Spotlight on the Stage Play "All That Glitters"

Monday, 08 March 2010 10:53 Written by  Tiffani Alexander

What Do You Do When God Calls You to the Microphone?

gl Think “Dreamgirls” meets “A Star is Born” meets “I Can Do Bad All By Myself” –– and throw in a bit of Lil’ Kim and mix it with a dash of Mary Mary. What you get is the thought-provoking “All That Glitters,” a musical stage play written by Steven A. Butler, Jr., that follows the soaring –– and evolving –– career of R&B group Precious.

Photo By Don Harris Photography

“All That Glitters” tells the story of the four very different friends whose sexy singing group is at the top of the music charts. Despite the fact that the group was discovered by a gospel music legend (and mother of one of the ladies), the quartet is eventually led into the more “profitable” arena of secular music, with suggestive song lyrics (they score a hit with the over-the-top “Porno Star”), clothing and dance moves.

The audience is taken on an emotional journey as you see the ladies struggle with the price of fame: having no privacy; strained relationships with each other, their families and God; obsessive fans and more. When tragedy strikes, the ladies are forced to take a look at their lives, the music they are creating, and their individual relationships with God.

Playwright and co-founder of Restoration Stage, Inc., an independent theatre production company that targets the Black urban theatre audience, Steven A. Butler, Jr., wrote this play because he wanted to give young women of color a more accurate view of the fame and fortune so many of them seem to covet. gl2

“It’s sad that they don’t know what’s really going,” said Steven. What’s going on, “behind the velvet rope,” according to Steven is not all glamorous, fun and games. “Everything has a price,” he said, “and you see some of that in the play.”

Photo By Don Harris Photography

The play challenges young women to dialogue about what they ultimately place the most value on. Do they look at stars like Beyonce and envy her fame, money or fancy clothes? Not that there is anything wrong with aspiring to be successful, but the characters of “All That Glitters” give a glimpse into the world you don’t see on television screens and in the pages of magazines –– forcing young women to take a look at the role their faith plays in how they live their lives.

Steven wrote the play honestly, and although it drew the “church crowd” during its short run in February at the H Street Playhouse in Washington, D.C., he understood that he was going to upset a few people with some of the content of the play, especially in terms of the Kiki character. Kiki, by far the comic relief and most colorful member of the group, has a potty mouth, shows way too much cleavage, and drinks and does drugs on the stage.

“I had a few people walk out because of the language in the beginning of the play,” he said. Although he toned down much of the language and the character of Kiki (“she cussed a lot more in my original version”), the actor/writer with a B.F.A. from Howard University felt that he had to be true to the story he was telling and even wishes he had pushed the envelope further.


“This is the way these young women talk,” he said. “I had all those MFs in there originally, and I took them out and I apologize because I didn’t give it to them the way I really wanted to give it to them. I wish I was brave enough to do that.”

The audience got the point. What Steven and his crew created was neither watered down nor over-the-top. “All That Glitters” paints an eclectic picture, not just of fame, but of the relationships of Black women with each other, men, family and the church –– and succeeds in fostering a dialogue.

While its run in D.C. is over, Steven hopes to bring the “All That Glitters” back to the stage soon, as well as take it on the road. He is currently working on a new play called “Beneatha Man” (the main character’s actual name), and is the playwright of the international best selling stage play “The Truth” exploring the controversial world of the “down low.”


Find out more about “All That Glitters;” Steven A. Butler, Jr; the artistic director and other co-founder Restoration Stage, Inc., Courtney Blake-Oliver; and musical director Christopher John Burnett at


View more images from "All That Glitters" in the Gloss Blog!

Tiffani Alexander

Tiffani Alexander

Publisher and Editor in Chief of (GMO), Tiffani Alexander came to Chicago in the fall of 2004 to pursue her Master's degree in Arts, Entertainment & Media Management at Columbia College Chicago. Tiffani earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from the University of
 Maryland, College Park. She has worked for both Cygnus Business Media and Maher Publishing before embarking on her dream to start her own magazine. In addition to publishing GMO bi-monthly, Tiffani freelances and works as an editor on a legal journal in Washington, DC.


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