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‘Born for this: The Bebe Winans Story’ at the Alliance Theatre

2016 May 3

Chaz Pofahl, Kirsten Wyatt, Juan Winans, Nick Morrett, Alison Whitehurst, Gracie Jones, Kurt Boehm, Deborah Joy Winans    Photo: Greg Mooney

“Born for this: The Bebe Winans Story” is the story of the sibling Grammy Award-winning duo Bebe and Cece Winans and their start at Jim and Tammy Bakker’s Christian television program PTL Club.

The only two black singers in the band, Bebe (Juan Winans) and Cece (Deborah Joy Winans) become Jim (Chaz Pofahl) and Tammy’s (Kirsten Wyatt) favorite pets, their “golden eggs” as the two shepherd in more buzz and star power in the show.

Sometimes nepotism works, but this is one of those times it doesn’t. The real-life brother and sister playing their uncle and aunt miss the heart and soul of the real characters. Wyatt is the star of this show, as she embodies Tammy as if she were her, lighting up the stage with her excitement and crying.

There are 29 songs in the show, and the real singing sensation is Pop Winans (Milton Craig Nealy), the father of the siblings who sings a dynamic a capella version of “I Got A New Home.”

Opening night was grand in that the real BeBe Winans came on stage along with other members of his family who also sing, and Jim Bakker was there as BeBe told stories about how Jim and Tammy were always there for them and gave them so much love. Charles Randolph-Wright talked about the Bakkers and said that back when he was growing up and other celebrities came to his town they would hug the white children but not the black ones, but the Bakkers always hugged them. These types of personal stories were so touching and gave me a whole new outlook on the Bakkers.

Written by Charles Randolph-Wright and BeBe Winans, directed Randolph-Wright, “Born for This: The BeBe Winans Story” runs through May 15 at the Alliance Theatre.

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