This brand new hybrid concert/theatre work brings the music and story of the great Ray Charles to vivid life! Portraying Ray, master pianist/vocalist Kenny Brawner leads his 12 - piece orchestra and 3 sultry vocalists (a la Raelettes) performing the American legend's most popular hits.
The songs are interwoven by “Ray” depicting how Gospel, Blues, Jazz and Country music influenced his style - and reflect on American social history, his epic battle with drugs, and his triumphant return home to Georgia.
For Brawner, his performance is the fulfillment of a lifelong love affair. “The first time I heard Ray Charles, I was enamored of him,” he says. “For want of a better word, he was my idol. I even had the nickname ‘Ray,’ because I played the piano.”
A native of Augusta, Georgia, Brawner recognized in Charles an artist who understood a variety of styles, particularly the music of the South. “I grew up on the blues, I grew up on gospel,” he says. “I heard all that in Ray’s music.”
Kenny Brawner stresses that Charles was even more all encompassing. At various points in his career, Charles played jazz, soul, R&B, rock, and even country. “Ray crossed all genres of music,” he says.
“...the sound of Mr. Brawner singing is the stuff of an immediate good mood!”- Roslyn Sulcas, The New York Times.