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  My Brother's Keeper- The Story of The Nicholas Brothers at Black Ensemble Theater

My Brother's Keeper- The Story of The Nicholas Brothers

Black Ensemble Theater
4450 N. Clark Street Chicago

The Nicholas Brothers were the most legendary dance team in history. Harold & Fayard Nicholas broke through racist color barriers and rose to international stardom on stage and screen. They were acclaimed as the greatest dance team in history during the 1930s and '40s. We know them as a dynamic, high-flying, dance duo, but who were these men outside of the spotlight?

Thru - Mar 26, 2017

Thursdays: 7:30pm
Fridays: 8:00pm
Saturdays: 3:00pm & 8:00pm
Sundays: 3:00pm

Price: $55-$65

Show Type: Musical

Box Office: 773-769-4451

Black Ensemble Theater Seating Chart

  My Brother's Keeper- The Story of The Nicholas Brothers Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Somewhat Recommended

"...Still, even with these caveats, there are some barn-burning moments in this show. (As always, the band under Robert Reddrick's musical direction sizzles.) The famous dance battle with the three Berry Brothers (set to Louis Prima's "Sing, Sing, Sing") kicks off the second act in high style. And Thompson, whose soaring pipes are even more impressive than his fast feet, delivers a heartfelt "Come Rain or Come Shine" as Fayard eulogizes his troublesome but beloved brother. (Harold was one of the first to record the Johnny Mercer/Harold Arlen standard.)"
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Kerry Reid

Chicago Reader - Somewhat Recommended

"...The show moves briskly for 40 minutes, reaching its emotional peak with the funeral of the boys' beloved father, Ulysses, but never quite regains its footing thereafter. Echoles brings joy and athleticism to his portrayal of the cocky younger brother, Harold, and Shari Addison (as the boys' mother) and Vincent Jordan (as Calloway) stand out for their powerful singing, but other players can't quite match that charisma or talent. Still, it's hard not to root for Echoles and company as they labor to pay tribute to their heroes."
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Dmitry Samarov

Windy City Times - Highly Recommended

"...Rueben D. Echoles wrote the script for this 41st-anniversary season revival of the show premiering in 2010. The Black Ensemble senior company member is also claims playbill credit for composing eight of the score's 21 songs, choreographing the breathtaking dance sequences, designing the dazzling costumes and wigs, and directing the athletic performers that make it all look so easy. He could probably play all the characters, too, but since this is live theater and not film, his onstage contribution is limited to a single role."
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Mary Shen Barnidge

Stage and Cinema - Recommended

"...More than a salute to fraternal solidarity, My Brother’s Keeper is a contagious feast of feet. It’s also another vintage case of B.E.T. going back to the future. The Nicholas’ moves still happen today—on the “other” B.E.T. and on concert stages everywhere. Plus there’s no denying or diminishing Echoles’ six-way triumph. Chicago may never see its like again."
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Lawrence Bommer

ChicagoCritic - Highly Recommended

"...The dancing and the truthful story of the Nicholas Brothers came across as a worthy musical event about two fabulous entertainers who broke many racial barriers as they became one of the most successful Black acts in films, musicals and stage. The Black Ensemble's production values here are first-class. The voices, the acting and, of course the dancing, all contributed to a superb musical. My Brothers Keeper - The Story of the Nicholas Brothers my be one of the best shows ever at the Black Ensemble? It certainly is their "best' dance show! Rueben D. Echoles demonstrated his multi-talents with this fabulous show."
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Tom Williams

Around The Town Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...This is a sterling production filled with many of our favorite songs like "Minnie The Moocher" (Vincent Jordan does one smooth Cab Calloway). Other ensemble members: Dennis Dent, Paige Hauer, Devin Joyner, Linnea Norwood, William Rowland, Henri Slater and Joan Ruffin. This is a very talented group of performers. If you like TAP, you will find this the best for your taste. In fact, the final song is performed with the entire cast hitting the floor. Other tunes you will recall: "Come Rain of Come Shine", "From This Moment On", "The Best Is Yet To Come", "I've Got Rhythm" "Take The A Train", "Chattanooga Choo Choo" and a sterling rendition of "Swing Low Sweet Chariot. Just seeing the list makes my mouth water, and wait. there is more!"
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Alan Bresloff

NewCity Chicago - Somewhat Recommended

"...There's sufficient talent and love in "My Brother's Keeper" but the play requires editing to be more than a mere report on some of the greatest entertainers of the twentieth century."
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Irene Hsiao

Chicago Theatre Review - Highly Recommended

"...This is one fantastic production. Written, directed, costumed, choreographed by and costarring the inimitable Rueben Echoles, together with the incomparably talented Rashawn Thompson as the legendary Nicholas Brothers, this is a thoroughly entertaining evening of music and dance. Backed by the gifted, ever reliable musical direction of Robert Reddrick and his talented seven-member band, this Vegas style two-act musical revue entertains while it educates, recalling the lives of two gifted performers from the annals of entertainment. The production will strike a nostalgic note among the more mature audience members, while it opens the eyes of younger theatergoers. Spring will soon be taking Chicago by storm. In the meantime there’s warmth and electricity brewing at the Black Ensemble Theater in their new celebration of The Nicholas Brothers."
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Colin Douglas

Chicagoland Theater Reviews - Somewhat Recommended

"...The BET production missed the boat in not showing Nicholas Brothers dancing scenes from their movies of the 1930’s and 1940’s and their TV spots. That would not only energize the show but it would allow patrons to witness the real thing. The show provides some projections but unless copyrights interfered, there is definitely room for a cluster of Nicholas film clips that would have blown the audience’s minds."

Dan Zeff

Chicagoland Musical Theatre - Recommended

"...The high-energy, peppy songs make a nice contrast with the connecting scenes of quiet perseverance, not only against segregation and prejudice in the entertainment world, but behind the scenes, too. Well, quiet, but just as intense as any of their dance routines. Echoles-in a fine departure from his usual ebullience, at least in this reviewer's experience-is both impetuous and melancholic, his Harold stymied by a fateful and careless decision. Thompson meanwhile holds it together as much as an older brother can; but even Fayard had his weaknesses, namely, his marriage."
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Patrick O'Brien

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