Jackie Taylor, director and founder of the Chicago based Black Ensemble Theater, was honored by ABC-7 Chicago during the station’s celebration of Black History Month. Morning news anchor Terrell Brown presented Jackie in a television feature segment to discuss the legacy she established since the theater’s opening in 1976.
Jackie told Terrell, that since her first acting role in the 1975 black film classic “Cooley High”, she always had aspirations for bigger things. “I’m an actress, I will always be an actress,”expresses Jackie, ‘but right now my focus is on the theater, making it last beyond ‘Jackie Taylor’.”
Jackie also introduced the theater’s upcoming play, Hail Hail Chuck: A Tribute To Chuck Berry. It’s one of BET’s favorites and the newest theatrical play featured this February. Directed by Darryl D. Brooks and written by L. Maceo Ferris, Hail Hail Chuck pays tribute to renowned musician Chuck Berry, the bluesy rock guitarist who helped pioneer the rock-n-roll sound of the ’50’s.
Hail Hail Chuck: A Tribute To Chuck Berry opened this past weekend to a welcoming audience with both Brooks and Ferris in attendance. They received a rousing ovation for their depiction of Chuck Berry’s life story that revealed him being victimized as a child, his challenges with racism and his rise to fame, becoming one of the greatest rock ’n’ roll guitarists in music history.
Vincent Jordan, who portrayed the younger Chuck took the stage early and gave the audience an emotional experience of Chuck Berry’s life during an era of overt racism. Lyle Miller portrayed the older Chuck and guided the audience in storytelling, song and performance. Both actors performed flawlessly to live music, showcasing some of Chuck Berry's signature songs like "Roll Over Beethoven", "Mabellene" and "Johnny B. Goode". Orchestration was led by Black Ensemble Theater's musical director and arranger Robert Reddrick (drums) with Adam Sherod (keys), Gary Baker (guitar) and Mark Miller (bass).
Although Jackie is proud of the success of Hail Hail Chuck, she told Terrell that, of the more than 100 plays she’s been involved in, its her first play, ‘The Other Cinderella’, she cherish the most.
“Of all the wonderful things I’ve written, this one is my baby. Its such a wonderful message of acceptance and understanding.”
Black Ensemble Theater’s Hail Hail Chuck: A Tribute To Chuck Berry is performing now through April 1st. Tickets can be purchased by visiting the theater’s website at blackensemble.org. Jackie Taylor’s full on-camera presentation with Terrell Brown can be viewed by visiting the station’s website at ABC7Chicago.com.
Black History Month Feature Articles on ChicagoNow.com
Filed under: theatrical plays