My name is Jerry Wilkes; however, my friends call me “Jay”. In May of 2000, I accepted an early retirement from Delta Air Lines to care for my mom, who subsequently died from liver cancer. Later, I served for three years as a Commissioner on the Jacksonville Human Rights Commission. I also worked for several years as manager of Rainbow and Stars, a retail LGBT store in Jacksonville’s 5 Points area. For the past 9 years, I have been the “face at the door” of The Metro Entertainment Complex on Friday and Saturday nights. In addition, I recently received the Florida Civic Recognition ( http://civicrecognition-12.org/news/11798108710017/Jerry-Wilkes-Jacksonville-Florida-html ) . About 6 years ago, I believe God inspired me with an idea for a novel. Since I never considered myself a writer, I tried for two years to find someone who could write it. Everyone seemed to like the idea, but no one came forward. Finally, I sat down and wrote the novel all by myself. I titled it “PINK”. When friends read it, they loved it. One friend, who was an Executive Producer on “A Night with Janis Joplin”, wanted it in a “play format” in order to present it to his friends in New York.
I knew absolutely nothing about writing a novel, much less a play; however, on that very day a friend introduced me to someone who did. God sent David Dupuis who had devoted his entire life to studying plays, reading and writing plays but had never actually had any success. For two weeks, David brought over his lap top. I would close my eyes and become the characters, and David would record me. David would then go to his house, stay up all night typing, and, the next morning, it would be on my computer in my “in box” formatted as a play. After two weeks, we had a play. I called it “PINK, A PLAY”. My friend shopped it to his friends in New York, and, although they liked the idea, they thought 15 characters were too many for the stage.
Finally, out of despair, I decided to produce it myself in Jacksonville. Again, I knew absolutely less than nothing about producing a play, but my faith was in God. For several weeks in advance, I put out a casting call. I loaded 17 copies of my script into my car and went to meet everyone who showed up. After about an hour, I realized no one was going to show up. I spoke in silence to God and said, “I don’t get this”. God spoke to my heart and said, “Be patient”. I told Him He had left me with very little choice and began to load everything back into my car. At that time, my cell phone rang. It was Jeff Wells, who had come months earlier to be part of the initial reading of the play. I told him not to come since no one else had. He asked me to please wait for him, and I did.
After talking with Jeff for a while, I knew he was the reason God had told me to “be patient”. Jeff had actually produced several plays in the Jacksonville area and knew about costumes, lighting, makeup, staging, actors, etc. He knew everything about bringing a play to reality, and he was definitely sent by God. Within a very short time, Jeff cast the play and rehearsals were started. Since it was summer, and most theaters book their plays months in advance, we could find no place to perform it. My friend, who also owns a large entertainment complex in Jacksonville, offered his largest room, which contained a stage, for our use. Finally, in August of 2014, we brought my play to the public. Jacksonville’s theater magazine, EU, sent two critics to review the play. Their review can be found on this site under …………..
A local Public television station, WJCT, filmed the play for me; however, the lighting and sound are terrible. I know I ought to offer the best I can when presenting my play for others to see, but this is the best I could afford. I paid for everything and, since I live on a fixed income, I had to be cost conscious. I asked God to touch the hearts of anyone watching the DVD to look beyond the bad lighting, the poor sound quality and see the amazing story presented.
Pink isn’t a “remake” of an old story. It is an entirely new idea and is relevant to current times. In many ways, it is my story. I am the high school student who was molested by one of his teachers for two years. I am the gay rap singer to whom God spoke and said, “You don’t have to lie to make Me look good”. I am Robbie when Dave put his arms around me and said, “The line between loving you and being in love with you has gotten very dim”. I am Dave who struggled through two marriages and two divorces. I am Cheryl who uttered these words about her deceased husband, “I would give everything I own, be homeless and eat out of garbage cans for the rest of my life if only I could spend one more day with him”. Those words came from my heart when my mom died of liver cancer. I had spent the last 14 months of her life as her caregiver. In some way, I am all of these characters, and I know them intimately.
My hope and prayer has always been “it will touch hearts and change minds”.
Where to find Jerry Wilkes online
by Jerry Wilkes
Imagine a world in which everyone who is lesbian, gay or bi-sexual turns Pink, and it doesn’t go away. That is the story of "PINK"
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