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  The Story of Curtis Mayfield: It's All-Right To Have A Good Time at Black Ensemble Theater

The Story of Curtis Mayfield: It's All-Right To Have A Good Time

Black Ensemble Theater
4450 N. Clark Street Chicago

Black Ensemble's tribute to Chicago's own music legend Curtis Mayfield is the story of a musical giant who is equally celebrated as a singer, song writer and record producer. From the anthemic music of The Impressions like "Gypsy Woman," "I'm So Proud," "Choice of Colors" to movie hits like "Super Fly," The Curtis Mayfield Story will bring to vibrant life the rare musical genius that was Curtis Mayfield. Mayfield's timeless music is known and celebrated all over the world, and he is the winner of the Grammy Legend Award (1994), the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award (1995) and a double inductee into both The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (1991, 1999) and the Grammy Hall of Fame.

Thru - Mar 30, 2014

Fridays: 8:00pm
Saturdays: 3:00pm & 8:00pm
Sundays: 3:00pm

Price: $55-$65

Show Type: Musical

Box Office: 773-769-4451

Running Time: 2hrs, 20mins; one intermission

Black Ensemble Theater Seating Chart

  The Story of Curtis Mayfield: It's All-Right To Have A Good Time Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Somewhat Recommended

"...Mayfield's music holds up extraordinarily well, both in its formative experimentation and in the complexity of its lyrics, never mind its famous permissiveness when it comes to asserting it is all right to have a good time. We all need to know that. The life and times of Mayfield really matter in Chicago. As the book of the piece unfolded Sunday - Reginald Torian, a member of The Impressions who plays the older version of a man he really knew, is the narrator - the various early influential figures on Mayfield got the kind of applause you only give out when you know and love the person or institution being honored. Personally."
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Chris Jones

Chicago Sun Times - Recommended

"...Directed in collaboration with Daryl Brooks, and featuring the altogether dazzling sound of a seven-piece onstage band led by music director, drummer and arranger Robert Reddrick, the show features both a youthful Mayfield (Cecil Jones) and a bed-ridden one (Reginald E. Torian Sr.), in an altogether convincing pairing. Also in dual portrayals is Mayfield’s boyhood pal and co-creator, Jerry Butler (played as a young man by Lawrence Williams and as an older man by David Simmons, both most engaging)."
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Hedy Weiss

Windy City Times - Highly Recommended

"...Since this is a Black Ensemble production, audiences know to expect a spartan text, but making music our biodrama's predominant vehicle is not inappropriate for an artist whose work so closely reflected his own consciousness. Reginald E. Torian renders the inert Mayfield's reminiscences so charmingly serene-winking at a mossy "that reminds me of a song" intro or crooning a sweetly poignant "I'm So Proud" to his caregiving wife-that we eagerly anticipate his every appearance. In the role of the young Curtis, Cecil Jones is no slacker, but can't help but be eclipsed by Rueben D. Echoles' dazzling urban-violence ballets and Robert Reddrick's stage band, located at floor-level so that we can marvel at the genius of each chord's construction from wah-wah backbeat to falsetto descant."
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Mary Shen Barnidge

Time Out Chicago - Recommended

"...I just wanted more. I wanted to dig deep into Mayfield's soul. I wanted to see what made him tick, what about Chicago inspired that sound, and why this city was so vital to his ability to produce it. I wanted drama. There are sparks of conflict-band break-ups, label power struggles, the creeping in of the civil rights movement-the play just never lingers on any one issue long enough to go beneath the surface. We never get to see the man behind a very pristine image. His positivity and resilience are worth celebrating, but his music and his activism suggest a more complex figure than this portrait gives us."
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Aeneas Sagar Hemphill

Splash Magazine - Recommended

"...All in all, The Story of Curtis Mayfield is a flawed but ultimately entertaining piece of work. You do not have to be a fan or even familiar with Curtis Mayfield to find that it is definitely all-right to have a good time here."
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Noel Schecter

ChicagoCritic - Highly Recommended

"...Get to the Black Ensemble Theater to meet Curtis Mayfield and the young talents who reverently evoke his music, his tone and his determination to make the world a better place through music. You’ll learn, as I did, about this giant of a man who left us with a treasure chest of wonderful music. This is one of the finest shows that I’ve seen at Black Ensemble Theater. Remember, Mayfield’s story is about his music – and – the talents at Black Ensemble Theater are respectful to that end.  As always, the positively energetic tone is flowing at a Jackie Taylor show. Who can ask for anything more?"
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Tom Williams

Around The Town Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...Directed by Ms Taylor and Daryl D. Brooks with some strong choreography and the wonderful talent that take son the ensemble roles, Black Ensemble still uses less set pieces than any other theater, but they are learning how to utilize their new stage and surroundings better than the y first did. They are all about the music and the story telling and no one does it better."
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Alan Bresloff

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