The Black Renaissance | Black Ensemble Theater Cultural Center | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

The Black Renaissance Member Picks The Short List (Theater) Recommended Image Closing (Theater and Galleries)

When: Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through Nov. 19 2017

This pageantlike "musical resistance against racism," written and directed by Jackie Taylor for her Black Ensemble Theater, features original songs as well as spoken testimony describing the long, wearying history of institutionalized racism in America, from colonial days to the present. The narrative describes a repeated pattern of progress and backlash—for example, post-Civil War Reconstruction followed by a wave of Ku Klux Klan lynchings, or the two-term presidency of Barack Obama followed by the election of Donald Trump. A major theme of Taylor's script is the dehumanizing impact—on people of every race—of systemic racism in America over the centuries, the poison that has turned the American "melting pot" into a witches' brew of conflict and chaos. The show is packed with rousing musical numbers in gospel, R&B, rap, and reggae idioms, powerfully sung by a first-rate cast backed by a dynamic offstage band under drummer Robert Reddrick's direction. —Albert Williams

Price: $49.50-$65

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