Black Ensemble Theater’s Founder and CEO Jackie Taylor announces the 43rd Season of Excellence: Legends and Lessons. The 2019 Season includes tributes to the renowned Gospel great Mahalia Jackson, legendary singer and actress Lena Horne, funk legends from James Brown to The Parliaments, and the legendary Motown artist, American icon and musical genius Stevie Wonder. The season culminates with the return of audience favorite The Other Cinderella. All performances will be held at the Black Ensemble Theater Cultural Center, 4450 N. Clark Street in Chicago.
Jackie Taylor comments, “It's hard to believe that we are now in our 43rd Season here at the Black Ensemble Theater. 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 includes:
Mahalia Jackson: Moving Through The Light
Written and Directed by Jackie Taylor
March 2-April 14, 2019, Previews: March 2, 3, 8 and 9, Press Opening: Sunday, March 10 at 3 p.m.
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, Previews: May 11, 12, 17 and 18, Press Opening: Sunday, May 19 at 3 p.m.
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, Previews: July 20, 21, 26 and 27, 2019,Press Opening: Sunday, July 28 at 3 p.m.
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, Previews: October 5, 6, 11 and 12, 2019, Press Opening: Sunday, October 13 at 3 p.m.
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, Previews: December 14, 25, 20 and 21, 2019, Press Opening: Sunday, December 22 at 3 p.m.
The Other Cinderella is a Black Ensemble classic that has been enjoyed by people of all colors, kinds and ages. In this African American rendition of this African fairy tale, Cinderella is from the projects, The Stepmamma works at the Post Office, there is a King, Queen and Prince, there are the Brothers are From The Hood, and The Fairygodmama is from Jamaica. The Other Cinderella is a musical classic that audiences have returned to see time and time again. The music is divine, the dancing is wild and the story is uplifting, positive and infectious.
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 are available at www.blackensemble.org, (773) 769-4451 or at the Black Ensemble Theater Box Office, 4450 N. Clark Street in Chicago. Single tickets for regular season performances are priced at $55 on Thursdays, and Saturday matinees; and $65 on Fridays, Saturday evenings, and Sunday matinees. A 10% discount is available for students, seniors, and groups. Previews are priced at $45.
The Black Ensemble Theater will sell the Gold Card which allows the holder to see all 5 plays for $210 which represents a $30% discount on full price tickets. The Gold Card is good for 1 ticket per production. For more details or to purchase a Gold Card contact the box office at 773-769-4451.
The Black Ensemble Theater
Founded in 1976, by the phenomenal producer, playwright and actress Jackie Taylor, Black Ensemble Theater is the only African American theater located in the culturally, racially and ethnically diverse north side Uptown community. Through its Five Play Season of Excellence, The Black Ensemble Theater dazzles audiences locally, nationally and internationally with outstanding original musicals that are entertaining, educational and uplifting. The Black Ensemble Theater has produced more than 100 productions and employed over 5,000 artists.
The mission of the Black Ensemble Theater Company is to eradicate racism and its devastating effects upon society through the theater arts. For more information on the Black Ensemble Theater Company, visit www.BlackEnsembleTheater.org or call 773-769-4451.
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