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Photos: THE NICHOLAS BROTHERS Open Black Ensemble Theatre's Dynamic 2017 Season

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Black Ensemble Theater Founder and CEO Jackie Taylor opens the 2017 Season (The Dance Theater Season) with the world premiere musical My Brother's Keeper-The Story of The Nicholas Brothers, written and directed by Black Ensemble Theater Associate Director Rueben Echoles. My Brother's Keeper (The Story of The Nicholas Brothers) will be performed at the Black Ensemble Theater Cultural Center, 4450 N. Clark Street in Chicago, February 11 - March 26, 2017. The official press opening is Sunday, February 19, 2017 at 3:00pm.

The Nicholas Brothers were the most legendary dance team in history. Harold & Fayard Nicholas broke through racist color barriers and rose to international stardom on stage and screen. They were acclaimed as the greatest dance team in history during the 1930s and '40s. We know them as a dynamic, high-flying, dance duo, but who were these men outside of the spotlight?

This phenomenal story is told by the women who knew them best and features the music of Cab Calloway, Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, and Dorothy Dandridge, as well as original music written by Rueben D. Echoles, who also directs and stars as Harold Nicholas. Don't miss this vibrant, intriguing and exciting Black Ensemble musical production featuring the Black Ensemble Orchestra under the direction of Robert Reddrick.

The cast of My Brother's Keeper (The Story of The Nicholas Brothers) includes Rueben Echoles (Harold Nicholas), RaShawn Thompson (Fayard Nicholas), Dwight Neal (Ulysses Nicholas), Shari Addison (Viola Nicholas), Katherine Thomas (Dorothy Nicholas), Taylay Thomas (Dorothy Dandridge), Jessica Seals (Geri), Joan Ruffin (Neeva), and Vincent Jordan (Cab Calloway). The Ensemble includes Dennis Dent, Paige Hauer, Devin Joyner, Linnea Norwood, William Rowland, and Henri Slater.

The creative team for My Brother's Keeper (The Story of The Nicholas Brothers) includes Jackie Taylor (producer), Rueben Echoles (writer/director/costumes/choreographer), Alexis Roston (assistant director), Nichole Springer (assistant choreographer), Bekki Lambrecht (stage manager), Denise Karczewski (scenic/lighting), Caswell James (technical director), CoCo Ree Lemery (scenic artist), and Aaron Quick (sound). The production manager is Daryl Brooks.

As with all Black Ensemble productions the Musical Director is Robert Reddrick (drums). Musicians include Roger Weaver (piano), Wayne Jones (bass), Herb Walker (guitar), Paul Howard (trumpet), Dudley Owens (saxophone) and Bill McFarland (trombone).

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 (February 11, 12 and 17, 2017); $55 (Thursdays and Saturday matinees) and $65 (Fridays, Saturday evenings and Sunday matinees). There is a 10% discount for students, seniors and groups.

Ticket prices: $45 Previews

$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

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 2017.

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.

Photo Credit: Michael Courier

high res photos Photos: THE NICHOLAS BROTHERS Open Black Ensemble Theatre's Dynamic 2017 Season
Devin Joyner, Paige Hauer, Taylay Thomas (Dorothy Dandridge), Jessica Seals (Geraldine Pate), Shari Addison (Viola Harden Nicholas), Linnea Norwood, Joan Ruffin Photos: THE NICHOLAS BROTHERS Open Black Ensemble Theatre's Dynamic 2017 Season
Linnea Norwood, Paige Hauer, Jessica Seals (Geraldine Pate), RaShawn Thompson (Fayard Nicholas), Shari Addison (Viola Harden Nicholas), Rueben Echoles (Harold Nicholas), Taylay Thomas (Dorothy Dandridge) Photos: THE NICHOLAS BROTHERS Open Black Ensemble Theatre's Dynamic 2017 Season
Gregory Slater (Bill Bojangles Robinson) Photos: THE NICHOLAS BROTHERS Open Black Ensemble Theatre's Dynamic 2017 Season
Katherine Thomas, Gregory Slater, Jessica Seals, Dennis Dent, Lemond Hayes, Devin Joyner, Joan Ruffin Photos: THE NICHOLAS BROTHERS Open Black Ensemble Theatre's Dynamic 2017 Season
Gregory Slater, Linnea Norwood, Jessica Seals, Dennis Dent, Devin Joyner, Lemond Hayes Photos: THE NICHOLAS BROTHERS Open Black Ensemble Theatre's Dynamic 2017 Season
Vincent Jordan (Cab Calloway) Photos: THE NICHOLAS BROTHERS Open Black Ensemble Theatre's Dynamic 2017 Season
Rueben Echoles (Harold Nicholas), Vincent Jordan (Cab Calloway), RaShawn Thompson (Fayard Nicholas) Photos: THE NICHOLAS BROTHERS Open Black Ensemble Theatre's Dynamic 2017 Season
Rueben Echoles (Harold Nicholas), RaShawn Thompson (Fayard Nicholas) Photos: THE NICHOLAS BROTHERS Open Black Ensemble Theatre's Dynamic 2017 Season
Katherine Thomas, Taylay Thomas, Linnea Norwood (The Dandridge Sisters) Photos: THE NICHOLAS BROTHERS Open Black Ensemble Theatre's Dynamic 2017 Season
Katherine Thomas, Taylay Thomas, Linnea Norwood (The Dandridge Sisters) Photos: THE NICHOLAS BROTHERS Open Black Ensemble Theatre's Dynamic 2017 Season
Linnea Norwood, Katherine Thomas, Taylay Thomas (Dorothy Dandridge), Rueben Echoles (Harold Nicholas), RaShawn Thompson (Fayard Nicholas) Photos: THE NICHOLAS BROTHERS Open Black Ensemble Theatre's Dynamic 2017 Season
Jessica Seals (Geraldine Pate), RaShawn Thompson (Fayard Nicholas) Photos: THE NICHOLAS BROTHERS Open Black Ensemble Theatre's Dynamic 2017 Season
Jessica Seals (Geraldine Pate), RaShawn Thompson (Fayard Nicholas) Photos: THE NICHOLAS BROTHERS Open Black Ensemble Theatre's Dynamic 2017 Season
Rueben Echoles (Harold Nicholas), RaShawn Thompson (Fayard Nicholas) Photos: THE NICHOLAS BROTHERS Open Black Ensemble Theatre's Dynamic 2017 Season
RaShawn Thompson (Fayard Nicholas), Rueben Echoles (Harold Nicholas) Photos: THE NICHOLAS BROTHERS Open Black Ensemble Theatre's Dynamic 2017 Season
RaShawn Thompson (Fayard Nicholas), Rueben Echoles (Harold Nicholas) Photos: THE NICHOLAS BROTHERS Open Black Ensemble Theatre's Dynamic 2017 Season
Linnea Norwood, Lemond Hayes, Joan Ruffin, Taylay Thomas (Dorothy Dandridge), Gregory Slater, Dennis Dent, Devin Joyner Photos: THE NICHOLAS BROTHERS Open Black Ensemble Theatre's Dynamic 2017 Season
Lemond Hayes, Dennis Dent, Gregory Slater, Taylay Thomas (Dorothy Dandridge), Joan Ruffin, Linnea Norwood, Devin Joyner

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