"A FITTING TRIBUTE"-- LORETTA DEVINE STARS IN "HALLELUJAH MAHALIA" FEB 27. AT THE WILSHIRE EBELL THEATRE IN LOS ANGELES.
Compiled By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs
In celebration of February being Black History Month, Don B. Welch Productions is presenting the moving, gospel stage play "Hallelujah Mahalia! Feb. 27 at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre in Los Angeles.
"Hallelujah Mahalia" honors the music and legacy of one of America's greatest gospel singers, Mahalia Jackson from her humble beginnings in Chicago to her untimely death on January 27, 1977 at age 60.
Award winning actress Loretta Devine (pictured) stars in the production with recording artist and gospel sensation Tamika Patton. Devine's list of film, television and theater credits are numerous and include roles in "Waiting To Exhale," "This Christmas," "Dreamgirls" (both film and stage versions), "Crash," and "Woman Thou Art Loosed."
On the television front Devine is a five time NAACP Image Award winner and has starred on "Boston Public," "Grey's Anatomy," "Eli Stone" and most recently "Cold Case."
Patton has been performing in "Hallelujah Mahalia" since the mid 1990's, all over the country in the lead role. In an interview with the Philadelphia Tribune, Patton said this about Jackson. "Her life (Mahalia's) is so similar to mine in many different ways. It just seemed like she was always striving to get that message of love and peace and gospel in any way that she could, and it was in her own unique way."
"Hallelujah Mahalia" also stars Barry Lyons, pastor of The Living Waters of The San Fernando Valley Church in the role of Thomas A. Dorsey,( known as the "Godfather of Gospel"), legendary musical director, Rev.Alexander Hamilton, Contrella Patrick Henry, Kim Yarbrough, Charmaine Charles, Nei-Ce Knight Pruiett, Lisa C. Thompson, Delores Lakey Stewart and Andrea Jones.
Audiences will hear all of the Mahalia Jackson classics like "Move On Up A Little Higher," "How I Got Over," "He's Got The Whole World In His Hands," "Precious Lord," and "Nobody Knows The Trouble I've Seen" among others.
Editor's Note: "Hallelujah Mahalia" premieres Feb. 27, at 5:00 p.m. at The Wilshire Ebell Theatre. The theatre is located at 4410 W. 8th Street in Los Angeles. Tickets are $25 and $30 and available at all Ticket Master outlets and also at The Wilshire Ebell Box Office. Call (323) 939-1128 for more information. For group sales of 20 or more contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
OTHER THEATRE NEWS
Nominations for the 55th Annual Drama Desk Awards will be announced May 3 at 8:30 AM ET at the New York Friars Club in Manhattan.
The ceremony which honors the 2009-2010 theatre season, will be held May 23. As of this writing a location has not been announced. A party to honor the year's nominees is tentatively scheduled for May 6.
The Drama Desk is an organization of theatre critics, writers and editors that honors excellence in all areas of New York theatre: Broadway, Off-Broadway, Off-Off-Broadway and not-for-profit.
CHICAGO'S BLACK ENSEMBLE THEATRE PRESENTS: "MY BROTHER'S KEEPER: THE STORY OF THE NICHOLAS BROTHERS"
If you're in Chicago during March, be sure to catch the Black Ensemble Theatre's production of the musical "My Brother's Keeper: The Story of the Nicholas Brothers." Previews begin March 13-March 20. The play's regular theatrical run is March 21-May 1.
The play stars Rueben Echoles and RaShawn Thompson as the famous Nicholas Brothers. "My Brother's Keeper: The Story of the Nicholas Brothers" will showcase the power and excitement of these two dazzling men.
and is sure to delight audiences of all ages.
Having danced for nine U.S. presidents, headlined shows all over the world, and appeared in every major television show, nightclub, and theater in America, the Nicholas brothers danced their way into the hearts of millions with successful careers spanning 60 years.
Appearing at segregated clubs in the 1930s and in music videos in the 1990s, Fayard and Harold Nicholas dismantled racial barriers and became the most famous dance team of the twentieth century.
Show times are Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and 3 p.m. on Sundays. Tickets are $40-$45.
OTHER SHOWS ON TAP AT THE BLACK ENSEMBLE THEATRE:
"NOTHIN' BUT THE BLUES"
(Written by Joe Plummer & Andre Hogan
Directed by Rueben Echoles and Dawn Bless)
That's exactly what it is, nothing but the blues. The blues has a rich significant history and nobody can tell it better than the Black Ensemble Theater.
"ALL IN LOVE IS FAIR—A TRIBUTE TO THE LOVE SONGS"
(Written & Directed by Jackie Taylor)
Who do you think of when you think of the great love songs - Teddy Pendergrass, Luther Vandross, Ron Isley, The Isley Brothers? The genius of their music and many other love balladeers are featured in this musical dedicated to love.
"A RARE PEARL—THE STORY OF PEARL BAILEY"
(Written by Wendell Etherly)
A great singer, a phenomenal dancer, one of the first Black female movie stars. Who was this lady who won the hearts of America during one of the most difficult racial periods in our history? You'll learn all that and more in this Black Ensemble Theater world premier production.
"YOU BROUGHT THE SUNSHINE IN MY LIFE (THE STORY OF THE CLARK SISTERS) (Written by Dawn Mitchell)
The Clark Sisters are the largest selling female gospel group of all time having sold millions of albums and have paved the way for the contemporary genre of gospel music. Their story unfolds in the fun and exciting Black Ensemble tradition.
For more information on any of the Black Ensemble Theatre plays log on to www.blackensembletheater.com or call 773-769-4451. The Black Ensemble Theatre is located at 4520 N. Beacon Street in Chicago.
VIVICA A.FOX AND BRIAN MCKNIGHT TAKE TO THE STAGE
Vivica A. Fox and Brian McKnight will star in the romantic comedy "Cheaper to Keep Her," about a married couple that is ready to call it quits. The stage play will run through March 16-21 in Washington, DC's Warner Theatre and then will go to the Hobby Center in Houston, Texas on March 25-28.
"BLACK ANGELS OVER TUSKEGEE"
Lamman Rucker star of "Tyler Perry's, upcoming movie "Why Did I Get Married Too" will star in The Black Gents of Hollywood stage play, "Black Angels over Tuskegee." The production is about the life of an ex-boxer turned Tuskegee Airman. The play, written and directed by Layon Gray began an open ended run on Jan 29 at the St. Luke's Theater in New York.
The Black Gents of Hollywood, co-founded by Rucker, is an all male ensemble driven to restore positive images of African-American men. "It is our duty to highlight a legacy that I believe contributes to restoring the identity of the Black male," says Rucker. "I'm especially honored that The Black Gents will debut Off-Broadway and pay tribute to The Tuskegee Airmen and other ancestors of that time who have embodied excellence, self-determination and self-discipline."
Rucker has been nominated for an NAACP Image Award for "Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series" for "Meet the Browns."
St. Luke's Theatre is located at 308 W. 46th Street in New York. For tickets and more information call, (212) 246-8140.
Editor's Note: Some information used in this report obtained from publicity department press releases.