I hope you will make plans to join me on Friday, June 4, 2021, at 3 PM Central on 101.5 FM locally or streaming worldwide at www.HuntleyRadio.com. This episode of my WHRU radio show It’s Showtime with Rikki Lee will be a very special one.
In 1991 writer/director Robert Townsend released what would become known as a classic film: The Five Heartbeats. Co-written by Keenen Ivory Wayans, the movie traces the lives of five strong young black men linked together by their Motown-like singing group over three decades. The story is heavily influenced by the real-life escapades of The Temptations and features an amazing soundtrack by the Dells.
From the first time I saw it, I knew this movie was special. Every one of the actors playing the Heartbeats is riveting in their roles. None more so than Michael Wright as raspy-voiced lead singer Fast Eddie King Jr. His performance, inspired in part by the life of David Ruffin, should have garnered an Academy Award nomination. His descent into drug addiction and his struggles to stay relevant as the band moves on without him is one of the finest performances of its kind in the history of cinema. I put it up there with Marlon Brando’s “I coulda been a contender” performance in On the Waterfront. Not only did Wright deserve an Oscar nomination, but he should also have won. (Read He Should Have Won the Oscar – Michael Wright)
On Friday, June 4 I have the great honor of interviewing Michael Wright on It’s Showtime with Rikki Lee. It’s a meaningful interview for me. Michael is one of my favorite actors of all time, one whose acting style I have tried to incorporate into my own career. Matching Michael’s on-screen intensity has always been one of my goals as an actor.
Michael Wright is currently gearing up for a special 30th Anniversary Screening and Cast Reunion of The Five Heartbeats at the Tribeca Film Festival taking place June 19.
For our radio interview, Michael and I will discuss his training at the Actor’s Studio, his early acting career, how he landed his unforgettable role in The Five Heartbeats, and the staying power of the film.
Of course, Michael didn’t make the movie resonate all on his own. The entire ensemble of The Five Heartbeats is magnificent. The other Heartbeats include Townsend as Donald “Duck” Mathews, Leon as J.T. Matthews, Tico Wells as Anthony “Choirboy” Stone, and Harry J. Lennix as Terrence “Dresser” Williams. Dells vocalist Marvin Junior provided Fast Eddie King Jr.’s trademark sound.
Getting to interview Michael is a dream come true. I have had the great fortune of interviewing a number of my idols including Jesse Borrego of the television series Fame and the film Blood in Blood Out, Adam Pascal from the original Broadway cast and film adaptation of Rent, and Robert Cuccioli who originate the titles roles in Broadway’s Jekyll & Hyde. Like these other stars, Michael Wright was a huge influence on me as a performer. Any success that I have had in my own career traces back to influences like Michael, Jesse, Adam, and Robert. That’s the power of a true star – they can inspire greatness in others.
So, please – make plans to join me on Friday, June 4 at 3 PM Central for a very special episode of It’s Showtime with Rikki Lee. In the local broadcast area find us on the dial at 101.5 FM. You can also stream the program live from anywhere in the world by going to www.HuntleyRadio.com and selecting the Listen Live icon.
After you listen to the interview, let me know what you think
If you’ve never listened to It’s Showtime with Rikki Lee before, you can listen to past episodes for free as podcasts at https://huntleyradio.com/hcr/its-showtime-with-rikki-lee/
Peace. Love. Trust.
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