The award winning Black Ensemble Theater rolled out the red carpet for the premier of the musical revue Men Of Soul, to kick off their six week run in Chicago. Black Ensemble Associate Director Daryl D. Brooks wrote and directed the stage play to take the audience on a musical journey, that highlights some of the best R&B, soul performers to date.
“I am so honored to do what I love at the greatest theater in the world,” expresses Brooks. “Men Of Soul really challenges us to look inside of who we are.”
Men Of Soul portrays various famous male soul singers in a mini-concert platform, that takes the audience into a dancing and singing frenzy. Brooks says by sharing the life stories of singers like Luther Vandross, Elton John, James Ingram, Billy Joel, Peabo Bryson and Ray Charles, Men Of Soul gives insight to how they pursued their dreams.
“It helps us understand that what makes us strong in the face of adversity is having the courage to step out on our inner strength,” explains Brooks, “and achieve the greatness that is in each and everyone of us.”
Attendees to the Black Ensemble Theater’s Men Of Soul will enjoy the many performances that musical Director Robert Reddrick created for each of the featured artists. The details in costumes, hair and makeup, female background singers, and a big screen display featuring photos of the original artist, adds to a concert-like atmosphere that’s entertaining for the entire family.
“This is a fascinating musical journey featuring the music of some of the greatest soul singers of all time,” as stated on the Black Ensemble Theater website. “The story focuses on their struggles and the strength that it took each one to find their soul and the power, the tenacity and the passion that it took for these singers to become successful.”
The Men Of Soul cast features Daniel Phillips, Matthew Hunter, Matthew Payne, Rueben Echoles, Lyle Miller, Kevin Pollack, Rashawn Thompson, Kyle Smith, Dawn Bless, Cherise Tomas and Rhonda Preston.
These seasoned actors are some of Black Ensemble Theaters’ best, who perform with impeccable stage presence and likeness in their rendition of songs like Bobby Womack’s If You Think You’re Lonely Now (Beverly Glen Music 1982), James Brown’s Sex Machine (King 1970), Lionel Richie and Dianna Ross’s duet Endless Love (Motown 1981) and Prince’s Purple Rain (Warner Bros. 1984). To a rousing ovation, the full cast ends the performance with a musical tribute to singer and producer Bill Withers, singing a medley of his most notable hit songs.
Men Of Soul premiered in Chicago on July 12th to rave reviews, with “patrons and music fans singing and dancing in their seats.” The musical revue will continue its regular run at the Black Ensemble Theater through August 31, 2015. For tickets and performance times to Men Of Soul, visit www.blackensemble.org or call (773) 769-4451.