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Interview with Producers of Mighty Real: A Fabulous Sylvester Musical

Anthony Wayne and Kendrell Bowman

One of the best parts of writing for a queer publication is getting to chat with amazing people doing amazing things in the arts. Anthony Wayne and Kendrell Bowman are definitely two of those amazing people!

This directing, producing and authorship duo are not only partners in life, but they are the brains behind MIGHTY REAL: A Fabulous Sylvester Musical. A snapshot of the life of Sylvester, this musical snapshot of the life of Sylvester takes us on a journey to the disco king’s drive to live and love his dreams. Wayne and Bowman were sweet enough to speak with Tagg Magazine about their own journey to create this amazing show.

What was the inspiration behind “MIGHTY REAL: A Fabulous Sylvester Musical”?
MIGHTY REAL was born out of us watching TV One’s Unsung documentary on the life of Sylvester. We were inspired by his drive and motivation within himself to be true to who he was regardless of any situation.


Anthony Wayne and Kendrell Bowman

Tell us a little bit about production. How did you cast?
For Casting, we placed Anthony Wayne as Sylvester and built the cast around what we needed to tell the story in the best way vocally as well as physically. We cast two incredible singers as Martha Wash and Izora Rhodes and then added on two additional “Sylvester Singers” for more vocal fullness. To round out the cast, we have 5 fantastic band members who stay on stage and each shine in their solos.

What’s it like producing/working with your partner?
Working with your partner can be challenging at times because you continuously have to keep finding that balance between work and relationship. The biggest thing we keep continuous is communication. The more we communicate, the better things are across the board. Through that, we find time to have a personal life outside the show and that makes the balance much more manageable.

What role does race, gender, and sexuality play in this musical?
When Sylvester made his mark, there wasn’t anyone doing what he was doing at that time. These days you have Adam Lambert, RuPaul, Big Freedia and some incredible people who are continuing to push the envelop of what’s known to be “normal”. Before all of them, Sylvester was doing it to be real and his full self. He didn’t want to fall into anyone’s category and didn’t even know the impact he was making.

Let’s talk about the additional and unstoppable cast member: the music of Sylvester. What about his music speaks to you?
The music speaks to us because it’s a true testament of a time when all you had was the music, the lyrics and the beat to express how you felt. The music is truly the pulse that drives MIGHTY REAL forward. During the late seventies and early eighties, there was a sense of liberation that could only be expressed through that music and we bring that to you LIVE. To have people relive that music and new people experience it all for the first time, we count it an honor.

If you could have anyone in the audience, who would it be and why?
Anthony: My mother passed away in February 2013 and she never got to see the show, so I would love to have her in the audience. Before she passed, I was able to show her the program with the photos and bios and she was so happy. Even though she’s not here in the physical, I know she has a Front Row VIP Seat in the sky.

Kendrell: My grandmother. She was the only person who believed in me when all this was just a dream. She always told me to keep working and it will happen and unfortunately, she didn’t get to see the results of the hard work and sacrifices that were made to make this happen.

What message about the life of Sylvester do you want your audience to leave with?
We want people to leave the show knowing that no matter what situation that may occur in your life, the question is what do you do when it happens. Do you succumb to the pressure of life or do you stand strong and shine your light regardless. Sylvester was the epitome of that light and many were inspired because of his perseverance and music still shines to this day, so we are blessed to tell his story and still have everyone spreading his incredible disco heat!

What can folks expect at the show? Crowd participation encouraged?
A show that will make you laugh, cry, cheer and, before you know it, and make you want to get up and dance. We bring you back to the time of Paradise Garage and Studio 54. This is a show for everyday!

We are Co-Produced by TV/Film Legend Sheryl Lee Ralph and after sold out runs Off-Broadway NYC and San Francisco, we are excited to bring MIGHTY REAL to Washington, D.C. at The Howard Theatre on Memorial Day, May 25 for one night only at 7:00 p.m. To purchase your tickets, click here.