Sunday, December 20, 2015

OPENING: Dynamite Divas A Tribute to Women of Soul at BLACK ENSEMBLE THEATER

Dynamite Divas
A Tribute to Women of Soul
December 12, 2015 – January 24, 2016

Black Ensemble Theater Founder and CEO Jackie Taylor announces Dynamite Divas, A Tribute to Women of Soul, produced and written by Jackie Taylor and directed by Rueben D. Echoles, with musical direction by Robert Reddrick. Dynamite Divas will be performed at the Black Ensemble Theater Cultural Center, 4450 N. Clark Street in Chicago, December 12, 2015 – January 24, 2016. 

What happens when you put Aretha Franklin, Nancy Wilson and Gladys Knight together in the same room for a day?  Well you certainly get some great nostalgic music that’s for sure.  Originally presented in 2001, Dynamite Divas also features a spiritual visit from Nina Simone and Whitney Houston, with a guest appearance from Queen Beyonce (not the real one!) who asks the Divas and “Why Not Me.”

The cast includes Shari Addison (Aretha Franklin), Rhonda Preston (Nancy Wilson), Rashada Dawan (Gladys Knight), Kylah Frye (Ensemble), Jessica Seals (Ensemble), Cherise Thomas (Ensemble), Donald Craig Manuel (Hubert), Daniel O’Brian Phillips (Donny Hathaway), Tricia Trible (Ensemble) and Demetrius Spidle (Ensemble).  Casting for Roberta Flack and Mr. Maurice are TBA.
As with all Black Ensemble production, the production features a live band, which includes Robert Reddrick (Musical Director/drums), Mark Miller (bass), Gary Baker (guitar), Justin Dillard (piano), Paul Howard (trumpet), Dudley Owens (saxophone) and Bill McFarland (trombone). 

The designers are Rueben Echoles (costumes), The A Team (set), Denise Karczewski (lighting), and Aaron Quick (sound). The production stage manager is Daryl Brooks

Dates: December 12, 2015 – January 24, 2016
Schedule: Thursday: 7:30 p.m. 
Friday: 8:00 p.m.
Saturday: 3:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.
Sunday: 3:00 p.m. 

Location: Black Ensemble Theater Cultural Center, 4450 N. Clark Street. 
Valet parking is available.

Ticket prices: $55 on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturday matinees; and $65 on Fridays, Saturday evenings, and Sunday matinees. A 10% discount is available for students, seniors, and groups. 

Box Office: Buy online at or call (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), with construction by General Contractor Norcon Inc., is expected in 2016/17. 

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 or call 773-769-4451.

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