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Mabel “Madea” Simmons was never meant to be a phenomenon. Her creator, Tyler Perry, owes the success of the character in part to his mother and aunts, who she is based on, but also to an actress who didn’t show up to perform a role in his play, “I Can Do Bad All By Myself.”
Perry recalls that night at the Regal Theater in Chicago. “It was an actress with a hit song on the radio, and she didn’t show up. I was playing Madea, who was only supposed to be on stage for two minutes, but I ended up incorporating the lines from the other character and being on stage for the whole time.”
Perry - Appearance - Actress - Show - Audience
Perry felt so bad that he had been advertising the appearance of this actress that after the show he tried to apologize to the audience. “They were chanting: ‘We don’t care! We don’t care! We want Madea!’” Perry laughs and adds, “To look at it from there to here, I really fell into it. This was meant to be.”
The “here” Perry refers to is backstage at the 3,400-seat Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, where the writer/actor/director/producer/mogul has just completed a performance of “Madea’s Farewell Play Tour” to a raucous, sold-out crowd. The likes of Vin Diesel and Tiffany Haddish have already come to the show and later that night, Beyonce and Jay-Z will pay a visit. On this particular Saturday, Perry will perform the show three times to sold out houses, prompting the Dolby Theatre to note, “In the 17 years we’ve been in business, no artist has ever had 10,000 people in this building in a single day!”
Room - Dolby - Photos - Names - Business
The green room at the Dolby is lined with black-and-white photos of some of the biggest names in the business holding their Oscars, from Robin Williams to James Cameron....
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