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BWW TV: First Look at Highlights of Black Ensemble Theater's AT LAST: A TRIBUTE TO ETTA JAMES


Black Ensemble Theater Founder and CEO Jackie Taylor announces the return of the Black Ensemble classic At Last: A Tribute to Etta James written and directed by Jackie Taylor and co-directed by Daryl D. Brooks. At Last: A Tribute to Etta James is presented at the Black Ensemble Theater Cultural Center, 4450 N. Clark Street in Chicago, September 27-December 28, 2014. Check out a first look at highlights below!

First successfully produced to critical acclaim in 2005, At Last: A Tribute to Etta James has been updated to reflect the last ten exciting years in the phenomenal career of Etta James. In this jubilant celebration of Etta James' musical career, we span the decades from her early years with Chess in the '50s and '60s, her reign as a leader in rhythm and blues in the '70s, her fight to get back on top in the '80s, through her phenomenal comeback in the '90s. We experience her turbulent highs and lows as we learn about the failures and successes that she experienced in her lifetime. Etta James is a vocalist extraordinaire who does not fit into any musical genre. She was a master at it all. Her achievements include a Grammy for best Jazz Vocal Performance, Gammy for Best Contemporary Blues Artist, Grammy for Lifetime Achievement, an induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and a star on the Hollywood walk of Fame.

Candace Edwards, Arzula Gardner, Melanie McCullough, Alanna Taylor and Yahdina Udeen play Etta James with each actress representing a certain time in her career. Daniel Phillips, Mark Hood and Adrian Byrd represent the men in her life. Rueben Echoles stars as Ms. Real, the fierce drag queen that leads us through the story.

Musical highlights of the production include, All I Could Do Was Cry, Fool That I Am, Drowning In My Own Tears, Troubled Times and At Last - just to name a few. The musicians are Musical Director Robert Reddrick, drums; Herb Walker, guitar; Justin Dillard, piano; Danny O'Connor, bass; Bill McFarland, trombone; Dudley Owens, saxophone; and Paul Howard, trumpet.

The designers Denise Karczewski, lights; Aron Quick, sound; Ruthanne Swanson, costumes; CoCo Ree Lemry, scenic artist; and Sarah Helt, props.

Box Office: Buy online at or call (773) 769-4451

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