Twisted Melodies recently made its debut the weekend of March 17, 2017 at the Baltimore Center Stage and it was simply FANTASTIC. This one-man play written and performed by Kelvin Roston, Jr. depicted the mental struggles of musical genius, Donny Hathaway. When the play opens, we see Donny sitting at a piano in a hotel room at the Essex Hotel in New York City. Kelvin's interpretation of what happened during the final hours right before Donny “allegedly” ended his life on January 13, 1979 was nothing short of an amazing journey.
This journey went from Donny’s childhood being raised in the church by his grandmother who nutured his love for music, to his college days at Howard University where his met his wife, to his professional days as a musician playing in various bands to his hallucinations and paranoid schizophrenia. This all unfolds as Kelvin, a musician himself, belted out some of Donny’s favorite songs (“A Song For You,” “You’re My Heaven,” “The Closer I Get To You,” and more). And while the audience sang and swayed to the music infused with gospel, blues, jazz and R&B undertones, there was angst, pain, love and joy of a man who grappled with his family, his music and his life.
I can’t imagine the weight that eventually led to Donny's death at the young age of thirty-three. A life cut too short but one which left inspiration for artists like Lalah (his first daughter), Stevie Wonder, Luther Vandross, and so many others.
So, Kelvin Roston, Jr. kudos to you for enthralling the audience and allowing us to relive a moment in time with Donny Hathaway! Two Thumbs way up!
And yes. “Love comes in different shapes, forms and fashions…” – Donny Hathaway at Carnegie Hall
Poster outside of Baltimore Center Stage
A snippet of the play performed at Chicago's Athenaeum Theatre a few years ago.