Darrian Ford: The Cooke Book Comes to Milwaukee, 3/22-24


The Marcus Center for the Performing Arts will present Darrian Ford-- The Cooke Book - The Music of Sam Cooke, to play at the Marcus Center's Vogel Hall for four performances only on Friday, March 22 at 8:00 pm, Saturday, March 23 at 4:00 pm and 8:00 pm and Sunday, March 24 at 2:00 pm. Tickets go on sale this Sunday, February 24 at 12:00 pm at the Marcus Center Box Office at 929 North Water Street, Downtown Milwaukee, by phone at 414-273-7206, online at MarcusCenter.org or Ticketmaster.com. Groups 10 or more SAVE! by calling Group Sales at 414-273-7121 ext. 210.

The Cooke Book is a celebration of the greatest hits of Sam Cooke, and includes musical gems from his all too brief lifetime of his music. Spend an evening reliving the magic in this tribute to the man who began his musical journey in gospel music, went on to become an international pop sensation and is largely attributed as the man who invented soul.

Darrian Ford, the show's creator, is joined on stage by musical director John Cicora, along with Ben Joseph on piano and Anderson Edward on bass. Performing an evening of favorites, including 'Best Things in Life Are Free,' 'Change Is Gonna Come,' 'Cupid,' 'If I Had A Hammer,' 'Nobody Knows The Trouble I've Seen,' and 'You Send Me'.

Sam Cooke, born January 22, 1931, was considered by many to be the "Man who invented Soul". Sam Cooke blended sensuality and spirituality, sophistication and soul, movie idol looks and Gospel singer poise. "YOU SEND ME", one of Cooke's earliest secular hits, was the first of 29 "Top 40" hits by the Chicago-raised, singing son of a Baptist minister. In addition to being a successful performer, Cooke established himself as a successful and groundbreaking black entrepreneur within the mainstream music industry. Cooke founded his own publishing company (Kags Music) and launched a record label (SAR/Derby). Tragically, Cooke was shot and killed in a Los Angeles motel on December 11, 1964. His influence can be heard in every generation since. Sam Cooke was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1986.

Darrian Ford, (Creator / Performer) A Chicago native, began his professional theater career at age 13 in Oscar Brown Jr's Great Nitty Gritty. At 15 he danced with The Joseph Holmes Chicago Dance Theater and at 19, moved to NYC to dance in the companies of Alvin Ailey, then Donald Byrd/The Group. He made his Broadway debut as Charlie in Rodgers & Hammerstein's State Fair; about which The New York Times quoted "...and note the expert dancing of the irrepressibly comic Darrian Ford". He also appeared in The Who's TOMMY (B'way/1st National), Smokey Joes Cafe (1st National), for which he won The Black Theater Alliance Award for Best Actor in a Musical. His most recent theatrical work was in the 1st National touring company of The Color Purple. He co-starred opposite Halle Berry in HBO's 'Introducing Dorothy Dandridge' as Fayard Nicholas of the legendary Nicholas Brothers. In addition to a dozen appearances as musical guest on daytime talk shows, you might even hear him on a few of his Broadway colleagues' albums. As a singer/song writer, he's collaborated with some industry heavy hitters like Allan Rich, Baby Boy, Robbie Buchannon and Bill Esses who co-produced Darrian's own CD, EVERYTHING. He is working on his sophomore release right now. As a filmmaker, his film, 'Brother's Keeper' (a short narrative) , has made the rounds in smaller festivals and is being adapted into a play for the stage. In 2008, his original musical, The Cooke Book / The Music of Sam Cooke was produced by North Carolina Theater to rave reviews. He continues to perform The Cooke Book around the country and is dedicated to developing his show into the grand production, complete with orchestra, he envisions to be worthy of the legendary Cooke, another Chicago hometown boy.

JOHN "Chick" CICORA (Musical Director/Guitars) is a multi-instrumental teacher, arranger, and composer. He has worked closely with the music, visual arts, dance, and theater communities in Chicago for eight years. He got his Bachelors in Jazz Studies from Columbia College Chicago and since then he recorded two albums with Vanguard Records and signed a publishing deal with Warner Brothers Television. He found the Chicago artists collective The Inconvenience in 2009 and is a member of their music department. He has scored music for film, dance, theater, variety shows and more. In February 2012 he was the musical director and bass player for The Inconvenience's world premier of Hit The Wall at the Steppenwolf Garage.

BEN "Benny" JOSEPH (Piano) is a promising young multi-instrumentalist based in Chicago, IL. His work as a songwriter, arranger, and session musician has earned his group critical acclaim and caught the attention of notable Chicago players, such as Nicholas Tremulis and Rick Barnes. Joseph has toured this great nation with Ezra Furman, and has studied with luminaries Christian McBride and Peter Erskine. His third full-length album, Solace, was released earlier this year.

ALFONSO "Spanky" JONES (Drums) started playing drums at the age of 2 and has been spankin' da drums ever since. He has played with world renowned artists like Martha Munizzi, Rance Allen, Danny Boy, Wynton Marsalis, Orbert Davis and Hamiette Bluette. He plays regularly with other artists around the Chicago and St. Loius Area like The Larry Brown Group and D.O.T. He currently plays with NEW SOUND as well as The Liberty Temple, both Chicago and Bolingbrook locations. Alfonzo is endorsed by Exodus World Class Cymbals.

ANDERSON "Sunny" EDWARDS (Bass) has traveled worldwide and performed in clubs, concerts and festivals with a wide range of artists from Wynton Marsalis and Eldee Young to Otis Clay and koko Taylor. Over the years he has opened for acts such as Brandy, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, Huey Lewis and the News and Buddy Guy.

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