The year was 1998 and the show was “BLIND LEMON: PRINCE OF COUNTRY BLUES” Co-Written by Akin Babatunde and Alan Govenar. Rehearsals were at The Documentary Arts and the plays debut was at Dallas’ Majestic Theater – inside of The Black Box Theater, (a cozy & quaint venue located on the basement level) and I was the newest member of the casted ensemble. There was Liz Mikel, Eric Allen, Ms. Norma Miller (choreographer who taught me how to do the SOFT SHOE), Cynthia Jackson, Slim, David Peaston, Benita Arterberry Cavin Yarbrough, Alisa Peoples Yarbrough, Walter Fauntleroy, and countless others whose names escape me right now, including the graceful dancers from Bruce Wood Dance Company [Fort Worth, TX].
Good times. I learned a lot, especially from Liz and Cynthia, but none did I learn from more than Obba’s brother, Akin Babatunde.
Whose Obba? No you didn’t. He’s just one of the strongest and longest career working black actors to date. It’s true. Did you know Obba was on “ALL MY CHILDREN” in 1987? I was too young to be involved in all of that at the time, but research is ‘a mother’ and LONGEVITY is KEY. 😉
Obba’s brother is a legendary Acting Coach & Theatrical Director. Personally Akin’s acting workshops took me to places I’d never known (in my mind or in character). ‘Talk about getting lost in a script? Awesome! Regardless of the scenario, the era, or the scene: I was there. Full on and committed. As if Akin would have you any other way. It’s either full commitment or get off his stage.
Akin is from NY and is of BROADWAY (to off-Broadway, Regional Film & TV) STOCK and is not the type of guy that would ‘kid you’ or comes off as someone ‘who wants to be kidded around with’ when it comes to writing, directing, or the craft of acting and as a result of ☛ ☛ ☛ ☛ his productions are nothing less than brilliant. Stunningly and Creatively BRILLIANT!
One of the proudest moments in my theatrical history came at meeting Akin, being casted in “BLIND LEMON: Prince of Country Blues” [3 year run] and workshopping the historical based project (for what seemed like years) under his direction in its early stages of development. We explored deep depths and reached crazy heights during the process.
BLIND LEMON: Prince of Country blues lead the way for us to perform live on many dates, at many venues all over the world. The award nominations and winning receptions were thick. I’ve done quite a bit of theatrical performances prior and afterward – but this experience, by far, was the greatest of them all. I learned much and knowledge is irrefutable. Many thanks to Akin Babatunde, Alan Govenar and Kelita Doolan! I’ll never forget…
Life changing stuff that a girl could never forget.
Watermarked by a Babatunde — to my benefit.
It’s funny how one thought immediately leads to another,
I actually started out thinking about writing on that ICE CUBE brother.
That thought lead me to review her acting resume & comedy shows – she’d been cast,
and that lead me to reminiscing about past laughs at her on UPN’s HALF & HALF.
Anywho – Essence & Rach’ were half sisters on UPN’s ‘modern URBAN family’ convey
and their casted commonality father figure was the dynamic Obba Babatunde.
Of course thinking about Obba, naturally lead me to hover
in thoughts about my theater fam and his fantastic brother
whose known for multiple achievements and is still going on strong.
One of my favorite exhibitions of AKIN is in PBS’: WISHBONE.
Him and that dang dog had it going on.
I thank God for all that is good and for the degrees of seperation that do connect us,
Still stunned by fates opportunitic sum – having studied under Akin in Texas.