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  Chicago's Golden Soul at Black Ensemble Theater

Chicago's Golden Soul

Black Ensemble Theater
4450 N. Clark Street Chicago

Chicago's Golden Soul is a musical journey celebrating the artists who propelled Chicago to national fame as a recording industry in the '60s and '70s. This fast paced, exhilarating revue features the hits of Chicago's musical legends such as Jerry Butler, Curtis Mayfield, Gene Chandler, Major Lance, The Impressions, Betty Everett, Barbara Aklin, Etta James with a special tribute to the fabulous Chi Lites. Chicago's Golden Soul recreates an era that brought us such dances as the twist, the twine, the monkey, Go-Go Gorilla and the Watusi and we relive them all! The audience is sure to be up on its feet and dancing in the aisles as we celebrate Chicago's Golden Music!

Thru - Mar 30, 2014

Wednesdays: 7:30pm
Thursdays: 7:30pm
Saturdays: 8:00pm

Price: $55 - $65

Show Type: Musical

Box Office: 773-769-4451

Running Time: 2hrs, 15mins; one intermission

Black Ensemble Theater Seating Chart

  Chicago's Golden Soul Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Recommended

"..."Chicago's Golden Soul," which features the usual BET band and a cast of 10 singer-dancers (most of whom, but not all, are excellent singers), contains something like 40 different numbers, in part or in full. The ditties in the overstuffed show range from the famous (say, the Chi-Lites' "Have You Seen Her") to the ignoble ("Casonova (Your Playing Days Are Over)") to such chirpy novelties as "The Gorilla," "Twine Time" and "Kill That Roach." The songs in that last trio of titles each came with specific dance steps, popular in Chicago high schools of the era. Indeed, high school memories are a big part of this show, with Taylor being sure to include in her narration who went to what historic outpost. Dunbar Vocational High School is especially well represented."
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Chris Jones

Chicago Sun Times - Highly Recommended

"...Anyone in need of a reminder of why the Black Ensemble Theater is one of this city's most valuable cultural institutions need only take a seat for founder Jackie Taylor's latest show, "Chicago's Golden Soul (A 60's Revue)." An unmitigated knockout of a revue, it features an amalgam of musical talent that not only pays homage to the great names of this city's influential past, but lets a whole new generation step up to the microphone."
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Hedy Weiss

Chicago Reader - Somewhat Recommended

"...As in all Taylor shows, the tight ensemble spiritedly re-creates the looks of the artists and the sound of the tunes, backed with power and grace by an amazing band led by music director Robert Redderick. In between songs the actors tell a few slim stories about the artists and Chicago's Record Row, but those wanting a more comprehensive view of this rich time in Chicago's musical history are advised to look elsewhere. This is for people who want wall-to-wall Chicago soul."
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Jack Helbig

Windy City Times - Highly Recommended

"...Even the cast of 10 Olympic-stamina vocalists eventually are forced to concede that "there's so many [songs], we can't do them all," as they exhort us to search the Internet for information that their play's text cannot supply. The Impressions, the Chi-Lites, a bevy of female chart-toppers and other luminaries whose photos and local roots-neighborhoods, alma maters-we see displayed on video screens, are covered in medleys or countdowns, offering only brief hints of their influence. Since the refrain to "Welcome Home" takes on fresh resonance in 2014 and Dudley Owens' whinnying sax would electrify any room, any time, would it be too much to ask Taylor to write yet another show?"
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Mary Shen Barnidge

Centerstage - Highly Recommended

"...The cast is uniformly excellent, with standouts Alanna Taylor (bringing down the house as Etta James, among others) and Lawrence Williams (taking charge as the production’s best dancer and with his breathtaking rendition of the Gershwin classic “Summertime”) leading the way. Byron Willis is a treasure as the “Duke of Earl” and Rob Love skillfully delivers much of the high-spirited narration and harmonies of a show that absolutely “Turns Back the Hands of Time.”"

Time Out Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...Taylor gives the performers some banter to help contextualize the music in its hometown setting, noting that Collier got her start "at a talent show at the old Regal Theatre on 47th," or that Ross had sung as a soloist in Syl Johnson's band. Just about every Chicago native represented gets his or her high school name-checked. Taylor makes a compelling case for Chicago as a hotbed of '60s soul equal to Detroit, even if many of the artists here found fame more fleeting. More than once, Taylor has her actors tell us to look this next artist up online when we get home. You will."
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Kris Vire

Stage and Cinema - Highly Recommended

"...The songs sing for themselves. It's not enough to name them to suggest how faithfully they're recaptured. But I will. "Rescue Me," "All I Could Do Was Cry," "Land of 1,000 Dances," "It's All Over Casanova," "Oh Girl," "Shake a Tail Feather," "Let It Be Me," and the most combustible "Summertime" you ever heard."
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Lawrence Bommer

ChicagoCritic - Highly Recommended

"...Besides a journey back to the 50′s 0 60′swith the unique Chicago Soul hits, I was delighted to discover tunes and artist that i never heard of in this complete historical revue of the Chicago Soul sound. Of course, the atmosphere of energetic playfulness and emotionally riveting music is apparent from the show's start, the constant high production standards at the Black Ensemble Theater is becoming a "Chicago Standard." Chicago's Golden Soul (A 60′s Revue) contains all that manic energy. Seeing a Black Ensemble show is a treat of the highest order. Their style is infectious. You'll have a good time!"
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Tom Williams

Chicagoland Theater Reviews - Highly Recommended

"...Having sat through too many by-the-numbers jukebox musicals over the past 10 years, I was relieved and thankful that the BET production gives us a show that is meaningful as well as hugely entertaining. The superior cast and rocking band and the dynamic music make an irresistible package. The audience show of the season thus far!"

Dan Zeff

  Chicago's Golden Soul Photo Gallery

   This show has been Jeff Recommended*

*The designation of "Jeff Recommended" is given to a production when at least ONE ELEMENT of the show was deemed outstanding by the Joseph Jefferson Awards Committee.

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