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Celebrity cast in Marshall to promote play today

By Robin Y. Richardson
Nov. 12, 2017 at 4 a.m.

Casandra McLaughlin

An all-star celebrity cast is coming to Marshall's Mama Tina's Restaurant today, to promote the upcoming stage play, "Can't Marry Who You Love; Marry Who You With", slated for Nov. 18, at the Marshall Convention Center.

"I'm coming through for a Meet and Greet. Y'all come hang out with me; let's eat," TV actor Tony Grant, of Tyler Perry's hit show "Love Thy Neighbor" urged in a commercial promotion.

The day's menu will include neck bones, chicken and dressing, and of course some the restaurant's famous fried chicken, Mama Tina's Facebook page notes.

"Y'all come meet and greet. Let's take some pictures," Grant encouraged.

Today's meet and greet will start at 2 p.m. at the restaurant, located at 200 W. Pinecrest Avenue. In addition to Grant, the "thought-provoking" stage play features recording artist Willie Taylor of the R&B group, Day 26, and VH1's hit reality show "Love and Hip Hop Hollywood."

The play also stars actress and singer Porsha Bunch Hall, comedian David Keener from the "Festival of Praise Tour", Tyler's own Cory Espie from the movie Carter High, Marshall native Casandra McLaughlin Marshall; and Longview's Bishop Robert Evans. Special appearances include comedienne Yolanda "Ms. Cotton" Bennett, Dallas rap artist Tru Def, and gospel duo "Choze-N" – to name a few.

Playwright and director, 36-year-old Derrick Pointer, of Dallas, is excited to bring the play to Marshall.

"I have heard so much about Marshall, that they don't really have anything there, and (that) they'll love it," he in a telephone interview. "My friend's been trying to get me to come to Marshall for a while now."

Pointer said the play is the first one he's written alone. The play's production in Tyler was very well received.

"Tyler took to it well," he said.

According to the synopsis, "Can't Marry Who You Love; Marry Who You With" is a stage play, which focuses on two high school sweethearts who are engaged to be married, but there's only one problem - they are engaged to separate people.

"It's about two high school sweethearts who went their separate ways," Pointer said. "They never really broke up, but the phone calls all of a sudden stopped. They reunite at a class reunion. The old flames start coming back, so now it's: 'What do we do from here?'"

Pointer said the play has aspects that all can relate to.

"It's going to make you laugh; it's going to make you cry at times," he said. "It's very relatable. It's about not settling."

The play is being presented by Jamalz Reginald Productions, owned by Pointer's uncle, George.

"He's an author, as well. He will have some books for sale at the play," Pointer said.

The writer and director is proud to make his project a family affair, including the backing of his uncle and the participation of his cousin, marketing and communications entrepreneur Trevoy Pointer.

"We're trying to build something," he said of the family partnership.

Although writing is fairly new to the him, Pointer has been acting professionally for more than 10 years, performing in various feature films and stage plays.

"I've always wanted to be an actor as a little boy, and when I got older. When I was able to get out on my own and experience things on my own, I became an actor," he said, sharing he worked professionally in California for a while before moving back to Texas to continue his craft.

An actor first, Pointer is excited to make an appearance in his own featured play.

"I will be in this show as well," he said.

He enjoyed writing the production, and hopes his newfound passion continues to expand.

"I've been writing for about three or four years," Pointer said, sharing he started writing scripts after people kept insisting that he should become a comedian. "I didn't really want to be a comedian, so I said let me write a script.

"Writing is something I always wanted to do," he said. "As an actor, I've accomplished that part. (Now) let's see how far I can go with this. I have a vision for a lot of things."

Pointer encourages the public to come out and meet the cast this Sunday and then come and be entertained next Saturday, Nov. 18.

"I just don't want you to cheat yourself on this one," he said, stressing he doesn't want anyone to miss out. "It's a great show from top to bottom. I think that it's relatable. Everyone can relate to this in some type of way. (With) everyone in this cast, you're going to say I know somebody like that.

"You're in for a treat," he ensured.

Thus, "Come out and support. I'm trying to find a new home," he said of Marshall.

The production, slated Saturday, Nov. 18, will begin at 8 p.m. at Marshall Convention Center, 2501 E. End Blvd. General admission tickets are 38.50; VIP tickets are $50. Tickets can be purchased online at eventbrite.com. Tickets are also available at Gabriel's Menswear in Longview and Tonya's Hair Gallery in Marshall. On Monday, local promoter Alord "Jemini" Joseph will conduct a 12-hour flash sale, in which he will be selling general admission tickets for $25 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. For more information, call Joseph at (318) 762-7202.

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