The City will be getting mighty real when Sylvester comes to town this week.
It’s not the dance super star that was a pioneer for LGBT artists back in the 1970s, in which his flamboyant persona and costumes made him an icon to up-and-coming gay performers and a beloved talent with an impressive client base.
A true rags to riches story, Sylvester’s career really took off when he was in San Francisco. So his return will be magical. Alas, his actual return would have to involve some sort of magic as Sylvester passed away from AIDS in the late 1980s. His torch has been picked in the form of a wonderful, energy filled story of his life entitled “Mighty Real: A Fabulous Sylvester Musical,” playing at the Brava Theatre through March 13, 2016.
With his commitment to the show, not only as star but as producer and writer as well, one would think Wayne grew up loving Sylvester. But in reality “we didn’t even know of Sylvester until we saw TV One’s “Unsung” documentary on his life. Since then, we have been Sylvester fanatics,” says Wayne, with the other part of the “we” being his partner Kendrell Bowman, who is the show’s director, producer and costume designer.
Since then, “I have spent a LOT of hours and days watching his performances, reading books about him, speaking to those who knew him and listening to ALL of his music,” Wayne says. “Developing the essence that is Sylvester has taken
me years to really get under my belt and I consider each show a new level of discovery. It’s a true relationship with each audience member that makes each show experience new and fresh every time.”
A lot has changed since their last appearance in San Francisco. “We meet with Sylvester’s family, friends and many people who worked with him to include so much more story in the show,” says Wayne. “We’ve always added new songs, costumes and sets and more lights,” he adds, pointing out they are continuing to develop the show’s overall look to prepare it for Broadway.
One of Sylvester’s good friends (and background singer), Martha Wash, has gone onto her own career including having the gay dance anthem “It’s Raining Men.” She is well represented in the show by Jacqueline B. Arnold, who is one of the great assets to the amazing ensemble (which have all stayed with the show since its creation). The real Wash has yet to see as it conflicts with her schedule but she’s aware of it and Wayne says she’s a supporter of the show and recommends it to others.
To get tickets, CD or more information on the show’s future, go to www.fabuloussylvester.com.