T-Boz Takes On Je'Caryous Johnson's Marriage Material at the Hobby

T-Boz. It rhymes with Oz and that's where the former TLC R&B and hip-hop star finds herself these days - in another world known as theater.

Tionne Tenese Watkins, aka T-Boz, is on a national tour and in Houston for upcoming performances of director/writer Je'Caryous Johnson's Marriage Material at the Hobby Center.

Although T-Boz (twice named one of People's "50 Most Beautiful People,") had done film and TV work, theater is new to her. Johnson had offered her parts before but she "would always turn him down."

She changed her mind, she said, because "I think I'm in a new place in my life being as I'm not on the road all the time with TLC." In the 1990s, TLC sold 57 million records worldwide.

The stage part of theater is normal for her, she said. In fact, because she doesn't have to do all the turns and dance moves she did with TLC, "my back ain't aching," she said laughing.

She came in a little late to the cast rehearsals - by four days - because it was her daughter Chase's birthday. "Double digits. She's 10." And she's running through her lines over and over again. "I haven't met my husband [in the play] yet cause he's out on the road singing or something. I'm acting with a stand-in."

She's also busy watching her castmates. "I don't do the whole diva thing. I respect everybody for what they do. I'm trying to learn from them because this is their world. I'm just taking everything in. I'm just going to have fun with it."

Over the years T-Boz had problems with her health; she was diagnosed with sickle cell anemia. She told Art Attack that things are going well for her now and that she's trying to watch her diet. "I am blessed. I am good. I do have my battles here and there. I take mineral supplements."

The character she plays is something of a challenge, T-Boz said, because "I'm playing someone who's totally opposite of the way I am." But, she added, " I've seen a lot of women like that. I'm not going to let that stop me. She's an insecure woman who did a no-no she slept with her best friend's husband and had a baby. She's very insecure."

Asked why people should come to see this show, T-Boz responded: "It's really different. It's fun. It's energetic. I'm sitting there laughing at other people's parts. I'm not the type that's interested in too many plays. You have to keep me entertained. It has musical elements in a different, fun creative way. I think people can relate to it because it happens to a lot of women."

Marriage Material runs November 2-7 at the Hobby Center. For information go to www.imreadyproductions.com. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster outlets. For group sales call 1-800-745-3000.

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