Written by Jackie Taylor
& Jimmy Tillman
Directed by Jackie Taylor
At the Black Ensemble Theater, Chicago
Silky smooth nostalgic journey into the Black music of the 1940′ and 1950’s
One of Jackie Taylor’s missions during her 40th Anniversary Season is to remount the Black Ensemble’s biggest hits. She begins with Doo Wop Shoo Bop, a revue of the smooth tunes that brought Black music from jazz, gospel, and R & B into a contemporary silky sound that featured groups in rich harmonies. Groups like the Mills Brothers, the Platters, the Chantelles, the El Dorados, the Flamingos, the Chords, the Five Satins, and the Shirelles were featured by a terrific ensemble of singers and dancers. We hear Fats Domino doing “I’m Walkin,” the Crickets doing “Jim Dandy” and the Mills Brothers doing “Paper Moon.” The Platters do “In The Still of The Night,” and of course, we hear the Platters hits”The Great Pretender” and “Smoke Gets in Your eyes.”
In act two we learn about Chicago groups who did tunes like “Maybe,” and “Crazy Little Mama,” among others. Who doesn’t remember (or has not heard) hits like “Why do Fools Fall In Love,” and “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?”
A tribute to Dinah Washington, “This Bitter Earth,” and Ruth Brown “Please Send Me Someone to Love,” are among the special moments in this tuneful nostalgic revue. Taylor has assembled a fine group of talents including Donald Simmons, the fabulous Rashawn Thompson, Kara Kishid Green, and Melania McCullough.
Doo Wop Shoo Bop is a well sung tribute to the early R &B groups and the transition from Jazz and gospel to a new smooth contemporary sound that opens the doors to Black music that became mainstream as it contributed to the American cultural experience. Don’t miss this gem! It is running in repertory with The Sensational Soulful Sixties. I saw both in one day that emerged as one of the most glorious musical treats imaginable!
Talk Theatre in Chicago podcast
Date Reviewed: February 21, 2016
For more info checkout the Doo Wop Shoo Bop page at theatreinchicago.com
At Black Ensemble Theater, 4450 N.Clark, Chicago, IL, call 773-769-4451, www.blackensemble.org, tickets $55 – $65, Fridays at 8pm, Saturdays at3 pm, Sundays at 3pm, running 2 hours with intermission, through March 20, 2016 (running in repertory with The Sensational Soulful Sixties.)