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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP

Previewing Tyler Perry’s Atlanta-bound play

madeaIf you’re planning to see Tyler Perry’s new play when it comes to Atlanta in April, you need to be on time.

Be. On. Time.

“Sit the hell down!” Perry barked at late arrivals Tuesday night, breaking from character seconds after his entrance during the play’s stop in Macon. “Seven o’clock is seven o’clock, people! People have spent their hard-earned money to be here, and you can’t be on time.”

He was just getting started.

“Front and center. That tells me you got your ticket early, but you’re late getting here!” he bellowed at some poor unfortunate soul with cursedly good seats, pulling the prop gun from Madea’s handbag for emphasis. In a final swipe at tardiness he singled out a man who had the double bad luck to be both late and bald.

“Your head is shining like aluminum foil,” Perry shouted. “Sit the hell down!”

Moments later he tossed a box of tissues to an usher and directed that they be passed to a couple of women sitting a few rows from the stage.

“Take the gum out of your mouth,” he instructed. “You and your momma. I know that’s your momma cause y’all look alike. That’s just rude. I can’t remember the lines as it is and y’all are sitting there popping gum. And I want my tissues back!”

So began the first Georgia tour stop for “Madea’s Big Happy Family,” Perry’s first play in five years.

Written as a tribute to his late mother, the plot is simple, without a drop of subtlety. That leaves plenty of room for lots of Perry improv, to the delight of fans who have been waiting years to see him live.

The play begins as family matriarch Shirley, played by Chandra Currelley, learns the cancer she’s been fighting has become more aggressive, leaving her only a matter of weeks. With the help of Madea and sassy Aunt Bam, played by Cassi Davis, Shirley assembles her family, from dutiful daughter Joyce, played by Cheryl “Pepsii” Riley to the sticky fingered Uncle Monroe, played by Palmer Williams Jr.

A devout Christian, Shirley wants them all together so she can say goodbye on a strong note of faith but first, of course, everyone must work out their drama. The action is interspersed with powerful vocal performances and the second act meanders into a medley of old-school R&B songs.

The after-funeral scene is where Perry/Madea really gets revved up, dispensing advice on love, forgiveness and responsibility. It’s hard to detect how much is scripted. Reviews following performances in other cities suggest the show is never quite the same two nights in a row, and that Perry seems to be workshopping and performing at the same time. The seemingly spontaneous “Pants on the Ground” riff that turned up during Tuesday night’s sold-out performance at the Macon Coliseum got a mention in the Raleigh News & Observer following the play’s stop there earlier this month, for example.

“Since I’m ad-libbing,” Perry said at one point, and then launched into a mini-sermon on how people should deal with the aftermath of taking out interest-only mortgages and then suffering when the economy tanked, which he’s done elsewhere, too.

“You’ve been worrying, going to church praying about it,” Perry said. “God has sent me here with your answer: Move!”

Perry’s representatives say he has not given interviews since the December passing of his mother, Willie Maxine Perry, but more than half of Tuesday’s three-hour performance felt like a direct dialogue with the audience. At the end of the show he came onstage in a black suit and spoke for several minutes about dealing with her death, the power of faith and the importance of philanthropy. He has announced a $1 million pledge to Haiti and said he’ll travel there personally once media attention wanes. He’s accepting fans’ donations through his Web site as well.

“If you want to make your dreams come true, make someone else’s dream come true,” he said. “There is one thing you never get punished for. Giving.”

Madea’s Big Happy Family

8 p.m. April 15 and 16, 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. April 17 and 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. April 18 at the Fox Theatre. (Be on time!)

Tickets from $41.55 to $142.75

www.foxtheatre.org, www.tylerperry.com

67 comments Add your comment

HIS

February 10th, 2010
12:13 pm

Good for Tyler Perry. People are so rude in public – maybe he’ll get through to some of them.

Quake

February 10th, 2010
12:19 pm

This man is funNY! And he has a tremendous heart. His success is a symbol of his faith and I pray that God continues to be a fence around him.

MR164

February 10th, 2010
12:21 pm

“God D@mn WIRE HANGER!!!”

Sit Down Somewhere

February 10th, 2010
12:29 pm

I agree whole heartedly with Tyler Perry, people pay good money to see an event and people who seem to always have seats in the middle come in late and have to step/crawl over other guests. Your lateness disrupts the setting and is rude. I know that things come up and you may not be able to avoid being late, but some people just like to be seen and think being fashionable late is cute; well it is not so get there on time and sit down somewhere!!!

Rosalind

February 10th, 2010
12:54 pm

I really wanted to see this play, as I think it might be his last one with Madea, and I’ve never seen one of Tyler Perry’s plays live. However, after reading this article, I’ll pass. As rude as it is for people to show up late to the plays, it’s more rude – and embarrassing – for Tyler to yell at them from the stage. One comment maybe, in a joking way, I could see. But, to launch into a lecture? And then to demand that someone stop chewing gum?

People pay their “good money” to be on time, but the people who are late ALSO paid “good money” and two wrongs don’t make a right. It’s a shame when people get so “big” that they think they can shame and disrespect others with impunity, as seems to be the case with TP. He needs to remember that the same people who put him where he is now can put him right back where he used to be.

bill

February 10th, 2010
1:08 pm

they should do like in NYC. You are late you dont get in.

BackandAtIt

February 10th, 2010
1:08 pm

I live in Macon and not too far from where the play was being held and I totally agree with Tyler Perry. I didn’t make it to the show but was driviing and wondering where everybody was going @ 7 o’clock. Traffic was bad and I thought to myself that I hope the play starts at 7:30 because there were a lot of people late as hell. My thinking is why would you spend your hard earned money to see the play and come late.

Maconga

February 10th, 2010
1:09 pm

Obviously Perry was not stuck in traffic like everyone else. Macon Police were no where to be found at traffic lights all around the Macon Coliseum. It was taking 45 minutes to go less than 2 miles. Very poor planning.

ACE

February 10th, 2010
1:12 pm

What a gay man getting bitchy? no f#$%ing way, that’s gotta’ be a first

ACE

February 10th, 2010
1:17 pm

It amazes me that people even find him funny. I guess the same joke over and over an over is funny to some people

Voice of Reason

February 10th, 2010
1:21 pm

@Rosiland. He did not just start the practice of chastising late comers. He did it in the plays long before he hit it big and it was a big part of the show. Sometimes we take ourselves too serious and fail to see the comedic truth to alot of what is being said. It is hard enough to memorize lines in a play and when you are disrupted due to people showing up late he improvises with the chastising. It is all done in fun never meant to demean anyone in my opinion. It is like going to a comedy club and becoming the butt of a few of the comedians jokes. You become a part of the show. Lighten up and go see the damn show and have a good time while you are at it.

Caitlin

February 10th, 2010
1:24 pm

I went to the play last night, and I arrived at the entrance to the coliseum parking lot at 6:15, thinking I had plenty of time. I didn’t get in to the building until 7:10 because there’s only one entrance and traffic was terrible. Most of the people who were late were just late because of traffic, not because they were slackers, people. But I’m with Tyler Perry on this: it is really annoying when people get there really late and have to jump over people who got to the play on time. I felt really bad for the folks sitting near the entrance to the floor seats because they were getting blocked and stepped on for the first 30 minutes of the show.

tankandtank

February 10th, 2010
1:28 pm

It is impressive to me that he is going to Haiti after the media attention clams down. seems like he is doing it for the right reasons not publicity.

null

February 10th, 2010
1:35 pm

The guy is a douche and the crap he writes is genuinely unfunny. His movies are godawful and the 3 people his TV shows cater to should be shot. How this guy ever got famous remains an absolute mystery.

Natha

February 10th, 2010
1:36 pm

ACE: Maybe you should provide proof of your statement before saying that Tyler Perry is gay. You could be sued, Duh!!!! And if he is, that is none of your blankety blank business.

Marion

February 10th, 2010
1:38 pm

This is what I want to do/go for my birthday

Niya

February 10th, 2010
1:38 pm

@ Rosalind I will take your tickets sweetie! Tyler Perry has a way of using his humor and gift to educate, encourage, and motivate others (messgage). He is an ENTERTAINER, that’s his job. When anyone shows up to a comedy show with ‘comedians/ entertainers’ are they not talked about then? But it’s okay for an average comedian, just not the very wealthy Tyler Perry? I will be in attendance hoping that someone dare to show up late.

gladaboutthat

February 10th, 2010
1:41 pm

Thanks Mr. Perry.

ATLworker

February 10th, 2010
1:44 pm

why do so many of you people pop your gum every other second of the day when in public? Do that at home or in the car. It is annoying as hell to listen to all day at work.

Tyler "Transgender" Perry

February 10th, 2010
1:44 pm

Is this a great country or what? Where else can a man of my size, dress up as a woman for sexual pleasure, then get paid MILLIONS of dollars?

Tyler "Perpetuate Racial Stereotypes" Perry

February 10th, 2010
1:47 pm

And another thing. I can make fun of black people being obese, lazy and dumb and get away with it! Try that in Hollywood.

ACE

February 10th, 2010
1:48 pm

NATHA-I think it’s funny that you think I could be sued for calling a gay man gay. And then saying DUH, is just the icing on the idiot cake
you baked

Jennifer Brett

February 10th, 2010
1:54 pm

His “calling people out” definitely got laughs. Perry/Madea did it in a bold but funny way.

I got there at 6 p.m. last night and I was glad I did! The parking lot was just starting to fill up and I parked close to the EXIT, with my car pointing in the right direction for a snappy escape. I was able to hop into my car and zoom onto I-16 and then I-75 in no time. It looked like some motorists were going to be spending quite a while just getting out of the parking lot!

Calvin G. Sims, Sr.

February 10th, 2010
1:57 pm

Buffoonery with a positive message. I once hated Tyler Perry for the Buffoonery, but once I focused on his message, I love him. Go Tyler. And God bless your mother, may she rest in peace.

ACE

February 10th, 2010
2:00 pm

OH LOOK, he’s being all sassy and wearing a dress. He was funnier and more talented when he went by his birth name- Nell Carter!

Tyler Perry

February 10th, 2010
2:04 pm

I can WHUP Ru Paul’s ass!

Jean

February 10th, 2010
2:05 pm

There is nothing worse, then being at an event and someone shows up “fashionably late” to show off their outfit, hairdo, etc. I’m glad that Tyler has the courage to call them out. As for the gum chewers/snappers, please know that this is unacceptable and an indication that you have cavities. No one wants to try and talk over you with your loud gum snapping. As for the rest of you, if you don’t want to go see Tyler Perry then don’t go, for those of us that like him we far out number you.

ACE

February 10th, 2010
2:07 pm

RU PAUL Would whip TP’s ass

Jennifer Brett

February 10th, 2010
2:10 pm

Oh speaking of RuPaul, here is a release about an upcoming appearance in Atlanta:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Supermodel of the World RuPaul Signs “Workin It” at Outwrite Tuesday, February 16
Atlanta (January 29, 2010) The world’s most famous drag queen and former Atlantan, RuPaul visits Outwrite Bookstore & Coffeehouse on TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 16, at 7:30 p.m., to sign copies of the new book WORKIN’ IT! RuPaul’s Guide to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Style (It Books). Outwrite is located at 991 Piedmont Ave., at the corner of Tenth St. in Midtown Atlanta, 404-607-0082. This is a line ticket event. Tickets are free and are given out with purchase of the book. RuPaul’s latest book is entitled “Workin’ It: RuPaul’s Guide to Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Style,” while the second season of the global phenomenon “RuPaul’s Drag Race” will premiere on LOGO February 1, 2010. rupaul.com

Tyler's #1 Fan

February 10th, 2010
2:21 pm

Tyler,

Keep allowing these “HATERS” to be your motivators. Only God can take away what “HE” gave you. We, didn’t put Tyler where he is, God did. Do you know the Lord? If you did then you would know that we are nothing and can’t do anything without him. Tyler continue to give God his glory and praise and he will continue to take you places that you could never imagine. God will use these “HATERS” as your foot stool (What God ordains, he will maintain). God Bless You, and keep you as you travel this journey as a vessel for God. Keep your head up. Only God can judge you. Man can’t put you in heaven nor hell. Keep puttin it down, MADEA!!! My prayers will and always be with you.

Wait......

February 10th, 2010
2:30 pm

How do you know god is male? How do you even know god exists? And why do Christians walk around with a cross around their neck? Do you think if Jesus does return, he will want to see another cross?

Just sayin…..

Also

February 10th, 2010
2:32 pm

People are not paying good money to see these plays. They are using their credit cards, defaulting on the payment and making the tax payer bail out the banks.

TheStandard

February 10th, 2010
2:34 pm

This is what you get when your fanbase doesn’t go to anything that’s live theatre other than TPC.

Ray Nagen

February 10th, 2010
2:45 pm

What is TPC?

CathyD

February 10th, 2010
2:46 pm

You Go, Tyler – I’m Impressed at your comment!

SPEAKING ON GODS BEHALF

February 10th, 2010
3:06 pm

To Wait Q.How do you even know god exists? Wait…..who woke you up this morning? Who started you on your way? Who takes you through everyday? Who told you to do jokes because they are not funny…just saying

Wait......

February 10th, 2010
3:09 pm

That’s your proof? Because I woke up? And if I didn’t wake up, then there is no god? My father died in his sleep so based upon your logic(laughable) there is NO god.

Wait......

February 10th, 2010
3:11 pm

And if god is so good, explain Haiti. I fail to see ANY good from an earthquake that killed over 30,000 people.

Jose

February 10th, 2010
3:46 pm

$142.75? HELL to the NO!

kowboi

February 10th, 2010
4:09 pm

Wait.. You have the right first name and your last name should be “And See”. You sir are confused. The same way you attribute so much to the non-existence of God other people should be allowed to express their beliefs as well. After all atheism is a form of religion too. I just don’t want to attend your church. Do something positive in your life to help someone else while rising to great wealth and you’ll see how many people come after you. People only hate when you’re doing great. When you’re broke and depressed like you and Gary Coleman nothing brings you joy. Maybe you should take the initiative to travel forward through time 5 years and come back to 2010 and tell us what Tyler Perry’s doing compared to what you’re doing. I’m pretty sure he’ll still be rich and you’ll still be a bitch!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Nuff said

Wait......

February 10th, 2010
4:12 pm

Who pissed in your cornflakes? If you’re a Christian, shouldn’t you be forgiving?

Hey Wait....

February 10th, 2010
4:14 pm

Wait….you took the words right out of my mouth!

Black women shouldn't drive

February 10th, 2010
4:28 pm

Gotta love a gay black man going off. That was worth the admission to me!

Can Wait

February 10th, 2010
4:28 pm

Love Tyler Perry, and I can’t wait to see his play. Heathens that don’t like him…SHUT THE H*ll UP!!!

Tee

February 10th, 2010
4:29 pm

@ Rosalind,

It seems that he did his rebuke of the late-comers as “Madea” in full costume as her. This is typical Madea. There is not one Madea play/film where “she” is not getting on some (unfortunate) soul about his/her shortcomings. Relax. This is what is expected of Madea. :-)

MrsThang

February 10th, 2010
4:41 pm

Am glad that Madea is calling out late comers, that is so rude to be late, if you are late you should just sit in the back.(this is just to entertain the audience Madea does not mean any harm personally) I understand that sometimes you can not help being late but come on people this happens all the time in Georgia. I know because am an Usher and am the one that has to help late-comers crawl over the ones that are on time to get to there seats and I hate that. It makes me feel like am the one that was late.

Mr. Perry please keep up the good work and for those that think Madea is not funny, probably have NO SENSE OF HUMOR.

Am sure that the people that get called out for being late get a big kick out of being reconized.

accessAtlanta

February 10th, 2010
4:44 pm

Tee, I think you have nailed it. The diatribe was very much “in character” and was delivered in a humorous, tough-love fashion. In fact, I think secretly Perry/Madea might be a tiny bit disappointed if there were no late comers to holler at! But don’t quote me… I don’t want to get on Madea’s bad side!

accessAtlanta

February 10th, 2010
4:46 pm

Mrs. Thang, I bet you’re right and that bald man with his head “shining like aluminum foil” probably told all his friends today that Perry/Madea singled him out!

kowboi

February 10th, 2010
4:53 pm

Wait…..I never said what I am. You assume by my position that I’m either or, nay or neither, alpha or omega. Better yet am I the clock or the hands on the clock showing your dumb ass what time it is? However I do forgive your intolerance for success as you should acknowledge my intolerance for ignorance based on your lack of research. You sir are wading in 10 feet of water wearing cinderblock drawers. Therefore at this time I shall disengage for lack of challenge.

Nuff said

Justine

February 10th, 2010
5:47 pm

Thank you Tyler. It makes me mad to be at a play and people walk in late like it is a movie. And no it is not limited to Blacks and Latinos or poor whites. But worse than that is people who crack, pop or smack gum and sometimes food in public. Bad manners is bad manners. Sometimes I believe the theatre has become no more than a high priced movie.