BY ALLEN A. BUCHANAN, Staff Writer
ST. PETERSBURG — With the proper lighting, arched chair aisles, candles strategically placed and buffet-styled dinner service, the Carter G. Woodson African American Museum was transformed into an urban community night club featuring the jazzy variety show Romantic Expressions last Sat., Aug. 2.
The evening kicked off with a locally produced high definition video drama entitled “More Than Friends Addicted To Love” that featured several of the live performers for the evening. Producer Cranstan Cumberbatch said that the episode that previewed was part of what will be a 10-part series.
Cranstan said that he is currently pitching the series to work out a possible syndication deal with CW44, a cloud network that is connected to a string of affiliated networks across the country.
Next, the spiritual, soulful and jazzy sounds of R.E.X.P. featured three female vocalists Guianna Brantley, Jessica Hampton and Andria Young who sang “I See The God In You,” “Flaws and All,” and “Happy.”
The talented trio was backed by Terry Wortham on bass, Bryan “Quest Paradox” Carty on drums/poetry, Frank on the keyboard and helping out on vocals, Josh Neri on the keys, Ray on congas and Beluci also on the keyboard.
R.E.X.P. started out as Cranstan’s backup group to promote his R&B album in 2006. However, the musician and artist quickly realized that R.E.X.P. brought a variety of artistic expression to the table such as poetry, dance, drama and music.
Cranstan envisioned R.E.X.P. as the ideal platform for exhibiting the talents of some of the most gifted local artists from St. Petersburg. He described south St. Pete as a diamond in the rough because so much talent has emerged from the area and achieved national and international acclaim.
In addition to musical entertainment, poetic expressions by Cassy Sweet, Kay Lawrence, Phillip Scott and Bryan “Quest Paradox” Carty brought down the house. Carmi Camilia’s “Ready For Love” and Alex’s rendition of the Al Green classic “Let’s Stay Together” provided additional romantic steam for the evening. Rounding out the night was a dance number by Beryl and a mini-fashion show showcasing some of St. Pete’s most handsome men.
The theme for the evening showcase was “Grown.” Cranstan, the show creator and producer, pointed out that everyone in the show had reached that first major milestone of true adulthood by being 21 and the same could be said for the audience.
“This will be an evening of clean adult entertainment that explores the realities of love, life and relationships as seen through the eyes of romance,” announced Cranstan.
Lastly, the number 21 was significant because it marked the number of shows that Romantic Expressions has performed since 2006.
Cranstan’s goal was that the audience may have walked in to see a show but hopefully walked out feeling the effects of an experience, a romantic experience.