Bebe Winans might well be tempted to break out in a song, “Look out Broadway ’cause here we come. … Arena is bringing you a show that’s true!” (with a nod to The Temptations’ Look out Baby).
Born for This: The BeBe Winans Story is a memoir in music of how the six-time Grammy Award–winner remained true to his foundation in gospel music as he successfully crossed over into popular contemporary music (where there were those Temptations!).
Arena Stage’s production is fueled by a high-energy cast who are all well on their way to winning theater awards for best performers in a musical.
BeBe (Juan Winans, BeBe’s real-life nephew) and CeCe (Deborah Joy Winans, BeBe’s niece) lead the way as best lead actor and actress in a musical.
BeBe and CeCe’s mother (Nita Whitaker), who delivers the heartfelt ballad Seventh Son, and Pop Winans (Milton Craig Nealy) and his soulful I Got a New Home both deserve awards as supporting actress and actor for their roles in their show—and in life—which uphold the values of family and faith.
Jim Bakker (Chaz Pofahl), Tammy Faye Bakker (Kirsten Wyatt), and Whitney Houston (Kiandra Richardson)—can anyone ever forget these mega personalities, or the singers who play them in this production?
There is no theater award category for quartets in musical shows, but there are two sets in this show that deserve mention: BeBe and CeCe’s brothers Ronald, Carvin, Marvin, and Michael/The Winans, and the PTL singers.
Although Born for This: The Bebe Winans Story, which opened at Arena, has yet to garner any Helen Hayes or Tony awards, this spirited show makes every ticket holder a winner. The show is playing in the Kreeger theater until August 28.
By: Sheila Wickouski

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