Showing posts with label At Last: A Tribute to Etta James. Show all posts
Showing posts with label At Last: A Tribute to Etta James. Show all posts

Monday, October 20, 2014

ACT OUT CLOSING: Chi, IL Live Shows On Our Radar-- Fall Favorites Closing Soon #theatre #reviews

Via The League of Chicago Theatres

Fall 2014 will see Chicago continue to produce some of the most exciting theater in the country.  Offerings from the city’s more than 200 producing theaters includes a range of special fall programming, featuring everything from the latest musicals to highly anticipated world premieres.   

Be sure to check back with ChiIL Live Shows like we vote in Chi, IL... early and often. We're passionate about Chicago Theatre and we review everything from the big Broadway in Chicago touring extravaganzas to Chicago's vital and thriving storefront scene.

We've marked some of our fall top picks below in red. Catch them while you can. Many are closing soon. We're your source for fall closings, holiday openings, theatre reviews, news, video interviews, and ticket giveaways. Follow us on Facebook, like our Facebook Page, follow us on Twitter, and Google + so you don't miss out.

For a comprehensive list of Chicago productions including a Fall Theatre Guide, visit the League of Chicago website,  Discounted tickets are available at or at the three Hot Tix half-price ticket locations: across from the Chicago Cultural Center at Expo72 (72 E. Randolph); in the Water Works Visitor Information Center (163 E. Pearson); and the newest location at Block Thirty Seven, Shops at 108 N. State. Hot Tix offers half-price tickets to more than 200 Chicago area theatres, full price tickets to all Ticketmaster events including concerts and sports, and Play Money gift certificates.

“This fall will bring a brand new theater season to Chicago, and true to the reputation of Chicago theater, the season promises to be exciting, creative, and unique.  Theaters will present works ranging from family-friendly shows to hard-hitting dramas, and Chicago remains a leader in developing and producing new works,” says Deb Clapp, Executive Director of the League of Chicago Theatres. “We are anticipating a triumphant season filled with incomparable quality and variety.”

The following is a selection of notable work playing in Chicago throughout the fall:

New works and adaptations include:
*Goodman Theatre brings back Noah Haidle’s hit new work Smokefall, September 20 – October 26, 2014. 

ChiIL Live Shows caught opening night of Smokefall this season and last and we were blown away by this production. Smokefall is an absolute must see. I had the great pleasure of seeing it the first time around with my dad, who is a twin. It's a great production to see with relatives, as it added an extra layer to this complex and compelling family drama. Smokefall gives "Family Tree" and "baggage" a whole new twist! This production is spot on about the things that truly matter and so funny you'll hardly notice as characters'  wit and wisdom seep in and get under your skin. Highly recommended.
Isaac’s Eye, a new work by Lucas Hnath reimagines the world of a young Isaac Newton plays at Writers Theatre at Books on Vernon, September 2 – December 7, 2014.  

Musicals include:
The world premiere musical Amazing Grace, based on the awe-inspiring true story, plays at the Bank of America Theatre, October 9 – November 2, 2014.

Griffin Theatre Company presents Titanic, the Tony Award-winning musical re-imaged and re-written for the stage in its first major US Production, October 18 – December 7, 2014

*The hit modern musical Avenue Q continues at The Mercury Theater, 3745 N. Southport Ave, through October 26, 2014.

Here at ChiIL Live Shows, Avenue Q is one of our all time favorite musicals, and The Mercury Theater production is every bit as wicked and witty as the Broadway version. If you still haven't seen it, what are you waiting for? Go already! This should be mandatory viewing for all older teens, recent high school and college graduates, and everyone who has ever struggled to make ends meet, had quirky neighbors, lived the urban dream, or loved muppets in childhood. Do note--these puppets are raunchy, irreverent, cynical and not particularly kid appropriate. That said, they'll crack you up and rock your reality. Highly recommended.

*Black Ensemble Theatre brings back At Last: A Tribute to Etta James, featuring 15 of Etta James’ biggest hits, October 24 – December 28, 2014.

BET's remount of At Last: A Tribute to Etta James, is a pure delight. They don't dilute the truth, and feature the tough times, addictions and attitude along with the award winning genius that is Etta James. Her multifaceted personality and life long career are creatively played by multiple Ettas of various ages. The vocal talent at Black Ensemble Theatre is stunning, and entirely impressive. Highly recommended.

Dramatic works include:
Steppenwolf Theatre Company presents a compelling new drama The Night Alive by Conor McPherson, directed by Henry Wishcamper, September 18 – November 16, 2014.

*Shakespeare’s King Lear, at Chicago Shakespeare Theater on Navy Pier. Directed by Barbara Gaines and featuring Chicago favorite Larry Yando in the title role, September 9 – November 9, 2014.

Two words--Larry Yando! Don't let the King Lear title fool you, Yando is King Midas and his name is box office gold! This production is well worth seeing, as Yando embodies the complexities of Lear with panache. He's at once detestable yet charmingly pitiful. Chicago Shakespeare keeps the set minimalist and the costumes modern. The stage rain and thunderous clashes are particularly evocative and amazing. Recommended.

My Name is Asher Lev, adapted by Aaron Posner from the novel by Chaim Potok, premieres at TimeLine Theatre Company at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave, through October 18, 2014.

The classic Arthur Miller drama All My Sons performs at Raven Theatre in Edgewater. September 16 – November 15, 2014.

About Chicago theater
Chicago theater is the leader in the U.S. with more than 250 theaters throughout Chicagoland, comprising a rich and varied community ranging from storefront, non-union theaters to the most renowned resident theaters in the country, including 5 which have been honored with Regional Tony Awards, and the largest touring Broadway organization in the nation. Chicago’s theaters serve 5 million audience members annually and have a combined budget of more than $250 million. Chicago produces and/or presents more world premieres annually than any other city in the nation. In 2009-10 alone Chicago theater companies produced more than 130 world premiere productions and adaptations. Each year Chicago theaters send new work to resident theaters across the country, to Broadway, and around the world. 

The League of Chicago Theatres’ Mission Statement
The League of Chicago Theatres is an alliance of theaters which leverages its collective strength to promote, support and advocate for Chicago's theater industry locally, nationally and internationally. The League of Chicago Theatres Foundation is dedicated to enhancing the art of theater in the Chicago area through audience development and support services for theaters and theater professionals.

For a comprehensive list of Chicago productions, visit the League of Chicago website,  Discounted tickets are available at

Wednesday, October 1, 2014


Act Out:  Chicago Theatre openings, closings, reviews, giveaways, ticket sale dates and more. Chi, IL Live Shows on stage and on our radar.


Here at ChiIL Live Shows we've been wowed for years, by Black Ensemble Theater and the stellar talent of Jackie Taylor. BET consistently produces high caliber, professional shows that feature some of the best vocalists and live musicians in the city.  If you adore Etta James' work like we do, BET are the ones to do her justice. Come check out the remount of this acclaimed production.

Black Ensemble Theater Founder and CEO Jackie Taylor announces the return of the Black Ensemble classic At Last: A Tribute to Etta James written and directed by Jackie Taylor and co-directed by Daryl D. Brooks.  At Last: A Tribute to Etta James will be presented at the Black Ensemble Theater Cultural Center, 4450 N. Clark Street in Chicago, September 27-December 28, 2014.  

This phenomenal superstar giant lives again through the pen of Jackie Taylor. Ms. Taylor brings back this Black Ensemble classic featuring 15 of Etta James' biggest hits.
Title:                             At Last: A Tribute to Etta James
Written by:                    Jackie Taylor
Co-directed by:             Jackie Taylor and Daryl D. Brooks
Musical Director:           Robert Reddrick
Dates:                          September 27-December 28, 2014
Previews: September 27 and 28, October 3 and 4
                                    Press Performance: Sunday, October 5 at 3:00 p.m.
Schedule:                     Wed & Thurs:               7:30 p.m. (except Oct. 1-23, Nov. 27, and
Dec. 25)
                                    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), is expected in to begin construction in 2014.

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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