Black Ensemble Theater to Continue 40th Anniversary with DON'T MAKE ME OVER Tribute to Dionne Warwick

Black Ensemble Theater Founder and CEO Jackie Taylor continue the 40th Anniversary Season (The Season of Greatest Hits) with DON'T MAKE ME OVER (In Tribute to Dionne Warwick), written by Jackie Taylor and directed by Rueben Echoles.

DON'T MAKE ME OVER (In Tribute to Dionne Warwick) will be performed at the Black Ensemble Theater Cultural Center, 4450 N. Clark Street in Chicago, April 9 - May 15, 2016. The official press opening is Sunday, April 17 at 3:00 pm.

DON'T MAKE ME OVER (In Tribute to Dionne Warwick) is a historical journey that explores Ms. Warwick's accomplishments over the decades and details her musical contributions. DON'T MAKE ME OVER features 23 of Ms. Warwick's biggest hits including "Walk On By," "Message To Michael," "Alfie" and "I Say A Little Prayer," just to name a few.

Dionne Warwick is the Honorary Chairperson of the 40th Anniversary Season and she will be performing at the Black Ensemble Gala on October 14, 2016. While in Chicago recently, Ms. Warwick gave high praise for the 2006 premiere of Jackie Taylor's DON'T MAKE ME OVER (In Tribute to Dionne Warwick). She commented, "She had all the facts. She had all the right names, all the right places, all the right things that occurred. She did her homework. I saw it twice. I was thrilled!"

The cast includes three performers who play Dionne Warwick at different stages of her life. The cast includes: Kylah Frye (Dionne 1), Renelle Nichole (Dionne 2), Rose Simmons (Dionne 3), Alexis J. Rogers (Ms. Divine the Host), Katrina Richard (Dee Dee Warwick), Toi Overton (Lee) Risha Tenae (Cissy), Dennis Dent (Phillippe/Ensemble), Brandon Eddins (Rudy/Ensemble), William Rowland (Burt/Berry), Gregory Slater (Ensemble).

As with all Black Ensemble productions, the production features the Black Ensemble Theater Musicians. The Musical Director is Robert Reddrick (drums) and the musicians include Danny O'Connor (bass), Herbert Walker (guitar) Justin Dillard and Clovis Bordeaux on piano, and Paul Howard (trumpet), Dudley Owens (saxophone) and Bill McFarland (trombone).

The designers are Rueben Echoles (costumes), Denise Karczewski (lighting), Aaron Quick (sound) and The A Team (set). The production stage manager is Bekki Lembrecht and the Equity stage manager and production manager is Daryl Brooks. Caswell James is the Technical Director.

Ticket prices: $55 on Thursdays and Saturday matinees; $65 on Fridays, Saturday evenings and Sunday matinees. A 10% discount is available for students, seniors, and groups. Box Office: Buy online at www.blackensemble.org or call (773) 769-4451.

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 2016/17.

The mission of the Black Ensemble Theater Company is to eradicate racism and its devastating effects upon society through the theater arts.



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