When the first production of Always & Forever was on stage at Illusion Theater in 1996, it played to standing-room-only crowds for more than three months. After nearly 15 years of audience requests, creators Richard D. Thompson, Sanford Moore and Garry Q. Lewis teamed up with original cast members T. Mychael Rambo, Dennis Spears and Julius Collins III and newcomer Jackson Hurst re-staged the revue to wide acclaim in late 2010. The run was so successful that the team decided to record the best parts of the show.
The world premiere of Always & Forever was presented as part of Illusion Theater’s 1996 Season. Richard D. Thompson and Sanford L. Moore developed the show together after working at Illusion on the revue, Blues in the Night. Producing Director Michael Robins asked Moore and Thompson “if they might be interested in constructing a musical revue as a response [to Blues in the Night] revealing the male point of view about relationships.” First, they constructed the characters and then found songs to illustrate the different men’s perspectives about love and loving. Sanford Moore stated, “We picked songs purely from what the lyrics said…I found so much of this music to be so poetic and so passionate.”
The original show featured cast members Julius C. Collins III, T. Mychael Rambo, Dennis Spears, and Toga Norris. Collins, Rambo, and Spears are part of the current production along with newcomer Jackson Hurst.
Receiving rave reviews, Always & Forever was sold out for more than three months and extended its run to accommodate the demand. The Minneapolis Star Tribune said, “It’s the music, which always colors the characters, that is at the charming heart of this show…energizing this guy show is the smooth, street-smart choreography of Garry Q. Lewis. Don’t miss this one.” Drama-Logue wrote, “Always and Forever creates its own brand of theatrical magic, and it’s impossible to resist being drawn into its warm and love-filled embrace.” From City Pages came, “Always and Forever might be the best thing of its kind to come to town since Solid Gold Soul radio.”
What Other People Have Been Saying...
At Illusion Theater, four remarkably talented men…in a terrific revival of Always & Forever.~Star Tribune
Any one of the singers returning for this remount (Collins, Rambo, and Spears) could get a crowd on its feet. Having all three in one place again is a real treat. The songs, too, are like old friends at this point, and hanging out for an evening with old friends is always welcome. So Always & Forever is very highly recommended. -Twin Cities Daily Planet