CHICAGO: Black Ensemble Theater has announced its 40th season, titled “The 2020 Season of Change,” which will feature five plays instead of the company’s usual four.
“For Black Ensemble Theater, 2020 begins ‘The Season of Change,’” said founder and CEO Jackie Taylor in a statement. “Our 44th season has been changed from the usual five plays to four plays a season. This allows us the opportunity to be able to extend our most popular productions while giving our in-house writing team a more flexible writing schedule. Change is difficult for some, and Black Ensemble understands that, so we begin our change very slowly with Legends, a totally different musical concept that celebrates legends outside of the music industry. I’m so excited about this production that highlights the legends who have changed the world—I think our audiences are ready for something new and different.”
The season will open with Legends (March 5-April 12, 2020), written and directed by Taylor, a tribute to musical legends and historical heroes, including comedian and Civil Rights activist Dick Gregory.
Next up will be B-Side (May 9-June 28, 2020), written and directed by Kylah Frye, a musical revue featuring popular songs that were originally recorded on B-sides of records.
Following will be I’m Every Woman: In Tribute to Chaka Khan (Aug. 15-Oct. 4, 2020), written and directed by Rueben Echoles, about the life and career of Chaka Khan and other female musical artists in the 1970s.
The mainstage season will conclude with Reasons: The Story of Earth, Wind & Fire (Nov. 7-Jan. 10, 2021), written and directed by Daryl Brooks, about the life and times of the band.
In addition, Black Ensemble Theater will present The Soul of a Powerful Woman (May 24, 2020), A Personal Evening With Jackie Taylor (TBA), A Soulful Christmas (Dec. 20, 2020), and the annual Black Ensemble New Year’s Eve Show (Dec. 31, 2020).
Founded in 1976, Black Ensemble Theater stages work celebrating the history of African-American culture, and brings together disparate communities in Chicago.