Nina Simone: The High Priestess Speaks | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Nina Simone: The High Priestess Speaks

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In this biodrama/revue, playwright Ebony Joy gives a good sense of the variety in singer-pianist-composer Nina Simone's repertoire, including her renditions of "I Love You Porgy" and "I Put a Spell on You" as well as Simone's own protest songs "Mississippi Goddam" and "Four Women." As Simone, Yahdina U'Deen reveals a strong voice but delivers her earnest lines too earnestly--though to be fair, there's little humor or fun in the script. It also has so many loose ends that the two-hour tapestry of Simone's story seems more threadbare than rich. Some of the singer's high-strung, prickly nature comes through, but conflicts surface only to disapper; the real point is glorifying Simone's accomplishments. Open run: Fri-Sat 8 PM, Sun 3 PM, Black Ensemble Theater, Uptown Center Hull House, 4520 N. Beacon, 773-769-4451, $35.

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