CHICAGO: Black Ensemble Theater has announced its 2018 season, featuring five mainstage productions.
“This 42nd season, titled ‘Movers and Shakers,’ has something for everybody,” said artistic director Jackie Taylor in a statement. “From rock ‘n’ roll to soul to blues to hip-hop, and everything in between, this is a musical smorgasbord that cannot be missed.”
The season will open with Hail, Hail Chuck: A Tribute to Chuck Berry (Feb. 17-April 1, 2018), by L. Maceo Ferris, a tribute to the man who revolutionized the music industry with such hits as “Maybellene” and “Roll Over Beethoven.” Daryl Brooks will direct.
Next up will be A New Attitude: In Tribute to Patti LaBelle (May 5-June 17, 2018), written and directed by Rueben D. Echoles, a tribute to the life and career of the soul giant.
The season will continue with Jackie Taylor’s A Tribute to the Blues: From Muddy to BB Starring Rick Stone and Theo Huff (July 14-Aug. 26, 2018), a musical about the history of the blues focusing on Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Koko Taylor, and B.B. King. Taylor will direct.
Following will be Hip Hop Revolution (Sept. 29-Nov. 4, 2018), written and directed by Echoles and Brooks, about how hip-hop music has impacted the music industry. The show will feature music by Biz Markie, Doug E. Fresh, Public Enemy, Lauryn Hill, Biggie, and Tupac.
The season will conclude with Women of Soul (Dec, 8-Jan. 27, 2018), about the lives and careers of the most powerful women of soul music, including Chaka Khan, Sade, Tina Turner, Diana Ross, Tina Marie, and Whitney Houston.
In addition to the season lineup, Black Ensemble will present the BPI Black Playwrights Festival (Jan. 23-25, 2018).
Also on the calendar will be the Sex in the Summer Series, featuring new works; the Black Ensemble Theater Gala (Oct. 12, 2018); and the annual Black Ensemble New Year’s Eve show (Dec. 31, 2018).
Founded in 1976, Black Ensemble Theater stages work celebrating the history of African-American culture, and brings together disparate communities in Chicago.