Chicago’s Black Ensemble Theatre will stage a new musical about Marvin Gaye in February, as written by the late singer’s family members, along with their manager Barbara Cole. Entitled "The Prophet: A Marvin Gaye Tribute," the new show (not the first attempt to dramatize Gaye’s life and works) will star Gaye’s sister, Zeola Gaye, in the role of the narrator. Jackie Taylor will direct.
"They came to me with this project," Taylor said.
Also on tap for the Black Ensemble season, the first in its soon-to-open new home at 4450 N. Clark Street:
A reprise engagement of the Black Ensemble hit "The Jackie Wilson Story," opening the new space in November. Taylor said she hopes that the original star of that production, Chester Gregory, will perform the title role through Jan. 8, although that, she acknowledged, will depend on the extent of Gregory’s commitments to the Broadway show "Sister Act," in which he currently appears.
In May, Taylor will present "Luther," a biographical show about Luther Vandross. Next summer’s show will be "One Name Only: A Tribute to the Ladies of Soul." And the debut season ends, in the fall of 2012, with "Ladies and Gentleman: James Brown," a tribute to the late godfather of soul.
"We needed," said the typically ebullient Taylor, "a legendary slate for a legendary new space."