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  Mahalia Jackson: Moving Through The Light Reviews
Mahalia Jackson: Moving Through The Light
Mahalia Jackson: Moving Through The Light

Mahalia Jackson: Moving Through The Light
Black Ensemble Theater
Thru - Apr 14, 2019

Show Information


Black Ensemble Theater

  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune- Recommended

"...But it’s Mahalia’s afterlife, and she’ll sing what she wants to. Backed by the five-piece BET band under the direction of Robert Reddrick, “Mahalia Jackson: Moving Through the Light” casts a warm glow of hope and love, while showing that sometimes an artist tells you their story more by how they sing and move than by what they say."
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Kerry Reid



Chicago Sun Times- Somewhat Recommended

"...Once Jackson sets out for Chicago at age 14, "Mahalia" drops the curtain on her life. There's no journey, no connection between the impoverished child who fled an abusive home and the superstar who drew upward of 50,000 people to her New Orleans funeral services. The only thing we learn about Jackson's music is that it wasn't always received well by church folk who believed her jazz-influenced stylings had no place in the house of the Lord."
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Catey Sullivan



Chicago Reader- Recommended

"...The Black Ensemble's current show, focusing on gospel legend Mahalia Jackson, follows this formula exactly. For two hours, the gospel hits keep coming: "How Great Thou Art," "His Eye is on the Sparrow," and "Didn't It Rain" are just three of the hits Robin DaSilva belts out in her superb impersonation of Jackson, accompanied by an ensemble of nine other fabulous singers and a superb band lead by music director Robert Reddrick."
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Jack Helbig



Let's Play at ChicagoNow- Highly Recommended

"..."Mahalia Jackson: Moving Thru The Light" is a 'what if' play, according to Taylor. The play provides insight into the spiritual world and Mahalia's level of understanding regarding what happened in her life through memories and reflections. Guided by three Masters who are there to help her elevate to the next level, where she can finally come face to face with God, Mahalia sings and dances with the Masters to some of her greatest songs."
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Rick and Brenda McCain



Around The Town Chicago- Recommended

"...Mahalia Jackson singing her heart out on TV was the first time I ever heard gospel music. I was raised Catholic, so I was used to Gregorian chant and songs sung in Latin. Gospel was something so out of my bailiwick it was almost it might have been foreign. When I heard real people singing – and clapping and dancing while they sang that gospel music, I was blown away! One of my favorite memories – videotaping a concert by a gospel choir in Gary – an OMG experience. My point, I love gospel music."
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Carol Moore



WTTW- Recommended

"...The essential aspects of Jackson's biography emerge quite seamlessly in this show that is written and directed by Taylor, with the usual super music direction of Robert Reddrick and his formidable band, and cameos by a strong ensemble of six."
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Hedy Weiss



Chicago Theatre Review- Recommended

"...The Masters are terrific singers, as well. Stewart Romeo, Dwight Neal and, especially, Cynthia F. Carter sing original songs by Jackie Taylor, including “You Are Not in Heaven” and “Listen.” They also provide backup for many of the other numbers. The six Guardians, who make up the melodic heavenly ensemble, while also playing supporting characters from Ms. Jackson’s life, include Clara Flaherty, Brandon Lavell, Lorriane Lewis, Colleen Perry, Rose Marie Simmons and Levi Stewart. This production is a religious experience in every way, musically supported by Robert Reddrick’s musical direction and his five-member combo accompaniment. The show raises a joyful noise by saluting the musical gifts of Ms. Mahalia Jackson. This entirely new production is, without any question, simply heavenly."
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Colin Douglas



Chicagoland Theater Reviews- Recommended

"...The BET show rightly concentrates on Mahalia Jackson the singer, her life lacking the dramatic touches of black musical stars like Josephine Baker and Billie Holiday. Powerhouse singing has always been the strength of these original BET explorations of African American musical culture and this show can be counted among the more successful of the company’s endeavors, thanks primarily to matching Robin DaSilva with the music and personality of the great Mahalia. For that noble combination, we can only say Heavenly and Amen."
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Dan Zeff



Chicagoland Musical Theatre- Highly Recommended

"...Under the crackling musical direction of killer drummer Robert Reddrick, Clara Flaherty, Brandon Levell, Lorriane Lewis, Colleen Perry, Rose Marie Simmons and Levi Stewart make an immaculate cast of Guardians, soloists, choir and assorted characters and manifestations."
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Ian Rigg