Britt Edwards performs in “A Taste of Soul.” (Darin M. Gladfelter)

Featuring nearly 40 hit songs, “A Taste of Soul” takes an exceptionally clever approach to celebrating the irrepressible exuberance and heartache of soul music, WTTW News theater critic Hedy Weiss writes.

“Grandma’s Jukebox” is an intriguing psychological family drama that homes in on the particular fears, frustrations and needs of each of that woman’s four rather different and troubled grandchildren, and featuring periodic outbursts from the somewhat haunted jukebox that has long held a place in their grandmother’s living room. (Credit: Alan Davis)

Michelle Renee Bester’s 90-minute show is a quasi-autobiographical story that pays homage to her late grandmother. It spins an intriguing psychological family drama that homes in on the particular fears, frustrations and needs of each of that woman’s four rather different and troubled grandchildren. 

(WTTW News)

How the Chicago performing arts community is preparing for the uncertainty of the spring season.

From left: Thera Wright, Vincent Jordan, Stewart Romeo and Dwight Neal in “You Can’t Fake the Funk (A Journey Through Funk Music),” at Black Ensemble Theater. (Photo credit: Alan Davis)

Unquestionably one of the company’s most irresistible, highly polished, dance-fueled productions of recent seasons, “You Can’t Fake the Funk” will take you higher, set you on fire, and infuse you with a Superfly energy.

Robin DaSilva as Mahalia Jackson (Credit: Michael Courier)

For years now, Jackie Taylor has reminded Black Ensemble audiences that “going to the theater is like to going to church.” In her latest production, this sentiment takes on a decidedly literal meaning.

From left: Theo Huff (obscured), Rick Stone, Dwight Neal, Lamont “Harmonica Man” Harris, Cynthia Carter and Rhonda Preston in “Rick Stone the Blues Man” at Black Ensemble Theater. (Credit: Alan Davis)

In her deftly crafted new show, “Rick Stone the Blues Man,” writer/director Jackie Taylor has devised a wonderfully engaging way to explore the full spectrum of blues classics.

Left: David Sajewich, Kyrie Courter in “Company.” (Photo by Brett A. Beiner). Right: Renelle Nicole, Jessica Brooke Seals and Kylah Williams in “A New Attitude.” (Photo credit: Alan Davis)

Looking for the best way to spend a sultry pre-summer evening aside from taste-testing the latest flavor of gelato? Easy. Catch a musical.

Lyle Miller as Older Chuck Berry in Black Ensemble Theater’s “Hail, Hail Chuck: A Tribute to Chuck Berry.” (Credit: Alan Davis)

Long before Chuck Berry died in March 2017 at the ripe old age of 90, he was revered as the granddaddy of rock ‘n’ roll. Black Ensemble Theater tells the story in “Hail, Hail Chuck: A Tribute to Chuck Berry.”

Dionne Warwick

Dionne Warwick stops by to reminisce about a WTTW "Soundstage" recording from 1980 – and what it's like to see an actress portray her on stage.

The doo-wop and soul will be going strong as the theater celebrates its 40th anniversary with some of its hit original shows featuring music from The Spaniels, The Chantels, The Supremes and Otis Redding.

Curtis Mayfield performs for Dutch television in 1972.

Chicago music legend Curtis Mayfield is remembered onstage at Black Ensemble Theater. We talk with the two men who portray Mayfield in the play, including one who knew him. Read an interview with the theater's founder and watch a web extra video of Mayfield from WTTW's archives.

Jackie Taylor. Photo credit: Marzena Abrahamik, TimeOut Chicago

The genius of Jackie Wilson is resurrected at the new home of Black Ensemble Theater.  We hear from the founder of the theater about 35 years of performances -- and building for the future.