Black Ensemble Theater’s Founder and CEO Jackie Taylor announces the 2018 Season featuring tributes to legendary artists Chuck Berry and Patti LaBelle, as well as the Blues (highlighting the music of some of the greatest Blues artists from Muddy Waters to B.B. King), Hip Hop music, and the Women of Soul. Performances will be held at the Black Ensemble Theater Cultural Center, 4450 N. Clark Street in Chicago.
Jackie Taylor comments, "This 42nd Season titled ‘Movers and Shakers’ has something for everybody! From Rock and Roll, to Soul, to Blues, to Hip Hop and everything in between, this is a musical smorgasbord that cannot be missed."
The Black Ensemble Theater’s 2018 ‘Movers and Shakers’ Season includes:
Hail, Hail Chuck: A Tribute to Chuck Berry
Written by L. Maceo Ferris
Directed by Daryl Brooks
February 17 – April 1, 2018
Previews: February 17, 18, 23 and 24
Press Opening: Sunday, February 25 at 3 p.m.
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.
A New Attitude: In Tribute to Patti LaBelle
Written and Directed by Rueben D. Echoles
May 5 – June 17, 2018
Previews: May 5, 6, 11 and 12
Press Opening: Sunday, May 13 at 3 p.m.
A New Attitude is a fun-filled tribute to the ultimate diva—Patti LaBelle. This night of singing is sure to have you “Over the Rainbow.”
A Tribute to the Blues: From Muddy to BB
Starring Rick Stone and Theo Huff
Written and Directed by Jackie Taylor
July 14 – August 26, 2018
Previews: July 14, 15, 20 and 21
Press Opening: Sunday, July 22 at 3 p.m.
The history of the blues never looked so good as it does in this fun-filled bluesical featuring the music of some of the greatest blues artists of all time including Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Koko Taylor and B.B. King, just to name a few.
Hip Hop Revolution
Written and Directed by Rueben Echoles and Daryl Brooks
September 29 – November 4, 2018
Previews: September 29 & 30 and October 5 & 6
Press Opening: Sunday, October 7 at 3 p.m.
Hip Hop Revolution takes audiences on a journey through decades of Hip Hop music and how it changed the music industry we have today. With music by artists such as Biz Markie, Doug E. Fresh, Public Enemy, Lauren Hill, Biggie, and Tupac, this show is sure to entertain and educate about a musical genre that has taken the world by storm!
Women of Soul
Written and Directed by Daryl Brooks
December 8, 2018 – January 27, 2019
Previews: December 8, 9, 14 and 15
Press Opening: Sunday, December 16 at 3 p.m.
Women of Soul guides us through the life of some of the most powerful women of soul music. Women like Chaka Khan, Sade, Tina Turner, Diana Ross, Tina Marie and the incomparable Whitney Houston made a huge impact on the music industry.Women of Soul takes a look at the struggles and the triumphs these women went through to reach the pinnacle of their success.
In addition to Black Ensemble Theater’s regular season, a number of special events will be presented during the year:
BPI Black Playwrights Festival
January 23 - 25, 2018
The 13th Annual Black Playwrights Festival brings a weekend of new scripts to the BE stage, as part of the company’s Black Playwright’s Initiative (BPI). Written by BPI members and developed through the BPI process, all featured scripts will receive engaging and innovative readings.
Sex In The Summer Series
Black Ensemble presents its 10th Annual Sex in the Summer Series, featuring new works by members of the Black Playwright’s Initiative (BPI) focused on the subject of sex.
Black Ensemble Theater Gala
Friday, October 12 at the Swissotel Chicago.
The Annual Black Ensemble New Year’s Eve Show
December 31, 2018
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.
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.
On November 18, 2011, The Black Ensemble Theater Cultural Center opened and is able to accommodate larger-scale productions, bigger audiences and a wider range of educational programming. The new facility includes amenities such as a 299-seat main stage theater (double the capacity of the original venue); 14 offices, classroom space, rehearsal hall, dance studio, scene shop, costume shop, and wardrobe rooms; seven dressing rooms; rehearsal room for musicians; front lobby space with concession areas; and an indoor parking garage. The completion of a 150-seat theater, which will serve as an experimental stage for the work of the Black Playwright Initiative (BPI) is scheduled to be completed in 2018/19.
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, please visit www.BlackEnsembleTheater.org or call 773-769-4451.