|GMC TV Presents the Original World Premiere Stage Play 'What Would You Do For Love' Part One of a Two-Part Romantic Dramedy Starring Christian Keyes, Gabrielle Dennis, Jason Weaver, Vanessa Simmons, Carl Payne, Shanti Lowry and Suveria Mota
5/4/2013 2:56:15 PM
ATLANTA, GA – GMC TV, America’s favorite channel for uplifting family entertainment, presents the original GMC World Premiere Stage Play “What Would You Do For Love” (www.watchgmctv.com/stageplay, #StagePlay), the first of a two-part romantic dramedy starring Christian Keyes (What’s Done In The Dark, Madea Goes To Jail), Gabrielle Dennis (“The Game”), Jason Weaver (Drumline, ATL), Vanessa Simmons (Dysfunctional Friends, “Run’s House”), Carl Payne (“Martin,” “The Game”), Shanti Lowry (“The Game,” “The Closer”) and Suveria Mota (Larry Crowne, “Glee”). “What Would You Do For Love” makes its world television premiere exclusively on GMC TV on Saturday, May 11 at 7 p.m., 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. ET/PT.
Imagine how your life would change if you woke up with $10 million dollars in the bank. When the dust settled, one of your biggest questions might be, “How could you trust the new people coming into your life from that moment on?” Based on an original screenplay written by Siddeeqah “Sid” Powell (GMC’s NAACP Image Award nominated Somebody’s Child) and directed by Drue Powell (Somebody’s Child, “For Richer or Poorer” Series), “What Would You Do For Love” focuses on Reggie Brooks (Christian Keyes), an average single guy and fitness trainer at neighborhood gym Fit & Fab, who’s having fun with co-workers Stanley (Carl Payne), a struggling comedian, and Raquel (Suveria Mota), a sassy Dominican. Reggie’s good looks and charm have always worked in his favor, overshadowing the fact that he essentially lives paycheck to paycheck. After being notified that he has come into a lump sum of money years after his parents’ death during the tragedy of 9/11, Reggie decides that it’s best to keep his new 1% status under wraps. Still, he confides in his life-of-the-party childhood friend Troy Drummond (Jason Weaver) and Troy’s spirited wife Piper (Vanessa Simmons).
Tired of hearing Reggie whine about meeting a good woman, Troy and Piper challenge him to go on a dating blitz in an attempt to find a wife in 30 days or less – before the gold diggers descend. They enlist the help of Piper’s sister Paula (Gabrielle Dennis), a self-absorbed certified matchmaker, who introduces Reggie to the fortuitously-named Lucky James (Shanti Lowry), among others. But after Reggie’s “anonymous” million dollar donation to the local Boys & Girls Club comes to light, will he really be able to find a woman that loves him for who he is and not his financial prowess? And what happens when Reggie ends up with not one, but two viable romantic candidates? All combined, it forces him to confront the big question: “What Would You Do For Love”?
“We love working with Atlanta’s very own Sid Powell and absolutely loved this script,” says Leslie Glenn Chesloff, GMC TV’s executive vice president of programming. “After discovering Sid through 2011’s The American Black Film Festival’s GMC Faith and Family Screenplay competition and bringing the hit Somebody’s Child to GMC, we’re proud to continue to support her strong, funny, unique voice with “What Would You Do For Love.’”
“What Would You Do For Love” continues in part two of the play, entitled “Love Will Find A Way,” premiering on June 1, 2013.
GMC’s “What Would You Do For Love” is produced by Swirl Films’ Eric Tomosunas, who has produced and taped numerous stage plays and feature-length films for television and DVD, including 35 & Ticking, Love for Sale, A Mother’s Prayer, There’s a Stranger in My House, “Love Will Keep Us Together,” “Love Me or Leave Me,” “The Ideal Husband,” “The Love You Save” and “Sugar Mommas.” Follow Swirl Films on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Swirl-Films-Inc/178293836335 and Twitter on @SwirlFilms.
“What Would You Do For Love” is the fourteenth original stage play to air in GMC TV’s hit World Premiere Stage Play series following the success of GMC productions “Love Will Keep Us Together,” “Between Sisters,” “Love Me or Leave Me,” “The Ideal Husband,” “She’s Not Our Sister,” “The Love You Save,” the NAACP-nominated “Sugar Mommas,” “If You Really Love Me,” “For Richer For Poorer,” “From This Day Forward,” “In Sickness and In Health,” “To Love and To Cherish,” and “Community Service.” GMC is the only network producing this popular medium and introducing new, original works to a broad television audience.
ABOUT THE CAST
Christian Keyes (@ChristianKeyes) was born in Detroit, MI. He is a humble, hardworking, and driven young man. An experienced actor and singer, Christian is currently recurring on BET’s “Let’s Stay Together,” which began airing January 2012. He was labeled by Tyler Perry as, “one of the most consistent male actors I’ve ever worked with.” Keyes has done more than 40 stage productions and more than 1,200 theatrical shows. He has performed live in front of more than 4 million people while touring the country with several national stage plays. He was the lead in Tyler Perry’s What’s Done In The Dark and Madea Goes To Jail. The DVDs for these productions were released and distributed nationally by Lionsgate Films and have since sold over 1 million copies. From acting and singing opposite of Brian McKnight, Shirley Murdock, Cheryl Pepsi Riley, Anthony Hamilton, Lyfe Jennings, Avant and David & Tamela Mann. Christian is a seasoned stage veteran and has great stage presence. He also has other TV, film and soundtrack projects in the works and has written several screenplays and pilots for television.
Christian is currently recording his 3rd independent CD, and has sold more than 25,000 with the first two CDs, “Day By Day” and “Personal.” He has a large fan-base and his website christiankeyes.com has had more than 8 million verifiable hits since 2005.
Christian has recently graced the covers of several national and online magazines, and has been featured in many others. He currently has several national ads in GQ, Elle, Men’s Journal and Vogue, and has more in the upcoming months. He was also the lead in Ashanti’s video, “The Way That I Love You,” which was nominated for video of the year in 2008. In addition, Christian was the lead in videos for Ledisi’s “In The Morning” and for Keri Hilson’s “Energy.” He has starred in videos for Brittany Spears, Mariah Carey, Busta Rhymes, Nelly and many others.
Christian was named one the 50 most eligible bachelors in the country by Ebony Magazine. He has had 3 national selling calendars, and was in the nationally selling Jet Magazine Men’s Calendar.
He has been in more than 10 national commercials (Tide, Nike, Acura, Little Caesar’s, NCAA, Braids & Locks and more), with three running currently. Previously, Christian starred in Love Me Or Leave Me, with Terri J. Vaughn, Clifton Powell, Carl Payne; The Perfect Man, with Jasmine Lewis, Elise Neal and Maya Gilbert; Lord, All Men Can’t Be Dogs, with Vivica Fox and Jonny Gill; and The Bachelor Party, with Lamman Rucker and Essence Atkins. He also starred in Perfect Combination, a nationally released Tri Destined Studios/IMAGE DVD film, “Love Me or Leave Me,” and The CW’s “Beauty and the Beast.” Furthermore, Christian was also the lead in We Are Family, a Tri Destined feature film, and Dysfunctional Friends, a feature film. He will be seen next in the upcoming films Act Like You Love Me, Monica, and Beautiful Destroyer.
Since 2008, film and television actress Gabrielle Dennis (@GabrielleDennis) had a recurring role on BET series “The Game.” Raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, Dennis attended Howard University where she earned a degree in theater. Dennis' first acting role came in 1990 in the television movie “A Mom for Christmas,” starring Olivia Newton-John. From 1998 to 2000, she served as host on “Teen Summit,” a teenage talk show that aired on BET. In 2006, she appeared on Damon Wayans' sketch comedy show “The Underground.” Dennis also appeared on Disney Channel’s “Shake It Up.”
In 2008, Dennis won the role of Janay, friend of Malik Wright (Hosea Chanchez) and soon-to-be live-in girlfriend of Derwin Davis (Pooch Hall) on the CW series “The Game.” She also has had roles in the direct-to-DVD film Bring It On: Fight to the Finish, Hollywood Horror, and The Marc Pease Experience starring Ben Stiller.
Previously, she starred in Spike TV's “Blue Mountain State” as Craig Shilo's girlfriend. Dennis was also in a 2011 commercial for State Farm Insurance, starring Selita Ebanks and former “The Game” co-star, Mehcad Brooks.
JASON MICHAEL WEAVER
Born on July 18, 1979 in Chicago, Illinois, Jason Weaver (@itsJasonWeaver) has always been surrounded by the world of entertainment. His mother Kitty Haywood, a legendary studio singer, encouraged his pursuit of singing as well as acting. Being surrounded by the some of the best entertainers to date, Jason learned some of the most intricate works of the industry and found himself even more intrigued and driven in his goal of stardom.
Weaver got his break in acting as a kid named Ernie, in the movie, "The Kid Who Loved Christmas." By the age of 12, Jason had appeared in two other projects; The Long Walk Home, a film by Whoopi Goldberg, and "Brewster's Place," a television series produced by Oprah Winfrey. Having been successful in his previous three roles, it was imminent that this young man's career would be of legendary status. In 1992, Weaver landed the role of a lifetime. He was cast to play the young and most talented Michael Jackson in the small screen film, "The Jackson's: An American Dream." This made for television movie garnered him raved reviews and proved to be a launching pad for other areas of his career.
1993 branded Weaver in one of the two most notable roles of his career. Playing alongside Brandy in the television series "Thea," Jason continued his acting success until the abrupt cancellation of the show later that year. Weaver landed a role in one of the top Disney film's in 1994. Jason was blessed with the opportunity to display his other talent; singing. He graced us with his passionate sound as the singing voice of Simba in the box office hit, The Lion King. In 1997, he continued his on screen success as teenage sibling, Marcus Henderson, in the hit television series "Smart Guy."
After a two-year hiatus, Jason was back at it with a role in the civil rights movie, Freedom Song, starring Danny Glover and Loretta Divine. The turn of the millennium also brought about a huge turn in Weaver's career. In 2002, he enjoyed a highly successful role as “Earnest” in the mega hit movie Drumline, opposite Nick Cannon. The movie was set in Jason's hometown of Atlanta. In 2004, Weaver followed the success of Drumline with a role in The Lady Killers, starring Tom Hanks.
In 2006, Jason Weaver was back in Atlanta to shoot ATL, starring T.I. The Chris Robinson film was set in a roller rink and depicted the life of a teenage male that deals with the everyday struggles of finance, school, and friendship, but finds solace in a female that he meets at the roller rink he frequents. Let it be known that TI's female costar is not as she appears. The movie was a huge box office success.
In addition to Jason's enormous success as an actor, he sets his site on his other love, music. After releasing only one of his two albums with Motown in the early 90s, Weaver enjoyed short lived success from "Love Ambition." He has since refocused his energy and dedication to long hours in the studio in pursuit of his musical dreams. The 2004 hit, "One Call Away" by Chingy, featured a rejuvenated Weaver singing the hook. This single topped the Billboard 100 chart at #2 in the U.S and #26 in the UK. In late 2006, Jason worked with BG on his new album and did several collaborations with close friend and super producer/writer Roger "Mista Raja" Green on his album, "Chip off the Ol' Block.” Jason released his second album, entitled, "Declaration of Independence," in 2007.
With Weaver's long list of accomplishments in his star career, many power hitters in the entertainment industry suggest that this Hollywood story is only at its midpoint.
Vanessa Simmons (@NessaSimmons) is an actress/fashion designer/TV personality who you may remember from the MTV series “Run’s House” and spinoff “Daddy’s Girls” with her sister Angela Simmons. Since the show’s end in 2009, Vanessa has continued her career as an actress. She can be seen next in Hollywood Chaos with Tangi Miller. She’s also had roles in such films as Boogie Town, Speed Dating and Dysfunctional Friends. In addition, she had a memorable story arc on the soap opera “Guiding Light,” and booked a lead role in the BET pilot “Young Man on Campus.”
In addition to acting, she has a very successful clothing line with her sister called Pastry, and is in the process of creating her own fashion line “Rose by Vanessa Jean.”
Carl Anthony Payne (@thecarlpayne), a successful actor, comedian, producer and director, was born on May 24, 1969 in the small town of Clinton, SC. He began working towards his acting career at a young age by studying at the First All Children’s Theater, which was an off Broadway reparatory Theater company. He then attended Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts in New York, and moving on to Howard University in Washington, D.C. Carl is best known for his recurring roles as Theo Huxtable’s best friend “Cockroach” on the ever popular and classic NBC’s hit series, “The Cosby Show,” and as “Cole Brown” on the FOX network TV series “Martin.”
As a long-time resident of Los Angeles, Carl has remained on top of his acting and performing career by taking part in various stage plays and TV series around the country. He played the role as “Reynaldo St. James” on the popular BET series “The Game,” as the male escort of “Tasha Mac.” He has directed and produced music videos, web series and short films, all while continuing to showcase his stand-up comedy in different cities. Most recently, Carl starred in GMC’s “For Richer or For Poorer,” starring Letoya Luckett and Rockmond Dunbar.
Aside from being on the big screen, Carl’s commitment to community enrichment and charitable organizations is never ending. His advice to young aspiring actors and professionals: “Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did.”
Shanti Lowry (@ShantiLowry) is most recognizable as ‘Dionne’ from the hit series “The Game.” She has also been seen on a number of TV series including “Don’t Trust The B---- In Apartment 23,” “Make It Or Break It,” “Love That Girl,” “Shark, “Girlfriends” and “NYPD Blue.” This summer, Shanti was most recently seen in a recurring role on the final season of TNT’s “The Closer.”
On the film front, Shanti can be seen opposite Anthony Mackie and Jackie Earle Haley, in Bolden! This biopic tale details Charles “Buddy” Bolden, a New Orleans cornettist who influenced jazz and music legends such as Louis Armstrong. The film is directed by Daniel Pritzker and executive produced by Wynton Marsalis. Her character, “Grace Lamennais,” is the subject of a companion silent film, entitled Louis also starring Jackie Earle Haley.
For GMC, Shanti starred in “The Ideal Husband” opposite Darrin Henson, Jackee Harry and Ginuwine.
Shanti’s other feature credits include the ensemble romantic film The Coalition, the Sundance film D.E.B.S, and Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle, starring Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore and Lucy Liu.
Shanti grew up in Boulder, CO and began her career as a professional dancer, securing a coveted spot as a member of Carmen Electra’s “Pussycat Dolls.” She has also performed in music videos such as NSYNC’s “Pop,” Blu Cantrell’s “Hit ‘Em up Style (Oops!),” and 112’s “Peaches ‘n Cream.” Shanti’s stage work includes MTV Movie Awards, Chaka Khan in Concert, and the Earth Wind and Fire Tour. Shanti also tours with a national convention, teaching hip-hop, lyrical, and salsa. She currently lives in the Los Angeles area with her husband.
Within three months of moving to Hollywood, Dominican-born actress Suveria Mota (@SuveriaMota) joined SAG and AFTRA. She earned her credentials by working as a stand-in on top-rated television series and films which included "Glee," Burlesque, "Honey 2," Larry Crowne, and "Spores." Not one to let grass grow under her feet, she continued to hone her craft by taking acting and production classes, all the while auditioning for major parts. Her hard work paid off as Suveria now has a starring role in Swirl Films’ “What Would You Do for Love.”
Born in Santo Domingo, in the Dominican Republic, the bilingual beauty with an exotic look has put her Spanish language skills to good use in Producer/Director Lamonte Moore’s animated cult film, “Las Pandillas de Los Angeles,” as well as being seen on stage in the Dominican Republic theatrical play, “Madres & Heronias.” She has also done guest spots on the web series’ “Screensters” and “Bridges to Bridges.”
Suveria Mota moved to New York City at the age of four. Her abilities as a dancer found her performing all over the city while in High School, but acting was always her true calling. She attended Lehman College and graduated with a degree in Speech Pathology and Audiology, and a minor in English Literature. Suveria’s ear for language, grace as a dancer, beautiful exotic look and cosmopolitan outlook bodes well for her success in Hollywood.
ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS
DRUE POWELL (DIRECTOR)
Born on September 19, 1975 in St. Louis, Drue Powell has always been interested in pursuing a career in film. Having held various parts and roles throughout his childhood, he was more interested in the production aspect of movies and shows after being an extra in the movie Panthers directed by Mario Van Peeples. While attending college at UCLA, he learned Cinema photography, directing and editing. Powell has also gained experience and knowledge of the ins and out of films & television shows, having worked various jobs including set production assistant, assistant production coordinator, production coordinator, assistant cameraman, assistant director, and director, that helped shape his past 19 years in the industry. In his professional career, he has worked on over 30 features films, including Ace Ventura 2, The Whole 10 Yards, 7 Pounds, Beauty Shop, Big Mama's House 2, Domino, Gattaca, and Win a Date with Tad Hamilton, and has worked on over 20 television shows, including “Parenthood,” “The Mentalist,” “The Witches of Eastwick,” “American Dreams,” and “Heroes.” His most recent work includes GMC TV’s NAACP nominated feature film Somebody's Child, as well as various Original World Premiere Stage Plays, including the “For Richer or Poorer” Series, “Community Service,” “Between Sisters” and “Love Will Keep Us Together.”
ERIC TOMOSUNAS (PRODUCER)
Over the course of 15 years, Eric Tomosunas has created a name for himself as a film producer and businessman within the urban entertainment industry. Under his production company Swirl Films, he spearheads the supervision and execution of production elements, and managing all distribution agreements with Image Entertainment, First Look Entertainment, Warner Brothers, Melee Entertainment, E1 formerly KOCH and Code Black. Recent original productions include: the NAACP Image Award nominated original movie Somebody’s Child, starring Michael Jai White (Outstanding Actor in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special), Byron Minns, Nadine Ellis, Clifton Powell and Lynn Whitfield; and the stage play, “Sugar Mommas,” (Outstanding Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special) starring Terri J. Vaughn, Vanessa Williams, Rachel True, Lamman Rucker and Tommy Ford, both of which were produced for GMC TV. Other original productions include Love For Sale, a romantic comedy starring Jackie Long, Jason Weaver, Mya and Melyssa Ford; and 35 & Ticking, a feel good romantic comedy starring Kevin Hart, Nicole Ari Parker, Keith Robinson, Tamela Jones and Darius McCrary. He has also produced several home video and theatrical titles including The Under Shepherd, a 2012 ABFF Official Selection and winner of ABFF Grand Jury Awards for Best Narrative Feature, Best Director (Russ Parr) and Best Actor (Malinda Williams). With over 35 original productions in the past five years, and award nominated movies and plays, Tomosunas’ earlier work included ADR for Screen Gems Studio on projects such as the WB's TV Series “Dawson’s Creek” and films Swordfish, A Walk to Remember and Little Vampires.
SIDDEEQAH POWELL (SCREENWRITER)
New Yorker by birth, Siddeeqah “Sid” Powell migrated to Atlanta at the age of seven, going on to secure a College Track Scholarship to Georgia Tech. In 1997, Sid graduated from Tech receiving her BS in Management and headed down the unbeaten path 2 years later sparking her writing career. After enjoying great success as a fiction novelist as the co-author of The Key Party, She’s Just a Friend and The Makeup of a Woman, Sid took on the beast of live stage production. In 2009, “Pass It Down,” a stage play that she wrote and produced, premiered at The Historical Strand Theatre in Marietta, Ga. to a full house.
In 2011, she settled into her sweet spot as a Screenplay Writer with the NAACP Image Award nominated TV movie, Somebody’s Child starring Lynn Whitfield, Michael Jai White, and Clifton Powell. As the owner of SIDPo Productions, a company created to house her works; this dynamic woman maintains a well-rounded arsenal of scripts for feature and short films as well as made-for-TV movies. She’s a self-taught scribe on a mission and strives to help others find success in the industry under her organization WCEF (Women Changing Everything In Film). Sid Powell’s tenacity, dedication, and faith in creating stories that entertain and educate the masses assert her unshakeable belief; she will one day be recognized as the first African American woman to win an Oscar for Best Writer.
Source via Black PR Newswire