Black Ensemble Theatre to present world premiere: “The Message Is in the Music”

photo Ricky Message in the music The Black Ensemble Theater opens its Five Play Season of Excellence Dedicated to the Music with the World Premiere production of The Message Is In The Music (God Is A Black Man Named Ricky). Produced, written, and directed by Black Ensemble founder and executive director Jackie Taylor, The Message.. is a fanciful, song-filled production featuring selections by superstars ranging from Curtis Mayfield to Stevie Wonder; The Isley Brothers to The Temptations; The Beatles to Paul Simon, just to name a few. Scheduled for an open run, preview performances will begin October 3, with opening night being Sunday, October 18th. More info here.

The Message Is In The Music (God Is A Black Man Named Ricky)” is Black Ensemble’s new look at an old story, the fight of good against evil and the struggle between love and hate, where the battlefield is the universe and beyond. “The Message Is In The Music” tells an old story with a new twist, and in true Black Ensemble fashion, although we already know the ending, the road is paved with rollicking laughter, devilish dance and a whole lot of heavenly sounds.

“We are always looking for inventive and creative ways to keep our audiences inspired, uplifted and feeling good about life. No matter your religious or non religious preference, “The Message Is In The Music” is the kind of fun-filled show that will have audiences smiling and singing a long time after they have left the theater,” said Taylor .

“The Message Is In The Music (God Is A Black Man Named Ricky)” stars the phenomenal Rick Stone (previously acclaimed for portraying Rufus Thomas and Howlin’ Wolf) as “He” and “Him” (God’s other names); France Jean-Baptiste plays God’s woman, “She;” Trinity Murdock is His right hand man; while Rhonda Preston and Dawn Mitchell serve as His alleluia angels. “Lucifer” is fiendishly played by Donald Barnes with Michael Bartlett as the head demon, “Dwight.” Other demons include Carrie Abernathy and Kyla Frye rounding out the devil’s domain.

Robert Reddrick (Drums) is the musical director and arranger. His seven-piece orchestra includes Tracey Baker (Bass), Mark Moultrup (Piano), Kenn Smith (Guitar), Hank Ford (Tenor Saxophone), Paul Howard (Trumpet) and Bill McFarland (Trombone).

Joining Taylor , the production team includes: Rueben Echoles (choreographer and hair design), Carl Ulaszek (set design), Denise Karczewski (lighting design), Ron White (sound design), Pilar Audain-Reed (costume design) and Razor Wintercastle (stage manager).

Performance Schedule & Tickets

Scheduled for an open run, The Message Is In The Music (God Is A Black Man Named Ricky)” will run Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. and Sundays at 3:00 p.m. Preview performances begin Saturday, October 3, and continue weekends until the official press opening Sunday, October 18 at 3:00 p.m. Preview tickets are priced at $40 and regular tickets are $45. Discounts are available for students, seniors, and groups. Tickets, including group tickets, are available by calling the Black Ensemble Theater Box Office at 773-769-4451, or visiting All performances will take place at The Black Ensemble Theater, 4520 N. Beacon.

Additionally, there will be a Grand Opening benefit reception following the opening performance on Sunday, October 18, featuring food, drinks and an opportunity to mingle with the cast and company. Tickets for the Grand Opening reception, including prime theater seating, are priced at $100.00.

The Black Ensemble Theater

The Black Ensemble Theater was founded in 1976 by Jackie Taylor, who has written and directed more than 100 productions for the company. In addition to its main stage productions, the Black Ensemble Theater Company produces ‘Plays with a Purpose,’ a series of original youth-oriented musicals, designed to teach students positive life lessons and values, as well as several community-based programs that use theater arts to enhance and enrich the lives of countless youth, students and families.

bet2 Black Ensemble Theater is in the final stages of its capital campaign to build a new home for the company, the Black Ensemble Theater Cultural Center. Of the $15 million needed for the project $13 million has been raised to date. The Black Ensemble Theater expects to break ground and begin construction in the spring of 2010.

The mission of the Black Ensemble Theater Company is to eradicate racism and its devastating effects upon society through the theater arts. For more information on the Black Ensemble Theater Company, please visit or call 773-769-4451.

One Response

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