BeBe Winans isn’t starring in “Born for This: The BeBe Winans Story,” but at a sneak preview of what to expect from the upcoming Alliance Theatre production, his deep involvement was obvious.
Sharing the Alliance stage Tuesday night with the theater’s artistic director Susan V. Booth, as well as “Born”‘s director and co-writer Charles Randolph-Wright (“Motown: The Musical”) and music supervisor Donald Lawrence, Winans cheerfully held court.
The show, which premieres at the Alliance April 13 with a run through May 15, explores the ascension of Winans and sister CeCe in the gospel music industry and how their career was propelled by the notoriously colorful Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker and their “Praise the Lord” network.
At Tuesday’s public gathering, which also included a Q&A session (most audience members who took the mic used the opportunity to thank Winans for his music or ask for career advice rather than inquire about the musical), Winans, 54, performed a trio of songs.
Nattily attired in cuffed jeans and a blazer, the creamy-voiced singer belted a warm, expressive version of “Born for This,” a song he recorded with Stephanie Mills in 2002. He also shared a duet with Alison Whitehurst about forbidden love and closed the hour-long presentation with the rousing gospel number, “Book of Life,” a new song for the musical.
“Born for This” will star Winans’ nephew and niece Juan and Deborah Joy Winans – “Two of them that I like!” he joked – as BeBe and CeCe.
Take a look and listen at some moments with Winans and Co.
BeBe Winans discusses the influence of Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker on his career:
BeBeWinans sings “Born for This”:
BeBe Winans talks about his relationship with “Born for This” director Charles Randolph-Wright:
BeBe Winans sings “Book of Life” from his new musical: