Don't Make Me Over (In Tribute to Dionne Warwick) | Black Ensemble Theater Cultural Center | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

Don't Make Me Over (In Tribute to Dionne Warwick) Closing (Theater and Galleries) The Short List (Theater) Image

When: Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through May 15 2016

The Black Ensemble salutes Dionne Warwick with a feel-good revue of the iconic vocalist's songs spanning a 54-year career, beginning with her 1962 debut single, "Don't Make Me Over." The bulk of the show focuses on Warwick's partnership in the 1960s with composer Burt Bacharach and lyricist Hal David—a unique matching of singer and writers that produced such hits as "Always Something There to Remind Me," "Windows of the World," "I Say a Little Prayer," "Walk on By," "I'll Never Fall in Love Again," and the majestic yet bitter "Alfie." These songs sound as fresh today as ever, with their shrewd blend of pop accessibility and jazz complexity. The second act highlights Warwick's collaborations with the likes of Barry Manilow ("All the Time"), Isaac Hayes ("Deja Vu"), and Andre and Dory Previn ("Theme From Valley of the Dolls"), climaxing with a rousing rendition of "That's What Friends Are For," the AIDS benefit single she recorded with Gladys Knight, Stevie Wonder, and Elton John. Scripted by Jackie Taylor and staged by Rueben D. Echoles, the show features a talented cast, including three young women who embody different aspects of Warwick's artistry. Unfortunately, Echoles relies too heavily on formulaic girl-group choreography—a gimmick Warwick, with her emotional intensity, natural elegance, and impeccable articulation, had no need for. —Albert Williams

Price: $65

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