That Old Black Magic

Tyler Perry may be the biggest one-man media empire you might never have heard of. His movies (Diary of a Mad Black Woman, Why Did I Get Married?) have debuted at No. 1 at the box office, he recently closed a $200 million TV deal with TBS, and no less an authority on pop culture than Entertainment Weekly recently listed Perry as the “seventh-smartest person in Hollywood.” The 38-year-old is an actor, author, composer, filmmaker, and, most important, an increasingly powerful brand name.

His latest barnstorming effort as a playwright, Tyler Perry’s The Marriage Counselor, a musical comedy about our most sacred institution, hits Dodge Theatre. Perry’s taken some hits for reviving what was known in segregation days as the “chitlin circuit,” but clearly the auteur is speaking somebody’s language, mostly that of a black, pro-faith demographic. Perry has answered his critics by claiming to Ebony, “I try to build a bridge that marries what’s deemed ‘legitimate theater’ and so-called ‘chitlin-circuit theater.’”

Tue., Jan. 15, 8 p.m., 2008
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Jay Bennett
Contact: Jay Bennett