Chaz Dreams a Reality
(L-R) Trevon Davis (C.C), Chaz Lamar Shepherd (Curtis) and Chester Gregory (James Early) in â€œDreamgirls,â€ playing February 25 through April 4, 2010 at the CTG / Ahmanson Theatre.Â
Photo by Joan Marcus
(L-R) Trevon Davis (C.C.), Chaz Lamar Shepherd (Curtis), Chauncey Jenkins (Wayne) and Chester Gregory (James Early) in â€œDreamgirls,â€ playing February 25 through April 4, 2010, at the CTG / Ahmanson Theatre.Â
Photo by Joan Marcus
Brandon I. Brooks
Sentinel Entertainment Editor
Chaz Lamar Shepherd stars as “Curtis” in the highly anticipated musical production of “Dreamgirls”, opening this week (March 2) and playing through April 4, 2010 at the CTG/Ahmanson Theatre.
Directed and choreographed by Robert Longbottom with music by Academy Award nominee Henry Krieger, “Dreamgirls” tells the rags-to-riches story of an up-and-coming 1960s singing girl group and the triumphs and tribulations that come with fame and fortune.
When asked about his portrayal of “Curtis” and what the audience can expect to experience, Shepherd shared with the Sentinel that he wants them (audience) to be moved. “I want that to be an individual experience. I want them or however they receive it, I want them to be moved by it, I want them to understand him (“Curtis”). And then the things that you just can’t make sense of, I want them to feel that you just can’t make sense of it. I want everybody to have their own personal experience with this guy, by watching him. So there is no one particular thing that I want everybody to get, I want them to believe me when I am up there and I want them to be moved.”
Shepherd, whom currently resides in Los Angeles, is a proud member of the West Angeles COGIC under Bishop Charles Blake. The West Angeles Church is literally walking distance from the Sentinel office building so it was great to catch up with Chaz Lamar Shepherd who considers himself an active member of the Los Angeles community.
Shepherd is most known for his big and small screen appearances featured on notable series such as 7th Heaven, Moesha, The Parkers, The Steve Harvey Show, Sister Sister and Touched by an Angel to name a few. Most recently he has received critical acclaim for his role on hit series “The Game” as “Trey Wiggs.” Chaz has also co-starred in Set It Off and The Temptations.
Chaz seems to be the perfect fit for the role of “Curtis” in the musical production of “Dreamgirls” which is totally different from Chaz’s role as “Harpo” in the Color Purple, which Chaz recently played, co-starring on Broadway.
“I didn’t have the money to get to New York at the time,” said Shepherd. “I would have used the last alternative which was send in a tape but my girlfriend at the time said she would pay for me to come down there to audition because I told her as I told my agent, if I could just get in front of them, I had a feeling I would get this part. So I was surprised they wanted me to come in for “Curtis” because I thought that I had a younger face. Within three appointments, they offered me the job there in the room.”
Shepherd prides himself in being a versatile artist so when asked by the Sentinel if the role of “Curtis” in “Dreamgirls” was similar to his role and experience as “Harpo” in the “Color Purple,” Shepherd responded by saying, “Not similar at all. Harpo was a bit naive about what was going on in his life and how to get what he wanted. However, Curtis Taylor, Jr. knows exactly what he wants and how to get what he wants.”
Similar to the character of “Curtis”, Chaz knows how to get what he wants in actual reality. “I am doing it (music) through my label that I am doing called Chaz Records,” said Shepherd. “A small team of folks working together to build the label and this is the first project of the label. I didn’t start off a couple of years on my own label but through politics and going back and forth through the label that I was on, I ended up being out of that deal and doing it on Chaz Records. It’s something I wanted to build anyway. And so I am going after something I want with the resources I have without waiting on other people to get that other vision.”
Shepherd believes in taking one’s destiny by control and not leaving opportunity to ignorance. “Over the last couple of years, I’ve been working on giving quality music for my debut solo R&B album, which is now finished and being sold with Dreamgirls right now with the tour,” said Shepherd.
Shepherd has been on the Billboard charts three times over the last year with his single, Chemical Reaction. Shepherd’s soul/R&B album “Love & Truth” was released during the Dreamgirls tour and is available in the show lobby. His gospel work was Grammy nominated last year.
Shepherd shared with the Sentinel that he keeps his sanity and love for the business by balancing life and always having a good realistic perception about what to do. “As the bible says, not thinking more highly of myself than I ought to,” said Shepherd. “So I love being able to do something that is considered admirable and respected and that puts one on a pedestal, and then going and doing something that puts me right among others in a very humble and common light.”
Chaz Lamar Shepherd is a dynamic artist with various talents but to understand him you have to understand he puts faith in education and discipline. “We have to know what we are doing first and then we can assess our abilities,” said Shepherd. “So education first and then discipline. It’s not about doing it as long as it’s going good. It’s about doing it as long as it stays good.”
For more information on Chaz Lamar Shepherd and the musical production of “Dreamgirls,” visit www.centertheatregroup.org