that started it all for a special four-night engagement this weekend.
The premise of the show is simple, three men and a 13-year-old boy sing about the state of their love lives. Set in a 1970’s barbershop, Durius Wright (Gevonee Ford) serves as our narrator of sorts, introducing us to the others and helping move the show along. Of the men, he seems to be the only one who has a great love life at the moment. Leviticus Tucker (Dennis Spears) or Levi, is the troublemaker of the group. He may be married, but that hasn’t kept him from having a wandering eye. He also likes to tease the others about the state of their lives. Quenton Jones (Julius C. Collins III) is heartbroken at the moment. He and his wife, Cookie, are currently separated. But that’s nothing new for them. It seems they get together and breakup all the time. He also finds himself as the subject of Levi’s teasing. The youngest of the group, Jahmal Purdy (Isaiah Cummings, making his stage debut), is a 13-year-old learning how to navigate the ever-confusing world of love and dating. He has his eye on a girl named Charmaine but isn’t sure how to ask her out, or even what to do on the date. Lucky for him, he has three men at various stages of love and relationships willing to give him advice, even if it is unsolicited.
Always & Forever is fill of some of the biggest hits of the 1970’s “Just My Imagination”, “I’ll Be There”, “Lets Get It On”, “Everybody Plays A Fool”, “If You Don’t Know Me By Now”, and “Tears of a Clown” to name a few. This show is sure to leave you laughing, smiling, tapping your feet and clapping right along.
Always & Forever: Concert Weekend plays at the Illusion Theater in Minneapolis through September 27. For more information visit the Illusion’s website.