- MULTI-TALENTED ACTOR AND PLAYWRIGHT JD LAWRENCE STARS WITH BUDDY LEWIS, CLIFTON POWELL, TERRI J. VAUGHN AND SHERYL LEE RALPH PREMIERES SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 16 AT 7 p.m., 9 P.M. & 11 P.M. ET EXCLUSIVELY ON GMC TV -
(BLACK PR WIRE) – ATLANTA -- February 13, 2013 – GMC TV, America’s favorite channel for uplifting family entertainment, presents the GMC World Premiere Play, “JD Lawrence’s Community Service,” a new original stage play produced exclusively for television. The play stars actor and playwright JDLawrence (“The Clean Up Woman”) along with Buddy Lewis (Black Dynamite , “Vibe,”), Drew Sidora (Step Up, Wild Hogs), Clifton Powell (Ray, Norbit) and Terri J. Vaughn (“Meet the Browns,” “The Steve Harvey Show,” “Sugar Mommas”). The hilarious, feel-good production is the latest vehicle to display Lawrence’s prodigious comedic, musical and theatrical talents, including his trademark multiple character roles. “JD Lawrence’s Community Service” makes its world television premiere exclusively on GMC TV on Saturday, February 16 at 7 p.m., 9 p.m. and 11 p.m.ET.
Written and directed by Lawrence, “JD Lawrence’s Community Service” tells the laugh-packed story of JD (Lawrence), a struggling Brooklyn actor & playwright who would do almost anything to help a friend in need. Hisloyalty is put to the test when he agrees to represent his best friend Sylvester (Lewis) in traffic court. JD doesn't know Sylvester's parking ticket is only $25 and that he has a rocky history with the presiding judge. The equally bitter relationship quickly escalates into all out chaos in the courtroom, resulting in JD and Sylvester getting sentenced to 5000 hours of community service at the local town's community center run by the judge's temperamental brother Bishop Nixon (Powell). A comedic journey with two friends and their new found relationships will breathe much needed life into this community center. The show also features Carolyn (Ralph), Bishop Nixon’s liberated wife, Skye (Sidora) their beautiful, talented and most certainly off limits daughter, Ms. Lydia Mitchell (Vaughn) the loud mouthed church accountant, secretary and choir president.
“JD Lawrence, also known as the King of Dramedy, is a man of many talents and faces, all of which are fully on display in this extremely funny new gospel play,” says Leslie Glenn Chesloff, GMC’s executive vice president of programming. “From its wacky premise to the laugh-a-minute dialogue to the terrific cast, ‘JD Lawrence’s Community Service’ is a delightful two hours of entertainment that we are thrilled to bring to GMC viewers, many of whom are already fans of JD Lawrence.”
GMC Network Presents “JD Lawrence’s Community Service” starring J.D. Lawrence (“The Clean Up Woman”), Buddy Lewis (“Vibe,” Black Dynamite), Drew Sidora (Step Up, Wild Hogs), Clifton Powell (Ray, Norbit), Deetta West (Rocky, Welcome Home, Roscoe Jenkins) and Terri J. Vaughn (“Meet the Browns,” “The Steve Harvey Show”). Screenplay by JD Lawrence. Directed by JD Lawrence.
GMC’s “JD Lawrence’s Community Service” is produced by Swirl Films’ Eric Tomosunas, who has produced and taped numerous stage plays and feature-length films for television and DVD including Somebody’s Child, Love for Sale, A Mother’s Prayer, There’s a Stranger in My House, “Love Me or Leave Me”, “The Ideal Husband”, “The Love You Save”, and “Sugar Mommas.”
“JD Lawrence’s Community Service” joins a growing list of original stage plays that have aired on GMC, including such hits as “Love Me or Leave Me,” “The Ideal Husband,” “She’s Not Our Sister,” “The Love You Save,” “Sugar Mommas,” and “If You Really Love Me.”GMC is the only network producing the popular medium and bringing it to a broad television audience.
ABOUT THE CAST
JD LAWRENCE (JD Lawrence, Writer, Director)
JD Lawrence is an American playwright, actor, comedian, author, director and producer of films, television and stage plays. Dubbed “the man of many faces” by EBONY Magazine, he portrays as many as seven characters in a single production. Lawrence, who was born with a speech impediment, has written, directed and starred in over 15 nationally acclaimed touring productions. He has been commended by The Stuttering Foundation of America for his many talents. His stage plays include “JD Lawrence’s Your Husband Is Cheating On Us,” “Bless Them Anyhow,” “Family Affair,” “When A Man Cries,” “Cut the Devil Loose,” “Scissors,” “If You Don't Stand for Something, You'll Fall for Anything,” “Rumors,” “The Clean Up Woman,” “Me & Mrs. Jones,” “Community Service” and his latest touring production, with co- producer Shaunie O’Neal, “The Wives Of Basketball,” as well as many others listed on his websites jdlawrencepresents.com and iactsingdance.com.
BUDDY LEWIS (Sylvester)
Buddy Lewis is a stand-up comedian, actor and writer who has performed stand-up in comedy clubs, colleges and other venues across the country for 15 years, and has appeared twice on HBO's “Def Comedy Jam” and four times on BET's “Comic View.” A native of Gary, Ind., Lewis was a hit in 2009 with his hilarious appearance on Starz Network comedy show “Martin Lawrence Presents 1stAmendment” and has opened for superstar acts Patti Labelle, Chris Rock and the late Robin Harris. He has also appeared on the big screen, including co-starring in the 2009 Sundance Film Festival hit Black Dynamite, in Big Stan and in The Chosen One. Lewis also appears in the stage theater-to-DVD releases of “Love on Lay Away” with Debra Cox and Mel Jackson, and “Peaches.” starring Wendy Raquel Robinson and Dorian Wilson, to name a few of his manycredits.
CLIFTON POWELL (Bishop)
Clifton Powell has established himself as a dynamic and versatile actor with numerous film, television and stage credits to his name. They include his memorable big-screen performances in the acclaimed biopic Ray opposite Jamie Foxx, and as the unforgettable Pinky in Friday and Friday After Next, on television as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in “Selma, Lord, Selma,” and on stage in the national tour of David E. Talbert’s “The Fabric of a Man” as Blair opposite Shemar Moore, for which he won the NAACP’s Theater Award for Best Actor. Powell’s other film credits include 20th Century Fox’s Street Kings: Motor City and WarnerBros.’ Preacher’s Kid, the DreamWorks feature Norbit opposite Eddie Murphy and many more. His many other television credits include David Milch’s HBO pilot “Last of the Ninth,” the FOX pilot “Faceless” opposite Sean Bean, and “Knights of the South Bronx” for A & E. A native of Washington D.C., he now lives in Los Angeles.
TERRI J. VAUGHN (Lydia)
In her 10-plus years as a fixture on television, Terri J. Vaughn has entertained audiences with her lovable portrayal of Lovita AlizayJenkins on “The Steve Harvey Show,” as school teacher Jonell in the Will Smith executive produced “All of Us,” and as the sassy and hilarious nurse Renee in Tyler Perry’s “Meet The Browns.” In 1997, she launched Take Wings Foundation with the aim of inspiring and uplifting young girls growing up in at-risk communities and foster care in the San Francisco Bay Area. From herfirst professional job in a 20-city tour of “Tellin’ it Like it Tiz,” to her first sitcom role on the hit show “Living Single,” to a memorable turn as a single mother wrongly accused of abusing her child on “ER,” Vaughn has proven herself to be a formidable talent. She has also starred in several independent projects and has produced multiple projects under Nina Holiday Entertainment—the production company she created with producing partner Cas Sigers.
SHERYL LEE RALPH (Carolyn)
Sheryl Lee Ralph’s award-winning body of work in film, television and the Broadway stage includes originating and creating the role of Deena Jones on Broadway in the landmark musical “Dreamgirls,” which earned her a Tony Award Nomination and a Drama Desk Award Nomination for Best Actress. On television, she hasstarred in “It's a Living,” her own series “New Attitude,” the George Foreman series “George” and in the smash series “Moesha,” for which she received numerous NAACP Image Award nominations for the role of loving step mom Dee. Her many film credits include The Mighty Quinn with Denzel Washington, Sister Act II with Whoopi Goldberg, Mistress with Robert De Niro and Eddie Murphy's Distinguished Gentleman, to name a few. Her performance with Danny Glover in To Sleep with Anger won her the Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Actress. In the mid-1980s, she also scored a top-ten selling dance hit with the infectious anthem “In the Evening.”
DEETTA WEST (Ms. Hammer)
DeEtta West is an accomplished actor on stage and screen as well as an accomplished voiceover artist. Her movie and television credits include, Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins, The Preacher’s Kid, Trinity Goodheart, A Cross To Bear,“ “If you Really Love Me,” For Richer or Poorer” and “Meet The Browns.” DeEtta hosted her own local television show in Los Angeles called “Tea with DeEtta.” She also has many stage credits including: Starring role in the NAACP Award Winning Musical Theatrical Production, “Busline 210,” the award winning show “The Anointing,” the gospel musical “A Taste of Life” the hit show “No More Drama, Please!” and “The Corinthian Scandal.” On the music side, West is the recipient of a Gold Album on which she sang the theme song on the soundtrack for the movie “Rocky I.” A native of San Diego, California, West resides in Peachtree City, Georgia.
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 hisproduction company Swirl Films, he spearheads the supervision and execution of production elements, and managing all distribution agreements with Image Entertainment, Vivendi, 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 (Nominated for OutstandingActor in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special) , Byron Minns, Nadine Ellis, Clifton Powell, and Lynn Whitfield and the stage play, “Sugar Mommas,” (Nominated for 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 Waver, Mya and Melyssa Ford; and, 35 & Ticking, a feel good romantic comedy starring Kevin Hart, Nicole Ari Parker, Keith Robinson, Tamala Jones, and Darius McCrary.
With over 40 original productions in the past 6 years, and award nominated movies and plays, Eric 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).
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.
GMC TV (www.watchGMCtv.com) is America’s favorite network for uplifting music and family entertainment. The network presents original and acquired movies, series, stage plays and music specials along with gMovies, the first faith-friendly streaming movie service. The GMC TV brand is reflected in “Uplift Someone,” the network’s successful pro-social initiative. GMC TV can be seen in more than 58 million homes on various cable systems around the country, as well as DISH Network on channel 188, DIRECTV on channel 338 and Verizon FiOS on channel 224. Follow GMC TV on Facebook and Twitter at http://facebook.com/gmctv and http://twitter.com/gmctv.