Dynamite Divas: A Tribute to Women of Soul | Black Ensemble Theater Cultural Center | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader
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click to enlarge Rhonda Preston, Shari Addison, Rashada Dawan, and Melanie McCullough in Dynamite Divas: A Tribute to Women of Soul

Rhonda Preston, Shari Addison, Rashada Dawan, and Melanie McCullough in Dynamite Divas: A Tribute to Women of Soul

Michael Brosilow

Dynamite Divas: A Tribute to Women of Soul 

When: Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through Jan. 24 2016
Price: $55-$65
Promising them $2.5 million apiece, a billionaire inventor recruits four legendary black singers for a very strange day's work. Nancy Wilson, Roberta Flack, Gladys Knight, and Aretha Franklin are confined in a "holding chamber," where they bond while undergoing "diva development" sessions that include (holographic?) visits via "assimilator" from the likes of Billie Holiday and Dinah Washington. These preparations culminate in a live concert broadcast worldwide over every television channel in existence. There's no parsing the exuberant nonsense of Jackie Taylor's latest jukebox musical, so it's best just to surrender to a mostly strong cast performing some great songs. Rhonda Preston's Wilson and Rashada Dawan's Knight take a while to kick in properly, and Melanie McCullough's Flack never really arrives at all, but Shari Addison's Franklin is a marvel from start to big finish. —Tony Adler

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