Busta’s Person of the Week: He’s bringing some love to Winston-Salem

Ted Lange

Busta’s Person of the Week: He’s bringing some love to Winston-Salem
August 01
00:30 2019

By Busta Brown

In the 70s, there were two Isaacs, both adored by fans worldwide. Both were in the 1973 iconic documentary “Wattstax.” It was a benefit concert organized by Stax Records to commemorate the 7th anniversary of the Watts Riot. Watts is an African American community in Los Angeles, California. The concert was held at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, headlined by the legendary Isaac Hayes. The other Isaac was asked to share his thoughts on the effects of the riot. He was one the actors in the documentary, viewed by nearly 2 million people. “If you noticed, there were a lot of people from the documentary that ended up on Sanford and Son, Good Times and other hit TV Shows.” He was one of those people. In 1974, he landed the role as Junior in the sitcom, “That’s My Mama.” He went on to the big screen, in movies such as “Black Belt Jones” and “Friday Foster,” alongside the legendary Pam Grier. The TV shows and movie roles kept coming. 

In 1977, he landed the role that made him a household name worldwide, Isaac Washington, the beloved bartender on the hit TV Show “The Love Boat.” Each week, we tuned in to take another run, because it promised something for everyone.

By now, you have probably guessed that the other Isaac is actor Ted Lange, and he’s bringing his Love Boat to The National Black Theater Festival in Winston-Salem. Ted is a very successful writer, director and producer, in both film and on stage. His latest project is a play called “Twelfth Night – or What You Will, Mon,” and he’s bringing it to Winston Square Park, August 1st, 2nd and 3rd.

“Twelfth Night is my favorite project, I’m really enjoying that. You’re going to hear some wonderful music by Bob Marley that is done in a very creative and artistic way, as you know.”

He said, “As you know,” because my son Cameron’s band Genre is the band for the play and they sound phenomenal. The actors’ singing, dancing and humor are on point as well. This combination, along with the band, bring swag to this Shakespearean tale. I saw a few of the rehearsals and you’re truly going to enjoy “Twelfth Night.” It’s a hilarious Shakespearean tale about love, a crazy love triangle, along with some very interesting characters and surprises.

Ted’s version of the play is very authentic. “My whole thing is how to make Shakespeare relevant to African Americans, so I came up with this concept of Jamaica. That’s why we have music from Bob Marley, because the songs help tell the story. When this guy tells his friend to go ‘woo’ this woman, and she says why, the band plays Bob Marley’s ‘I Don’t Wanna Wait in Vain for your Love.’ It fits right in and that’s what’s done throughout the show,” said Lange. 

“The audience will enjoy the clown character that pulls jokes on people throughout the play. The women will fall in love with the character that’s trying to capture the heart of a beautiful woman, which creates this hilarious and interesting love triangle, and it’s all in line with Shakespeare,” said Lange.

Ted was named Best Actor by the Black Students Association at San Francisco City College, as well as winning a scholarship to the University of Colorado Shakespearean Festival in the summer of 1968. Lange also attended a summer school at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, so he knows a little “sum’ sum’” about Shakespeare. Partner that with growing up in Oakland, California, and just like “The Love Boat,” “Twelfth Night” promises something for everyone. The best thing about the play, it’s free to the public. It’ll be three nights of laughing, dancing and singing out loud to some Bob Marley classics, like “Red, Red Wine,” “I Shot the Sheriff,” “One Love,” “Jammin’,” “No Woman, No Cry,” “Three Little Birds,” and more. The fun begins this Thursday, August 1, and runs through Saturday, August 3, 6:30-9:30 p.m. at Winston Square Park, 209 Spruce in downtown Winston-Salem. 

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