Jackie Taylor’s Legend The Musical: A Civil Rights Movement, Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow
Saturday at 12:35 pm
Jackie Taylor has given us many biopic musicals that entertained and informed us throughout the decades of African- Americans who have paved the way in entertainment at the Black Ensemble Theater. However, the woman who started BET 44 years ago had a mission to eradicate racism and is unwavering to get to the root of the problem, find a solution to resolve the hatred of minorities (people of color) so that the healing can begin.
Vowing to go deeper in the 20/20 season Taylor and her ensemble members deliver a powerful and poignant production with the original story “LEGENDS THE MUSICAL: A Civil Rights Movement, Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.” The two-act musical gives us a pathway of healing, with this bold narrative and musical journey of truth from the devastation of racism” and “discrimination” by paying tribute to those who lost their lives fighting against the disparity of prejudice, by examining the effects of racism.
BET dedicated ensemble members Dwight Neal and Dawn Bless are the primary hosts on the “Healing Circle” as they guide us through the lenses of racism and discrimination.
Legends is a moving and unsettling narrative of suffering that many endured just because of hatred and fear. It’s an uncomfortable truth about America and those in power who rebuff to recognize their atrocities or acknowledge the remarkable accomplishments of minorities.
Lemond Hayes choreographed dance routines to original music and song, was delivered by ten of the ensemble members. BET shares the maltreatment of African Americans, by echoing the souls of those murdered that refused to stay quiet about the inequalities of racism.
The set design was very simplistic and calming, donned in a bluish-gray color with a circular mount in the center. A full screen was incorporated as the backdrop projecting the names and faces of African Americans murdered and the ones who have contributed to the fabric of this country.
Positioned behind the projection screen was Taylor’s band led by Musical director Robert Reddick (drums) and his group Adam Sherrod (keyboards), Mark Miller (bass), and Gary Baker (guitar).
The music ranged from church-like hymns to R/B Soul. ‘Welcome to the healing’ and ‘We Must Remember, written by our own Jackie Taylor, Sam Cooke, “A Change Is Gonna Come, B. King, J. Leiber, and M. Stoller, “Stand by Me,” and John Lennon, “Imagine.” Legends playlist tugged at your heartstrings with memorable songs during a special tribute to those who fought through the injustice during the civil rights era.
Taylor informs the audience that the ensemble players contributed to the writing of the musical. Dawn Bless, blessed us with her soulful sounds throughout the musical, and Jasmine Bomer was marvelous doing her performance of (Rise Up). Mary Simpson, who made her debut at BET, displayed a pristine voice, and Colleen Perry’s soulful sounds delighted the audience. The men featuring Dwight Neal, Vincent Jordan, Stewart Romeo, Blake Hawthorne, and Blake Reasoner, singing and dancing, provided a soulful touch.
Legends will ruffle some feathers and hits hard at racism and discrimination, but that its goal. It also peels back the hardship with love and understanding, trying to get people of hate to see that we are all the same regardless of our complexion.
We can never forget the horrendous act of senseless violence, or we will repeat the past. Taylor’s quest to annihilate hate and bring people together to see the content of our character and not the color of the skin is a lesson we, (meaning all humanity) unfortunately, still haven’t learned.
Let’s Play ‘Recommend ‘ that you check out LEGENDS at Black Ensemble Theater.
BLACK ENSEMBLE THEATER PRESENTS
THE WORLD PREMIERE OF
JACKIE TAYLOR’S LEGENDS THE MUSICAL:
A CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT, YESTERDAY, TODAY AND TOMORROW
WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY FOUNDER AND CEO JACKIE TAYLOR
FEBRUARY 22-APRIL 12, 2020