Charl Brown

A show highlighting the life, music and career of acclaimed singer-songwriter Smokey Robinson is coming to the Buford Community Center’s Sylvia Beard Theatre stage. 

Charl Brown, who has portrayed Robinson on Broadway, will present “Smokey & Me: A Celebration of Smokey Robinson” at 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 28. 

Brown received a Tony Award nomination for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical for his portrayal of Robinson in “Motown: The Musical,” which opened on Broadway in 2013. 

The idea for “Smokey & Me” was developed when Brown was in isolation due to the pandemic. 

“During the pandemic I was trapped at home with the inability to work, like many of my colleagues, and I started to think about things I could do that would be palatable post-pandemic,” Brown said. “There’s always been on my heart a desire to do a Smokey Robinson show. He and his music have always been a major part of my life and my musical upbringing.” 

Brown said he was often too busy to do the creative work required for a show like “Smokey & Me.” 

“I found myself with the time and the notion,” he said. 

There are two parts to “Smokey & Me” — the first part focuses on Robinson’s life, music and career, and the second focuses on Brown’s journey to playing Robinson on Broadway. 

For some audience members, “Smokey & Me” will be a trip down memory lane to when Robinson became popular and Motown was first on the scene. 

For Brown, the tunes “Ooo Baby Baby” and “The Tracks of My Tears” mark two of his favorite Robinson songs to perform. 

“Smokey was the king of R&B as far as I’m concerned,” Brown said. “His heartbreak ballads are the ones I enjoy the most. Those are the ones that speak to me. His signature sound is really featured in those.” 

For more information on “Smokey & Me: A Celebration of Smokey Robinson” and to purchase tickets, which are limited, click here

Follow Charl Brown on Instagram @browncharl. 

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Deanna Allen has served as editor of the North Gwinnett Voice since June 2021. Effective communication and creative design are her passions.

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