Grand Rapids – Critics hailed it as “authentic and gritty,” “edgy and vibrant,” and “an action-laden epic about the rise and fall of an inner-city crack dealer.” The film was New Jack City. Thirty years after its original release, theatrical hitmaker Je’Caryous Johnson resurrects the record grossing crime thriller on stages across the country. Written, directed and produced by Johnson and presented by Je’Caryous Johnson Entertainment, the touring stage adaptation of the Warner Bros.’ cult classic visits its unprecedented run in Grand Rapids, MI on February 23, 2023 at DeVos Performance Hall.
Tickets go on sale Thursday, January 19 at 10AM at DeVosPerformanceHall.com. For the latest tour and cast information, tickets and more, visit www.jecaryous.com or www.newjackcitylive.com.
Johnson’s adaptation of NEW JACK CITY LIVE stars critically acclaimed actor Allen Payne, who will be reprising his role from the film, as “Gee Money,” legendary rapper and lead singer of the iconic rap group Naughty By Nature, “Treach” as “Nino Brown,” legendary rapper Big Daddy Kane as “Stone,” actor and star of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Gary Dourdan as “Scotty Appleton,” and actor and star of one of TV’s classic hit shows One on One, Flex Alexander as “Pookie.”
New Jack City premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on January 17, 1991 and released nationally on March 8, 1991, distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. Earning more than $47 million domestically, the film was the highest grossing indie film of the year. The film chronicles the rise and fall of the infamous Nino Brown (Wesley Snipes) and the Cash Money Brothers and is based upon an original story and screenplay written by Thomas Lee Wright. With appearances by Ice T as New York City police detective “Scotty Appleton,” Allen Payne as "Gee Money" and Chris Rock as "Pookie," the story not only created a cultural movement, but it also ignited our collective conscience, inspiring generations to come, and continuing to influence the culture that made it a success story.
NEW JACK CITY LIVE will be a mirror image of the emotion and grit that immediately turned New Jack City into instant, movie magic. It takes place in the same metropolis-Harlem, NY where drug kingpin Nino Brown takes over a housing project and transforms it into a fortress-like crack house. Nino and his gang, the Cash Money Brothers, will ply their trade with total impunity-- one crime family will still be bonded by blood and forged together through friendship.
Set to the soundtrack of some of the most quintessential songs from the film, NEW JACK CITY LIVE will give audiences across the nation an opportunity to relive all their favorite, intense, heart-pounding moments from the blockbuster movie as they experience classic theater storytelling as shared through the culturally astute lens of four-time national championship playwright and NAACP Trailblazer Award recipient, Je’Caryous Johnson.
“In bringing New Jack City to the stage, I have the beautiful privilege of celebrating and paying homage to the black actors that excelled at their craft and created an unforgettable movie and characters that became classics to Black culture. I am delighted and excited to reunite these unforgettable characters with the fans that they’ve left their indelible mark on, and I am grateful to Warner Bros. for entrusting me to breathe new life into this cultural centerpiece. I look forward to the challenge of updating this classic story with a modern twist,” shares Johnson.
The stage adaptation will continue to build on the cultural legacy, the musical impact and the social relevancy that the movie so boldly brought to life, fusing the captivating thrill-a- minute storyline, the memorable lines everyone knows and loves, and the iconic musical soundtrack.
Building on the success of his 2020 stage version of the hit movie, Set It Off, which starred hip-hop phenom Da Brat and actresses LeToya Luckett, Kyla Pratt and Vanessa Simmons, NEW JACK CITY LIVE marks Johnson’s second adaption of a legendary urban hit movie into a stage play and is the second of three Warner Bros. Pictures’ movie titles licensed to Je’Caryous Johnson Entertainment for adaption for the stage. When it premieres, B.A.P.S. will mark the third feature film from the Warner Bros. Pictures’ vault that Johnson is slated to mount and adapt for the stage.
Follow @JeCaryous on Twitter and Instagram and @JeCaryousJohnson on Facebook. Fans should visit www.jecaryous.com to sign up for updates on upcoming shows, tour news and announcements.
About Je’Caryous Johnson
For almost two decades, Je’Caryous Johnson has transformed the world of urban theatre and propelled himself into mainstream notoriety and success. It all started for him with his forward thinking to turn African-American romance novels into stage plays. The four-time national championship playwright is a recipient of the NAACP 2007 Trailblazer Award and is the youngest producer/playwright to garner national media attention. He was the first person to adapt an African-American romance novel into a stage play. He was also the first person to write and produce a novel and a play, simultaneously.
To date over 3.5 million people have seen Johnson’s shows and they have grossed over $150 million dollars in revenue. Some of Johnson’s hit plays have included Love Overboard with R&B hit makers Avant & Keke Wyatt, Men Cry in the Dark with Allen Payne, The Maintenance Man with Billy Dee Williams, Friends and Lovers and Cheaters with Grammy Award winning singer Brian McKnight, Confessions with the late Gerald LeVert, Men, Money & Gold Diggers with actress Robin Givens, Whatever She Wants with Boris Kodjoe and Richard Roundtree, 3 Ways To Get A Husband with legendary actor Billy Dee Williams, Cheaper to Keep Her with Vivica A. Fox, Marriage Material with Jill Marie Jones and Things Your Man Won’t Do with Tichina Arnold, Wendy Raquel Robinson and Leon. Johnson’s latest original productions, Married But Single and Married Single Too, which starred LisaRaye McCoy and Bill Bellamy, sold out from coast to coast and continued to garner Johnson a groundswell of support and fans.
Even his most recent endeavors Redemption of A Dogg, adapted for the stage and based on the hit gospel album of hip-hop icon Snoop Dogg, Two Can Play That Game starring Vivica A. Fox and Set It Off starring DaBrat as Cleo, based on the hit movies, continued to establish Johnson as a trailblazer and put him in a league all his own.
About Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures
Warner Bros. Theater Ventures under the supervision of Executive Vice President Mark Kaufman, is currently represented on Broadway by the Tony nominated musicals Beetlejuice and Mr. Saturday Night. Prior to that, the division produced the West End, Broadway and first national tour of the Olivier- winning musical Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the Broadway stage adaptation of Stephen King’s Misery, the Tony- winning The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, the Tony- winning musical The Bridges of Madison County, and the Broadway holiday hit Elf. Upcoming projects include ^ musical versions of Dave, 17 Again and A Star is Born as well as a dramatic adaptation of Dog Day Afternoon by Stephen Adly Guirgis. Additionally, the division oversees the licensing of stage rights to Warner Bros vast media library including Hairspray, The Wizard of Oz, 42nd Street, Singing in the Rain, The Bodyguard, The Color Purple and A Christmas story as well as the upcoming: Griswald’s Broadway Vacation, Time Traveler’s Wife and The Notebook.
About ASM Global
Van Andel Arena, DeVos Place and DeVos Performance Hall are managed by ASM Global. ASM Global is the world’s leading producer of entertainment experiences. It is the global leader in venue and event strategy and management—delivering locally tailored solutions and cutting-edge technologies to achieve maximum results for venue owners. The company’s elite venue network spans five continents, with a portfolio of more than 350 of the world’s most prestigious arenas, stadiums, convention, and exhibition centers, and performing arts venues Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter. asmglobal.com.