Priest Tyaire's 'Momma's Boy' touches every emotion
MIAMI – This weekend, laughter was in full supply at the James L. Knight Center, but so were inspirational messages and a range of emotions evoked by Priest Tyaire's hit stage play “Momma's Boy.”
Featuring an all-star cast, the play tells the story of Aaron (Tyaire), a black police officer on a mission to save fatherless boys and misguided young men from tough inner city streets.
The problem is, he’s so committed to saving others, he neglects his own son AJ (singer Anthony Dupree) in the process – and as the name of the play indicates, he has other major issues.
In the play, Aaron is dating fellow officer Autumn (actress Robin Givens), who falls on hard times and moves into Aaron’s home with her two sons Joseph (Gary “Lil G” Jenkins, the lead singer of ’90s R&B group Silk) and Delicious (Thomas “2Tall” Harris). Aaron realizes Autumn has spoiled her sons rotten and is determined to make ‘stand-up men’ out of them.
The problem is Aaron doesn’t realize he’s a Momma’s Boy himself – despite being told so by his ex-wife Sara (Camille Forrest). His mother Mary (R&B icon Shirley Murdock) sabotages every relationship he has because she feels no woman can take care of her son the way she does.
The star-studded cast is rounded out by the hilarious Nephew Tommy who doubles in roles as Bryce, Aaron’s partner on the force and Butterfly, Autumn’s flamboyant friend; Emmy award-winning actress Jackeè Harry as Ms. Kathy, the station receptionist and Bryce’s much older love interest; New Edition member and R&B legend Johnny Gill as Kevin, Autumn’s exboyfriend and her sons’ deadbeat dad; Chris Bolton as Nasir, a drug-dealer who keeps getting locked up who Aaron is determined to save; and award-winning Gospel sensation Anthony Brown as Kyaire, Nasir’s brother who is a big-time preacher trying convince his brother to give his life to Jesus.
The play was so entertaining the audience laughed all the way through. It was that kind of “Stop because I can’t breathe anymore” laughter, but it also had much depth to it.
The play was relatable because it touched on real-life issues that people deal with every day. Faith in God, the importance of putting family first, the inevitable downfall that comes from street life and the dangers of men letting their mothers make their significant others feel inferior were all interwoven into Tyaire’s production.
Like most stage plays, Momma’s Boy uses the genres of drama, comedy and great down-home singing to speak to these and other important themes.
At the end of the play, Tyaire came out and shared his testimony, saying he became a playwright 10 years ago because his mother had been diagnosed with cancer and he wanted to honor her by telling her story. So he penned his first play, “The Tears of a Teenage Mother.”
Though his mother passed two weeks before the play debuted, Tyaire said he realized God had gifted him after it sold out. He said people who already knew him were asking for his autograph. Tyaire also said he didn’t know he could write until he was 34 and encouraged others to never give up on their dreams no matter how old they were.
“It’s never too late. You’re never too old,” Tyaire said.
While speaking to the audience, Tyaire became emotional when paying homage to his parents and detailing his struggle. But through it all, he said he still maintains his faith. “This has been no easy journey for me. This has been 10 long years to get to Miami, Florida. I never imagined being on stage with all of these people. In my opinion the journey is better than the destination.
"Momma’s Boy" is still on a 50-city tour. To find out if Tyaire’s production is coming to your town, visit www.mommasboytheplay.com.
Priest Tyaire, Nephew Tommy and Robin Givens star in Tyaire's hit stage play "Momma's Boy."