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Phil Elam Takes to the Stage Nov. 1 for Double One-Man Show at Marlene Boll Theater

By | 2019-10-30T16:18:54-04:00 October 30th, 2019|Entertainment, Features|

Phil Elam has long been known in Metro Detroit’s LGBTQ community. It all started when he, along with then-boyfriend now-husband Mike Boila, recorded and performed under the name Justus Boyz. The duo self-released an album in 2003 and its first single, “Calling All the Boys,” created enough buzz to get the band gigs as the opener for such acts as Ashanti, 98 Degrees and KC & The Sunshine Band. But Elam’s interests extend beyond music. This Friday, Elam will return to the stage and give a special one-night-only performance of two one-man shows at the Boll Family YMCA Theater in downtown Detroit. Elam’s piece is called “Fortunate Faces” and in it Elam will play five different characters. He will be joined by fellow actor Michael Fish.
“Each character represents an experience in my life,” Elam, who does not reveal his age, explained to Between The Lines. “Experiences, good or bad, are like houseguests. We have to treat each houseguest with respect and love. Then when the guests leave we can reflect on the time they spent with us – whether they left us with good feelings or maliciously cleaned us out. We learn from them and then move on. Each character in the show was a houseguest in my soul.”
Elam said he continues to reinvent himself as he explores his artistic passions.
“All of these creative personalities have always existed,” he said. “They have just been awaiting their turn and right opportunity to be expressed. Even when one particular creative aspect was being publicly expressed, the others were always keeping busy in the background. [My husband] Mike sees them all at the same time – all the time. He’s a saint.”
Elam created “Fortunate Faces” while studying with Rich Goteri at Goteri Creative Arts in Ferndale.
“For the past three years I’ve received incredible training in acting, particularly method acting,” Elam said. “One of the courses offered is one-man show writing, taught by Jeff Fritz. After the course we were required to present before the class.”
In the audience was Antoine McKay, who played Bunkie in the television drama “Empire.” McKay invited Elam to perform his show at his own McKay Theatre in Chicago.
“It went over very well in Chi-Town,” Elam said. “After returning, another fellow acting student, the incredible Michael Fish, expressed interest in doing a performance together in Detroit. When he asked, I said yes immediately. Any chance to perform at home is a gift not lost on me.”
For his piece, Fish will be presenting “My Friend Freud,” wherein he channels a comical Sigmund Freud interpreting a series of unconventional dream sequences.
TAGLINE The joint production takes place this Friday, Nov. 2, at 8 p.m. at the Boll Family YMCA Theatre located at 1401 Broadway Street in Detroit. Tickets are $20 and there is no reserved seating. The show is only for audiences 18 and over.

About the Author:

Jason A. Michael
Jason A. Michael earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Wayne State University before joining Between The Lines as a contributing writer in 1999. Jason has received both the Spirit of Detroit Award (presented by the Detroit City Council) and the Media Award from the Community Pride Banquet & Awards Ceremony for his writing and activism. Jason is also an Essence magazine bestselling author having written the authorized biography "Strength Of A Woman: The Phyllis Hyman Story," which he released on his own JAM Books imprint.