'Applause' story touching

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One of the great showbiz stories of the year played out in real time, and in your daily newspaper.

The Augusta Chronicle’s Don Rhodes wrote in the Applause section concerning the musical tribute at the Imperial Theatre to 1960s teenage rocker Frankie Lymon (Why Do Fools Fall In Love?). In the May 30 section, Rhodes stated his concern that the widow of Frankie Lymon, who lives in Augusta, wasn’t notified and invited to the show. Since the production was a touring musical tribute stage adaptation of his life, the group didn’t realize they were coming to his widow’s hometown with their Fool In Love: A Musical Night in the Life of Frankie Lymon.

Lymon’s widow, Emira Lymon Bryant, told Rhodes in that May 30 article that no one from the touring show had invited her to attend, “even though worldwide fans of Lymon know his widow always has lived in Augusta,” said Rhodes, who added that the two met when Lymon was at Fort Gordon as noted in the 1998 national TV movie Why Do Fools Fall In Love?

So, how did that turn out? Rhodes told us in the June 6 Applause when he wrote: “It’s absolutely great when magical things happen and you can bring cool people together through the power of journalism.” He noted that Emira Lymon Bryant “got to meet the Los Angeles actor (Anthony Manough) portraying her late husband in a touring musical.”

After the May 30 article was posted on the Internet, an Atlanta representative for the American Family Insurance Co., the sponsor of the free concert, called Rhodes and acknowledged the omission and asked how to get in touch with her. Front-row center seats were waiting for her and her husband, Leroy Bryant.

After the show, the three cast members met with Lymon’s widow and her family, with Rhodes taking the historic picture in the historic Imperial Theatre.

About the show, Rhodes said that it “easily ranks among the best of the thousands of shows I have seen over the past 50 years.” He added, “Westobou would be very smart to book this show for their festival for rarely does a musical deal with someone in the show business world or any other world tied to Augusta.”

Encore, indeed.

Tom Hunter

Augusta


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