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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Black Ensemble Theater to premiere Living The Black Renaissance
From a press release
2017-09-26

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CHICAGO, IL — Black Ensemble Theater continues the 2017 Season ( The Dance Theater Season ) with the World Premiere of Living The Black Renaissance ( More Than a Moment in History ), written and directed by Black Ensemble Theater Founder and CEO Jackie Taylor.Living The Black Renaissance ( More Than a Moment in History ) will be performed at the Black Ensemble Theater Cultural Center, 4450 N. Clark Street in Chicago, October 14-November 26, 2017. The official press opening is Sunday, October 22, 2017 at 3:00pm.

Through the struggles, trials and tribulations of those who fought and fight against oppression and racism, Living The Black Renaissance is a musical and historical depiction of the African American experience in a racist America that will uplift, inspire and motivate all of us to create a world where racism cannot exist. Living The Black Renaissance ( More Than A Moment In Time ) is more than a play, it is a movement. A movement through song and dance that will help us understand the systemic process of racism and oppression. This thought provoking production will uncover the root of racism, what is it and why we must remove it from our society.

When asked the reason why she decided to tackle this subject, Jackie Taylor replied, "Because of the climate within in our society today, now is the time! Living The Black Renaissance has difficult moments because the racism pill is a very difficult pill to swallow. In order to solve our societal issues we must be able to confront those issues. And that is the purpose of Living The Black Renaissance ( More Than A Moment In Time )."

Through this historical presentation from slavery to Obama to Trump, we will be led on a spiritual journey that will ignite the healing process and help us understand how to respect and honor our differing cultures while learning how to live together as one race — the human race.

Living The Black Renaissance features Michael Adkins, Brian Boller, Jana'ah Coates, Rueben Echoles, Lemond Hayes, Wendell Jackson, Dwight Neal, Linnea Norwood, Rhonda Preston, LeKeya Shearrill, Henri Slater, Lynn Solar and Levi Stewart.

As with all Black Ensemble Theater productions, Living The Black Renaissance features live musicians, including musical director Robert Reddrick, ( drums ) Adam Sherod ( piano ), Mark Miller ( bass ) and Gary Baker ( guitar ).

The designers are Ruthanne Swanson ( costumes ), The A Team ( set ), Denise Karczewski ( lights ), Aaron Quick ( sounds ). The stage manager is Bekki Lambrecht.

Tickets are available at the Black Ensemble Box Office located at 4450 N. Clark St in Chicago, or online at www.blackensemble.org, or by phone at ( 773 ) 769-4451. Tickets are $45 for previews ( preview dates ); $55 ( Thursdays and Saturday matinees ) and $65 ( Fridays, Saturday evenings and Sunday matinees ). There is a 10% discount for students, seniors and groups.

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 ), with construction by General Contractor Norcon Inc., is expected in 2018.

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 www.BlackEnsembleTheater.org or call 773-769-4451 .


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