Written by David Barr III & Joe Plummer
Produced & Director Jackie Taylor
Musical Director Jimmy Tillman
Musical Arranger Thomas Washington
At Black Ensemble Theater,
High energy bio-musical of Joe Tex tuneful
Black Ensemble Theater’s Season of Men continues with “I Gotcha” (The Story of Joe Tex and the Soul Clan). Written by Joe Plummer and David Barr III, “I Gotcha” uses the basic Black Ensemble formula: blending tidbits of biographical information with a character sketch of the principal person to that person’s music and those he/she associated with. These shows are high energy musical tributes that audiences love. This show has loads of soulful R & B tunes from the 60’s.
It is 1981 and Soul Man Joe Tex (Lyle Miller) is broke and torn between his faith (Moslem) and his wife and his need—both financially and professionally to return to performing on stage. It is his birthday and he is joined by his old musician friends Ben E. King (Magellan Watts), Solomon Burke (Daryl D. Brooks) and Wilson Pickett (Trinity P. Murdock). These guys perform the songs that made them famous, each having their turn rocking the house. These soulful R & B tunes provided a toe-tapping treat of the first order. Jimmy Tillman’s seven person band sounded excellent (as usual) and the four singers—each with a distinct personality landed their numbers with aplomb.
“Ain’t Gonna Bump No More With No Big Fat Woman,” “ Stand By Me,” “Mustang Sally,” “Hold On to What You’ve Got,” “In The Midnight Hour” and “I Gotcha” highlighted this bouncy R & B revue. Lyle Miller as Joe Tex was empathetic as he sang Tex’s tunes with conviction. Trinity P. Murdock, as Wilson Pickett, combined a soulful humor with a down-home persona. Murdock was terrific in singing Pickett’s songs. Jackie Taylor and Black Ensemble Theater continue to offer crows-pleasing high energy shows that specialize in soulful R & B music. This show rocks!
At Black Ensemble Theater, 4520 N. Beacon Street, Chicago, IL, Call 773-769-4451, www.blackensemble.org, Tickets $45, Fridays & Saturdays at 8 pm, Sundays at 3 pm, Running time is 2 hours, 20 minutes with intermission.