Women of Soul celebrates legends from the past and present at Black Ensemble Theater

Women of Soul celebrates legends from the past and present at Black Ensemble Theater
The cast of Women of Soul at BET. Photo credit: Alan Davis

What would it be like to be at a gathering with Chaka Khan, Diana Ross, Aretha Franklin, Mahalia  Jackson,  Whitney  Houston, Adele, Natalie  Cole,  Donna  Summer,  Etta  James, Anita  Baker, Janis  Joplin and other big names of soul?

Three words come to mind--amazing, awesome & possible. Possible because  of Black Ensemble Theater's (B.E.T.) ambitious production "Women of Soul" (With a Tribute to the Queen,) now running at the theater at 4450 N. Clark Street.

The powerful production, written and directed by Associate Director Daryl D. Brook, takes the audience on a  journey through the world of soul and its biggest female stars.

The cast features nine talented women, including Cynthia Carter, Robin DaSilva, Hannah Efsits, Jerica Exum, Colleen Perry, Rhonda Preston, Jessica Seals, Ariel Williams and Jayla Williams-Craig and lone male Dwight Neal who sing over two dozen hits spanning genres of gospel, blues, hip hop, old school and new age.

Robin DaSilva, Dwight Neal., Cynthia Carter, Rhonda Preston. Photo credit: Alan Davis

Robin DaSilva, Dwight Neal., Cynthia Carter, Rhonda Preston. Photo credit: Alan Davis

Along the way you'll learn about their struggles, heartbreaks, successes, drug problems, cheating spouses, greedy record producers and more.

You'll hear Mahalia Jackson's “Trouble of the World,” Etta James's “I'd Rather Go Blind” Janis Joplin's “Cry Baby” Diana Ross's “I'm Coming Out” and Natalie Cole's “This Will Be An Everlasting Love,”  backed by musical director/arranger Robert Reddrick's five piece on-stage band featuring Adam Sherod (keyboards), Dolpha Fowler Jr. (keyboard 2), Mark Miller (bass), Gary Baker (guitar) and Reddrick on drums.

If that isn't enough, Aretha Franklin is celebrated in a medley of songs that bring joy and tears to the eyes of many audience members as they remember the “Natural Woman” who we lost in August.

(L to R.) Jerica-Exum., Jessica-Seals snd Rhonda-Preston.Photo credit: Alan Davis

(L to R.) Jerica-Exum., Jessica-Seals snd Rhonda-Preston.Photo credit: Alan Davis

"Women of Soul" brings out the intense emotion arising from soul music through the powerful booming voices of the talented cast creating a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Title: "Women of Soul (With a Tribute to the Queen)"

Rating: ★★★1⁄2

Written and Directed by: Black Ensemble Theater Associate Director Daryl D. Brooks

Creative Team: Denise Karczewski (set and lighting design), Aaron Quick (projection design), David Samba (sound), Reuben Echoles (costume design), and Nic Bellanger (technical direction)

Musicians: Robert Reddrick (drums),  Adam Sherod (keyboards), Dolpha Fowler Jr. (keyboard 2), Mark Miller(bass), and Gary Baker (guitar)

Dates: now through January 27, 2019

Schedule: Thursdays: 7:30 pm., Fridays: 8:00 pm,  Saturdays: 3:00 pm and 8:00 pm, Sundays:3:00 pm

Where: Black Ensemble Theater Cultural Center, 4450 N. Clark Street, Chicago

Parking: Street or Valet 

Ticket prices: Tickets are $55 on Thursdays and Saturday matinees; $65 on Fridays, Saturday evenings and Sunday matinees. (773) 769-4451.

A 10% discount is available for students, seniors, and groups.

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Filed under: Theater in Chicago

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