Showing posts with label Drama. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Drama. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

New Release: Chicago duo DRAMA'S DANCE WITHOUT ME Available February 14, 2020


Photo by Zoe Rain 

We do like to show our locals some love here in Chi, IL, particularly since 2020 Is The Year of Chicago Music. Chicago duo DRAMA have their highly anticipated album out THIS FRIDAY.

DRAMA is a great example of a Chicago success story. After moving to Chicago in 2010, Rosa connected with THEMPeople, a collective at the center of the city’s sprawling hip-hop scene. Shehade who was born in Chicago to immigrant parents, fell in love with DJ culture as a kid and took up music production and engineering; his interest eventually led to professional opportunities, including early studio work with Chance the Rapper, Kanye West, and music projects for MTV and Bravo. 

After a number of chance meetings they decided to collaborate and the great music followed quickly. Described as "electro-soul" but so much more the new album is definitely not one to sleep on. They will also be playing April 3rd at The Metro. 

DRAMA is the multicultural collaboration between producer Na’el Shehade’s chic Chicago house-infused production style, and vocalist Via Rosa whose soulful delivery is inspired by the improvisational nature of jazz and playful patterns of hip-hop and bossa nova. The duo play to the complementary dynamics of their unlikely pairing by blurring the lines between R&B and dance-pop, heartbreak and bliss. 

They have shared the first video from their brilliant debut album Dance Without Me—out February 14 via Ghostly International—for new single “Years.” Watch the video, directed by Adam Chitayat via Complex: 

"This track is a bittersweet song about the conflict of wanting to let go but still hold onto someone you love, but you know they’re not right for you,” Via Rosa notes. “It’s about knowing you should walk away but also wanting to confess your unconditional and eternal love." Regarding the video, director Adam Chitayat adds, "Filmed practically, we set out to create a series of otherworldly, constantly transitioning spaces for DRAMA to perform through. Emotions can feel like they take us on a ride, floating us forward and bringing us towards things we need to tackle in our lives. The floating and the spaces seek to represent the themes of the song - speaking to your own heart, confronting your past and opening yourself back up to vulnerability."

Dance Without Me is a refined collection that recasts romantic tragedy as moonlit self-acceptance, as heard on previous singles “Hold On,” “Gimme Gimme” and “Nine One One.” It’s a remarkably refined album for a young band, with Rosa’s lyrical candor creating expressionistic narratives about interpersonal intricacies all finessed for the club by Shehade. As a lyricist, Rosa takes her blues and makes them vibrant — rather than wallow alone. There is lush lovelorn affliction blended into the tracks on Dance Without Me, which can be pre-ordered here: 

Since a chance meeting in 2014 lead to the creation of DRAMA, the Chicago-based duo has bootstrapped a subtle rise on their own terms, self-releasing several EPs and mapping multiple tours with Midwestern grit. Rosa & Na'el announced an extensive North American, UK & European headline tour, kicking off in the UK later this month. See dates below and be sure to see them for a taste of their gorgeous new music.

01.29 Manchester, UK @ Night and Day Cafe
01.30 London, UK @ Heaven
02.01 Paris, FR @ Le 1999
02.02 Brussels, BE @ Le Botanique (Witloof Bar)
02.04 Hamburg, DE @ Nochtwache
02.05 Cologne, DE @ Studio 672
02.06 Berlin, DE @ Kantine Am Berghain
02.07 Amsterdam, NL @ Paradiso - SOLD OUT
02.08 Rotterdam, NL @ Rotown 
02.26 Phoenix, AZ @ Valley Bar
02.27 San Diego, CA @ Music Box
02.28 Santa Ana, CA @ Constellation Room
02.29 Los Angeles, CA @ Teragram Ballroom
03.03 San Francisco, CA @ The Independent - SOLD OUT
03.04 San Francisco, CA @ The Independent
03.06 Portland, OR @ Wonder Ballroom
03.07 Seattle, WA @ The Crocodile
03.18 Detroit, MI @ Marble Bar
03.19 Toronto, ON @ Velvet Underground
03.20 Montréal, QC @ Le Ministère
03.21 Boston, MA @ Great Scott
03.26 Brooklyn, NY @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
03.27 Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda's
03.28 Washington, DC @ Union Stage
04.03 Chicago, IL @ Metro
04.28 Atlanta, GA @ Aisle 5
04.30 Dallas, TX @ Three Links
05.01 Houston, TX @ White Oak Music Hall
05.02 Austin, TX @ Barracuda

Album Pre-Order / Pre-Save:

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Monday, February 16, 2015

OPENING: The World Premiere Drama THE TRIAL OF MOSES Fleetwood Walker at BET

the World Premiere DRAMA 
THE TRIAL OF MOSES Fleetwood Walker  

Black Ensemble Theater Founder and CEO Jackie Taylor presents the World Premiere non-singing musical drama The Trial of Moses Fleetwood Walker, written by Ervin Gardner, produced and directed by Jackie Taylor and featuring live musicians and 22 actors.  The Trial of Moses Fleetwood Walker will be presented at the Black Ensemble Theater Cultural Center, 4450 N. Clark Street in Chicago, now through March 15, 2015. 

If asked, “Who was the first Black major league baseball player?” most people would say, ”Jackie Robinson”— and most people would be wrong. The first Black baseball player was Moses Fleetwood Walker and he played for the Toledo Blue Stocking in 1884 in the major leagues.  However this is not a story about baseball.  This is the trial of a Black man who was as popular in his time as Michael Jordan is in ours. Moses is accused of murdering a white man in a time when Blacks were traditionally lynched without a trial for far less crimes such as looking directly in the eyes of a white man. This is a powerful true story and speaks directly to the mission of the Black Ensemble Theater—to eradicate racism.  

The Trial of Moses Fleetwood Walker represents the most culturally diverse and largest cast in the history of the Black Ensemble Theater with a cast of 19 people playing a total of 24 characters. Andre Teamer stars as Moses Fleetwood Walker.  Other cast members include: Casey Hayes, Jack Birdwell, Trey Hobbs, Lawrence Garner, Joey Swift, Joseph Galizia, James Shinkle, Colin Reeves, Tamarus Harvell, Terry Gallagher, Gregory Fenner, Christopher McMorris, Leslie Wells, Sean Dolan, Creg Sclavi, Joshua Wheeler, Nick Ferrin and Leslie Collins. 

The Trial of Moses Fleetwood Walker
PHOTO CREDIT: Danny Nicholas 
Ferrin, Hayes, Teamer, Collins: Nick Ferrin (Harrison Hoyt), Casey Hayes (A.C. Hancock), Andre Teamer (Moses Fleetwood Walker), Leslie Collins (Arabella Walker)

The Trial of Moses Fleetwood Walker is a drama with live music representing the era of the play, which takes place in 1891. The music is composed by Jackie Taylor. The Music Director and Arranger is Robert Reddrick. The musicians are Gary Baker (guitar), Justin Dillard (keyboard/conductor), Vinnie Roofe (guitar), Samuel “Savoirfaire” Williams (violin 1) and Lennette Neal (violin 2).
Title: The Trial of Moses Fleetwood Walker 
Written by: Ervin Gardner
Produced and Directed by: Jackie Taylor
Music Composed by: Jackie Taylor
Music Director and Arranger: Robert Reddrick
Dates: Through March 15, 2015

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 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 Trial of Moses Fleetwood Walker
PHOTO CREDIT: Danny Nicholas 
Teamer, Collins: Andre Teamer (Moses Fleetwood Walker), Leslie Collins (Arabella Walker)

“There is a question that has come out of the circumstances surrounding the killings of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Trayvon Martin in Florida, and Eric Gardner in New York, and that question is, ‘Do Black lives matter?’  That question was answered in 1891 through a true story related to the trial of Moses Fleetwood Walker,” explains Jackie Taylor.  “The mission of the Black Ensemble Theater is to eradicate racism and The Trial of Moses Fleetwood Walker works toward that mission.  This is a vitally important story that is greatly needed especially during these very troubling times.  Of course Black lives matter – all lives matter – and that becomes perfectly clear when you experience The Trial of Moses Fleetwood Walker. This play’s riveting messages will bring hope to all those who choose to share in its uplifting experience. 

Playwright Ervin Gardner brings to life this outstanding and touching story. He is a member of Black Playwrights Initiative (BPI) – a group created by Jackie Taylor for the sole purpose of writing plays specifically for the Black Ensemble Theater. This is Gardner’s first full length play. 

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 by General Contractor Norcon Inc. in January 2015 with a September 2015 opening. 

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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