Black Pearl: A Tribute to Josephine Baker | Black Ensemble Theater Cultural Center | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

Black Pearl: A Tribute to Josephine Baker Closing (Theater and Galleries) Recommended The Short List (Theater) Image

When: Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through June 25 2017

To say that Josephine Baker’s life was unconventional would be a gross understatement. Baker, the daughter of a poor, working-class family in Saint Louis, found fame and fortune as an entertainer in France during the 1920s, eventually ascending to international superstardom. But that may have been the least of her accomplishments, as this moving Black Ensemble Theater portrait shows. In it, Baker (terrific performances from Joan Ruffin and Aeriel Williams as the older and younger Josephine, respectively) chronicles her life from childhood, pointing to a few choice accomplishments along the way, among them her championing the integration of segregated theaters in the U.S. and spying for the French resistance during the Nazi occupation. While not everything comes into full view—her 12 adopted children, for one—the play is a thoroughly compelling portrait of Baker and her remarkable place in history. —Matt de la Peña

Price: $45-$65

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