PerformInk is Chicago's entertainment industry trade publication.
Black Ensemble Theater’s Founder and CEO Jackie Taylor has announced the company’s 43rd season, featuring tributes to Mahalia Jackson, Lena Horne, James Brown, Stevie Wonder and more, as well as the return of “The Other Cinderella.”
“It’s hard to believe that we are now in our 43rd Season here at the Black Ensemble Theater,” said Taylor. “As you know, we have a style all our own, and it will be in full swing for 2019. This is the Season of Legends and Lessons and it begins with renowned Gospel Great Mahalia Jackson, followed by the story and music of legendary Lena Horne. In ‘You Can’t Fake the Funk’ audiences will experience several legends from James Brown to the Parliaments, bringing you the kind of music that will not allow you to stay in your seats. In this Season of Legends, who is more eminent than Stevie Wonder? Our final musical of the Season is legendary because audiences continue to ask for it since we first produced it in 1976—and that’s the magical The Other Cinderella. The 2019 season—The Season of Legends and Lessons—will go down in history as one of our best!”
The Black Ensemble Theater’s 2019 Season (from the press release):
“Mahalia Jackson: Moving Through The Light”
Written and Directed by Jackie Taylor
March 2-April 14, 2019
Mahalia Jackson was considered the greatest gospel singer in the world. Her deep rich voice made her an international star. We learn through this riveting tribute to her life that she not only sang the Gospel, she lived the Gospel. This musical tribute will feature many of her classics including “Precious Lord,” “How Great Thou Art,” “Move on up a Little Higher,” and “I Believe,” to name a few.
“Lena: In Tribute to Lena Horne”
Written by Kylah Williams and Rueben Echoles
Directed by Kylah Williams
May 11 – June 30, 2019
With a career that spanned roughly 70 years – Lena Horne is a legend with many life lessons from which we can learn. Join us for a true Black Ensemble style exploration of the people, the music and the experiences that reflect the life of this extraordinary performer, civil rights pioneer and phenomenal woman known as Lena Horne.
“You Can’t Fake the Funk (From James Brown to Parliament)”
Written and Directed by Daryl D. Brooks
July 20 – September 8, 2019
Hop on the “Mothership” as we journey back when Afro’s were big, bellbottoms were tight, and the music was out of sight. “You Can’t Fake the Funk (From James Brown to Parliament)” guides us through a musical genre that is sure to have you groovin’ in your seats…Ya’ Digg!!
“Songs in the Key of Stevie”
Written and Directed by Rueben Echoles
October 5 – November 17, 2019
Prodigy, genius and phenomenon are just a few of the words used to describe the amazing Stevie Wonder! This show is a musical journey that pays tribute to Stevie’s incredible body of work and sheds a little light on the life and times of this phenomenal artist!
“The Other Cinderella”
Written and Directed by Jackie Taylor
December 14, 2019 – January 26, 2020
“The Other Cinderella” is a Black Ensemble classic that has been enjoyed by people of all colors, kinds
In addition to Black Ensemble Theater’s regular season, a number of special events will be presented during the year, including:
The Annual Black Ensemble New Year’s Eve Show
December 31, 2019
Like all Black Ensemble events, the New Year’s Eve celebration will be an occasion filled with joy and excitement. Guests at the celebration will enjoy a performance by the stars of Black Ensemble Theater, along with great entertainment, fabulous food, dancing with the stars and champagne flowing all night long!
Tickets and more information are available at www.blackensemble.org, (773) 769-4451 or at the Black Ensemble Theater Box Office, 4450 N. Clark Street in Chicago.