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Perry joined Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, who also bought out one of the performances, as the production mounts a campaign to extend its run past Dec. 18. On Dec. 15, the production said that it had been extended through Dec. 23. Perry has an equity stake in BET+ and many shows on BET, which is a co-producer on Ain’t No Mo.
A rep for Perry confirmed the buyout and said it will be used to fund tickets for the Dec. 23 matinee, which will be distributed to individuals in underserved communities and to students.
Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade, Queen Latifah, Shonda Rhimes and Sara Ramirez are among the other Hollywood names that have bought out performances, the production confirmed on Thursday. Reverend Al Sharpton, Swizz Beatz, D-Nice, Derrick Hayes & Pinky Cole, Jeremy O. Harris, Denee Benton, Debbie Allen and Dominique Morrisseau also made “significant contributions.”
Creator Jordan E. Cooper, who also stars in the show, has been trying to boost ticket sales this week after the new play, which asks the question, “What if the U.S. government attempted to solve racism by offering Black Americans one-way plane tickets to Africa?” received a closing notice one week after opening.
Asked why Perry decided to support the Broadway play, the media mogul cited the talent of Cooper, who is also the creator of The Ms. Pat Show on BET+. Perry also made reference to another Broadway show in which he’s negatively portrayed.
“Jordan E. Cooper is an incredibly talented young man who credits a lot of his wanting to be in show business to my early plays. I wanted to do what I could to help him and his cast continue on. Unlike A Strange Loop, which is about a Black man struggling with his Blackness, Ain’t No Mo is unapologetically Black,” Perry said in a statement.
Perry is criticized throughout the musical A Strange Loop, as the main character, Usher, first rejects an assignment to ghostwrite a gospel play for Perry and then writes the play by creating caricatures of Perry characters. The show, which centers on Usher’s struggles to write his own musical, won the 2022 Tony Award for best musical and the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for drama.
“We think it’s wonderful Tyler is supporting Ain’t No Mo and new Black voices on Broadway. We encourage everyone to support live theater, especially at such a challenging time,” A Strange Loop creator Michael R. Jackson and producer Barbara Whitman said in response.
At a recent talkback after a performance of A Strange Loop, Jackson said he’d spoken on the phone with Perry but was not sure he would ever come see the show.
“I told him, ‘If it’s gonna stress you out, don’t come,’” Jackson said at the time.
Dec. 15, 6:30 p.m. Updated with the names of other Hollywood creatives who have bought out performances and the play’s extension.
Dec. 16. 3:50 p.m.: Updated with the date of Perry’s buyout.
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