My Brother's Keeper: The Story of the Nicholas Brothers | Black Ensemble Theater Cultural Center | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader
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click to enlarge Rashawn Thompson and Rueben Echoles

Rashawn Thompson and Rueben Echoles

Kevin Tanaka

My Brother's Keeper: The Story of the Nicholas Brothers 

When: Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through March 26 2017
Price: $49-$65
Rueben D. Echoles directs, choreographs, and costars in this world-premiere production of his own play. Echoles gives himself and his cast a tall order: not only do they try to tap dance at the level of the Nicholas brothers (the greatest innovators and practitioners of the form), they also perform original songs alongside all-time classics written by the likes of Cab Calloway and Johnny Mercer. The show moves briskly for 40 minutes, reaching its emotional peak with the funeral of the boys’ beloved father, Ulysses, but never quite regains its footing thereafter. Echoles brings joy and athleticism to his portrayal of the cocky younger brother, Harold, and Shari Addison (as the boys' mother) and Vincent Jordan (as Calloway) stand out for their powerful singing, but other players can't quite match that charisma or talent. Still, it's hard not to root for Echoles and company as they labor to pay tribute to their heroes. —Dmitry Samarov



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