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Pictured: Ivan Ellis
Black Ensemble Theater has announced the cast and creative team for its first show of 2018, HAIL, HAIL CHUCK: A TRIBUTE TO CHUCK BERRY written by L. Maceo Ferris (a senior member of the Black Ensemble Theater’s Black Playwrights Initiative) and directed by Black Ensemble Theater Associate Director Daryl D. Brooks.
The production features Ivan Ellis (Young Chuck Berry), Lyle Miller (Older Chuck Berry), Rueben Echoles (Younger Johnny Johnson), Kelvin Davis (Older Johnny Johnson), Kylah Williams (Themetta), Cynthia Carter (Otha Mae), Jeffrey Wright (Leonard Chess), David Stobbe (Teddy Reig), John Wesley Hughes (Taylor Hackford) and Dwight Neal (Muddy Waters). The Ensemble includes Lemond Hayes, Brandon Lavelle, Trequon Tate and Christopher Taylor.
The creative team includes Bekki Lambrecht (set design/stage manager), Denise Karczewski (lighting), David Samba (sound) and Alexi Rutherford (costumes), along with musical director/arranger Robert Reddrick (drums), Adam Sherod (keys), Gary Baker (guitar) and Mark Miller (bass).
From the press release: “HAIL, HAIL CHUCK pays tribute to a man that revolutionized the music industry in an era of overt racism enforced by Jim Crowe laws. With songs like “Maybellene,” “Roll Over Beethoven” and “Johnny B. Goode,” the Black Ensemble pays tribute to one of the greatest rock and roll artists of our lifetime.”
HAIL, HAIL CHUCK: A TRIBUTE TO CHUCK BERRY runs February 17th – April 1st at the Black Ensemble Theater Cultural Center, 4450 N. Clark Street in Chicago. For more information visit blackensembletheater.org.