Rochester actress and playwright speaks about working with Tyler Perry

Rochester actress and playwright speaks about working with Tyler Perry

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — You may have seen actor and director Tyler Perry’s interview on NBC’s The Kelly Clarkson Show Friday afternoon. Here at home, News10NBC spoke to a Rochester native who worked with the playwright and filmmaker in his early days.

Di’ta Monique is an actress and playwright herself, born and raised right here in Rochester. She said she worked with Perry in the early 2000s, just as he was taking off. She described him as a great guy and a humble person.

Monique said she’d been part of a touring production when they met. Their show was somewhere down south in the early 2000s, when Perry showed up backstage after a performance. The two had a few missed connections before working together — missed connections that included Monique turning down the chance to perform in “Diary of a Mad Black Woman.”

That’s considered by many one of Perry’s breakthrough works. But Monique said she considers Perry’s biggest creative title to be the character of Madea. Madea is an old, tough, and hilarious Black woman that shows up in many of Perry’s works. She’s portrayed by none other than Perry himself. 

Monique got the chance to work with him in “Meet the Browns,” which he wrote and directed. But Perry was sometimes too busy to make the performances themselves. 

He did surprise the cast by appearing during a show in LA though:

“During the show — off script —the phone rings,” Monique said. “And of course, it’s Madea. And of course, he and David always go back – Brown we call him – they’ve got to go at it on stage. So, we’re on stage trying not to laugh, because they’re hilarious […] He was a regular guy, he’s just like you and me. Although we have our gifts and talents, we’re still just us. He was down to earth, you could tell he was a caring person.”

“Meet the Browns” was the last performance Monique did with Perry. She’s still a creative herself down in New Jersey. 

Monique said it’s been great to see Perry continue to blow up and seeing Perry’s massive success reminds her that she could someday be the next Tyler Perry.