The urban theater actress enters a new, unscripted forum.
Bravo – home of The Real Housewives franchise – has added another reality show to its roster with Your Husband is Cheating on Us, starring Detroit native Tondy Gallant. The show premiered on April 1 and follows a cast of actors and actresses as they prepare for an urban stage play by the same name – while living together in a New York City apartment.
"In urban theater, the real drama is behind the scenes," says Gallant, who plays "Cinnamon," best friend to lead Lia Grant, who gets splashed with some tea about yet another woman by her philandering husband's main side chick. The cheating husband is played by iconic R&B singer Ginuwine, and viewers can expect his and Gallant's relationship to be a main storyline of the TV series.
The two met years ago while working on a different show. "We were attracted to one another, but we couldn't (act on it)," she says. "He was married and I was in a serious relationship. But it's so funny, when you're on the road like that, people get close." Now, we see them reunited, both single and living under the same Upper East Side roof. When asked how that scenario will play out, Gallant expels the kind of laugh expected of a stage actress: boisterous and full of personality. "Girl, stay tuned," she eventually says.
Gallant started in music, making it to the finale of MTV's Making the Band 2. Her first introduction to the stage was in 2004 by way of If These Hips Could Talk, a production circled around four women who explore real issues from abusive relationships to infidelity. "That was probably one of the best shows that I've done, because it had such a powerful message for women. I enjoyed playing that character because I was serving as a mirror for women."
Since then, she's gone on to etch an indelible mark in urban theater, a genre which Your Husband playwright, director and producer JD Lawrence calls an experience that "is the heart of the black community." He and Ginuwine recently sat down with morning radio show The Breakfast Club and Lawrence discussed the significance of urban theater, saying, "For a long time, people did not understand the difference between Broadway and urban theater. Urban theater is pretty much – as everyone says – for us, by us." Or more colorfully, as he says in a Bravo promo, "This ain't Broadway."
On whether she was worried about the stigma that often comes with reality TV, Gallant says, "That was in the back of my mind. I've been approached to do other reality shows before, especially here in Atlanta" – her current home – "but I would say 'no' because I felt like I don't want to just be on a show arguing and fighting. I really liked the idea of this show because it's showing our talent. I want to be on here for a reason and not because they want somebody that's got a strong personality and that they know is going to throw some hands."
Still, with six strong minds chambered together for eight weeks, you can expect a sufficient amount of drama and horn-locking. Gallant reminds that during a normal production, "We don't have to deal with each other besides on the stage or rehearsals, but here, we're forced to deal with each other every day. So everything is intensified." Plus, "all actors and actresses are a little kooky."
A role in a play chronicling Marvin Gaye's life is in the works for Gallant, where she'll play Gaye's first wife, Anna Gordy. She's mum on the details but promises a "huge" production. We'll just have to stay tuned.
Your Husband is Cheating on Us airs Fridays on Bravo at 9 p.m.