You Can't Fake the Funk

A Journey Through Funk Music 

brandon-lavellHave you ever listened to some music that made you want to get up and dance? Maybe you were listening to 70's funk music! Some real good funk, when African-American musicians created a rhythmic sound that had you dancing to a new form of music, mixed with soul, jazz, and rhythm and blues (R&B). The type of funk music that had you grooving all night long.

If you're not old enough to know what funk music is all about, keep reading because we're about to take you on a ride on 'The Mothership.'

Black Ensemble Theater, "You Can't Fake The Funk: A Journey Through Funk Music," takes the audience on a soulful journey of how 'Funk Music' invaded our lives with elements of soul and jazz. Written and directed by producing manager Daryl Brooks, this stage performance puts the F.U.N. back in the funk!

Brooks guides us through this musical genre of "Legends and Lessons" season by transporting us back in time on the teleporting 'Mothership.'

There are no tender ballads or slow solos in this play, just non-stop entertainment with wild music to stir up the soul to make you want to jump up and dance. There was one slow jam that slipped in on 'The Mothership,' 'I'd Rather Be With You' now, how can you not included a slow jam by one of the kings of Funk; Bootsy Collins.

thera-wright-vincent-jordan-stewart-romeo-dwight-nealThe funkadelic spaceship was equipped with some psychedelic music, funky costumes, big Afro's, tight bellbottoms and platform shoes that can break your ankles. The song list consists of 27 funky songs celebrating such artists James Brown, Sly, and The Family Stone, Earth Wind and Fire, Ohio Players, Rufus and Chaka Khan, Rick James, George Clinton, Parliament-Funkadelic and Bootsy Collins and many more.

In the '60s, when the smooth and sweet sounds of Motown was the main source of music, funk erupted the scene with the "Cold Sweat" sounds of soul, jazz and R&B, however pioneers like James Brown and Rick James, who paved the way made a totally new sound of music that commanded your attention where everyone "shook a tail feather" and dance all night long.

The host for the evening was Dwight Neal as Dr. Funk, who guided us through this very exciting time in history. Also making it do what it do, baby, was B.E.T. ensemble members Brandon Lavell, Jayla Williams-Craig, Stewart Romeo, Thera Wright, Blake Hawthorne, Lemond Hayes, Vincent Jordan, David Simmons, and Michael Adkins. The cast did an exceptional job embodying these iconic legends and entertained the audience by bringing the funk throughout the entire two and half hour musical!

This two-act musical extravaganza took us on a voyage back in time with speed lightning costume changes, funky dance steps that have you moving in your seats and spot-on timing to make sure we were 'One Nation Under A Groove.' They also paid homage to Bootsy Collins and Parliament-Funkadelic, the sound's signature sensation and Funk's Hollywood Legacy Curtis Mayfield and Isaac Hayes who provided the fascinating sounds in the Blaxploitation films as Shaft, Superfly and Car Wash.

vincent-jordanRueben Echoles provided the costumes that depicted the era where what you wore represented how cool you were just as much as important to what music you were grooving to. The revolving stage was a nice touch and brought the performers in and off the 'Funky Town' stage where the music that de-emphasized on melody and chord progressions took you right into another stratosphere.

Music Director Robert Reddrick and his band of seven, brought the funk from the mid-1960s with musical restored hits such as "Dance to the Music," "Skin Tight," "Brick House," "Tell Me Somethin Good," "September," "Shaft," "Give Up the Funk," "Love Rollercoaster," "Let's Groove," "You Dropped the Bomb on Me," "Word Up," "I'd Rather Be With You," "Car Wash," "Candy," "Bustin' Out," "Atomic Dog" "and the final, literally-enacted "Flashlight!"

Let's Play 'Highly Recommend' "You Can't Fake The Funk. If you're looking to get your groove on to some hip music where everything and everyone is groovy, 'The Mothership' of funk has landed at Black Ensemble Theater; Ya' Digg!


July 20 – September 22, 2019

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