Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2020-06-24
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Theater: Nina Simone: The High Priestess Speaks
by Mary Shen Barnidge
2006-03-01

facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


Playwright: Ebony Joy

At: Black Ensemble Theater at the Hull House, 4520 N. Beacon St.

Phone: ( 773 ) 769-4451; $35

Runs through: open run

What was originally announced as Black Ensemble Theater's 'Season of Women' is now in its SECOND season because, as artistic director Jackie Taylor marveled, 'you all won't let us close these shows!'. If the opening-night response to its latest biodrama is any indication, another one can unpack its bags and settle in for a long stay.

As recounted in Ebony Joy's elegant script ( clocking in at a sleek two hours with one intermission ) , Simone's story was not your run-of-the-mill diva's CV. For one, Eunice Kathleen Waymon was recognized early as a prodigy, studying piano at Julliard with the financial assistance of a ( white ) benefactor, but barred from admission to the Curtis Conservatory. For another, her mother, an ordained Methodist minister, disapproved of secular music—the impetus behind the daughter taking a stage name for her career as a jazz musician—while her FATHER encouraged her to find her own voice. And later, after she made clear that she would not tolerate a single episode of drunken abuse, her roistering husband-to-be vowed to change his ways—and DID.

But it's not just these deviations from stereotype that distinguished Nina Simone from the sex kittens and hot mamas dominating popular entertainment in the 1950s. To be sure, during the course of the show, she sings hip-wigglers ( 'My Chauffeur' ) , torchers ( 'Tell Me More' ) , gospel hymns ( 'Go Where I Send You' ) and rip-snorter blues ( 'I Put A Spell On You' ) . But her legacy lies in the songs she wrote after becoming radicalized by Lorraine Hansberry ( along with Langston Hughes and James Baldwin, here portrayed as a pair of smug egoists ) —most notably the angry 'Mississippi Goddam,' with its deceptively Broadway beat. ( 'This is a show tune,' she confides to her audience, 'but the show hasn't been written yet.' )

'If there was one thing the '60s taught me, it was self-respect!' Though Simone died in 2003, so wholly does Yahdina U'deen ( formerly performing as Phyliss Overstreet ) immerse herself in her persona, her rolling contralto enhanced by Jimmy Tillman's orchestra ( especially by stunt-double pianist Derrick Bounds ) and an ensemble performing Ruben D. Echoles's expressive dances, you'd think it was the High Priestess herself speaking.


facebook twitter google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Director David Zak steps down from post after community outcry 2020-07-04
Broadway suspends shows through 2020 2020-06-30
'Magic Parlour at Home' during July 2020-06-28
CHF talk to feature Abby McEnany and Samantha Irby 2020-06-24
THEATER Despite everything, there are shows for Pride Week 2020-06-24
Raven Theatre names new managing director 2020-06-24
47th Non-Equity Jeff Awards announces honorees 2020-06-22
'That's Queer, Grandma' June 22-July 6 2020-06-17
COVID-19 Mercury Theater permanently closing 2020-06-17
The Last Sunday in June online live reading June 28 2020-06-16
'Christmas Bingo: Summer Edition' online through July 2020-06-16
Music Box, Kino Lorber hosting film 'Proud' starting June 19 2020-06-16
Sideshow streaming 'Tilikum' June 19 for #LetUsBreathe Collective 2020-06-13
Out professor named NU school dean 2020-06-12
'Come from Away' switched to 2021 2020-06-11
NUNN ON ONE TELEVISION Ariane Labed plays numbers game in 'Trigonometry' 2020-06-10
THEATER Pride in Place Festival brings LGBTQ theater to stay-at-home audiences 2020-06-09
SHOWBIZ Ruby Rose, Tamron Hall, actors come out, Billy Porter, Sondheim 2020-06-09
Victory Gardens ED leaving amid rising tensions 2020-06-09
Second City co-owner leaves after theater is charged with racism 2020-06-07
STREAMING THEATER REVIEW Cymbeline: A Folk Tale With Music 2020-06-07
47th annual Non-Equity Jeff Awards postponed 2020-06-03
STREAMING THEATER REVIEW Improv House Party 2020-06-03
THEATER Larry Kramer (1935-2020), polemicist and playwright 2020-05-30
Jeff Awards Nominee Night cabaret concert online June 1 2020-05-29
Chita: A Legendary Celebration to stream May 29 2020-05-27
SHOWBIZ Rufus Wainwright, LGBTQ films, Billy Porter, Janelle Monae 2020-05-27
THEATER Pride in Place Festival brings LGBTQ theater to stay-at-home audiences 2020-05-26
BAMtheatre starting virtual classes 2020-05-26
Steppenwolf names first woman Executive Director 2020-05-22
STREAMING THEATER REVIEW To Master the Art 2020-05-22
STREAMING THEATER REVIEW School Girls; Or The African Mean Girls Play 2020-05-22
STREAMING THEATER REVIEW The Happiest Place on Earth 2020-05-21
Broadway In Chicago reschedules 'Frozen' 2020-05-21
'SapphFest' to take place virtually May 28-29 2020-05-21
First Folio to stream 'Cymbeline' in June 2020-05-19
Hell in a Handbag updates season with 'Girls,' 'Tiger Queen' 2020-05-19
Victory Gardens announces IGNITION Festival of New Plays 2020-05-18
Broadway in Chicago updates show schedule 2020-05-15
Brick by brick, Mark Larson talks about a life of LEGOs 2020-05-14
 



Copyright © 2020 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor


 



About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Submit an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.