Tyler Perry's Madea Tickets
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Tyler Perry Bio
Tyler Perry is a force of creative nature. As an author, playwright, actor, producer, director, and screenwriter, Perry first came to national prominence in 2005 when his Diary of a Mad Black Woman was adapted into a film. By 2009, Forbes was ranking him the sixth-highest-paid man in Hollywood with film grosses of more than $400 million worldwide.
Growing up in New Orleans, Emmitt Perry, Jr. had a rough childhood. His father regularly beat him, leading Perry to once attempt suicide as a way to escape the abuse. The flip side was that his mother offered him a sense of peace with their weekly church attendance. At 16, Perry legally became Tyler as a means to draw some distance from his father.
Fascinatingly enough, it was an episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show that piqued Perry's interest in writing. An author was discussing how writing is not only a great creative outlet, but also a means of healing. Perry dove in, penning a series of letters to himself that would become a musical and his first theater production, I Know I've Been Changed, in 1990.
The staging was a failure, but with eight years of reworking the piece, he managed to pull together a successful production. He also continued crafting other projects, as well, and took them out on the "chitlin' circuit,” developing a large following among African-Americans, particularly in the South.
By 2005 – and by Forbes' count – Perry had tallied "more than $100 million in tickets, $30 million in videos of his shows and an estimated $20 million in merchandise." Among those stage productions were I Can Do Bad All By Myself (2000), Diary of a Mad Black Woman (2001), Madea's Family Reunion (2001), Madea's Class Reunion (2003), Why Did I Get Married? (2004), and Meet the Browns (2004–2005).
The Mabel "Madea" Simmons character has long been central to Perry's stories and she has proven to do blockbuster business at the box office with a number of his films opening at number one. She is drawn from a composite of Perry's mother and aunt. Perry dons a dress to portray her on stage and screen.
With eight successful self-penned films under his belt, Perry teamed up with Winfrey in 2009 to produce Precious, a movie based on the novel Push by Sapphire. The film was a powerhouse, by most accounts. It also led Perry to admit that he had been molested as a child.
In addition to his film work, Perry also began producing Tyler Perry's House of Payne for television in 2007. The TBS show centers around a three-generation household of African-Americans. A second TBS show, 2009's sitcom Meet The Browns, is written, directed, and produced by Perry, as well. Two other TV projects have also been talked about -- Floyd's Family and Madea's Big Happy Family.
As an author, Perry's first book Don't Make a Black Woman Take Off Her Earrings: Madea's Uninhibited Commentaries on Love and Life topped the New York Times Best Seller List in 2006.
Among the stars that he has worked with are Janet Jackson, Cicely Tyson, Louis Gossett Jr., and Jill Scott. Still, despite all of his massive success, Perry is not without his detractors, particularly in the African-American community.
Blogger Jamilah Lemieux summed up many of the arguments in an NPR piece in 2009. She applauded Perry's efforts while noting that his stories are "marked by old stereotypes of buffoonish, emasculated black men and crass, sassy black women." She also criticized his caricature-laden Madea, saying that through this, "the country has laughed at one of the most important members of the black community: Mother Dear, the beloved matriarch. …Our mothers and grandmothers deserve much more than that."
Perry defended his work, explaining that Madea is only the lure to draw people into his stories: “I can slap Madea on something and talk about God, love, faith, forgiveness, family, any of those."
Winfrey also sided with Perry, stating, "I think [Perry] grew up being raised by strong, black women. And so much of what he does is really in celebration of that. I think that's what Madea really is: a compilation of all those strong black women that I know and maybe you do too? And so the reason it works is because people see themselves."
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