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Theater Thu Aug 19 2010
While the 1920s Harlem Renaissance may be more well-known, Chicago's Black Renaissance has also cemented a firm place in the history of American culture. From fine arts to the literary scene to jazz, blues and gospel music, from the 1930s through the 1950s, black artistry was an undeniable presence in Chicago.
For Margaret Mahdi, founder of the Mahdi Theatre Company, this era in the city's history is an important story that should be told. In the musical play My Black Chicago, produced, written and directed by Mahdi, the history of blacks in the arts in Chicago is recognized. "As a theater company, we wanted to highlight the great trailblazers of our time; as artists, we wouldn't be able to act, sing, or dance if it weren't for them," said Mahdi.
And as for the Harlem Renaissance, Mahdi isn't remiss to pay homage; however, she feels Chicago's contribution to the cultural landscape cannot go unmentioned. "We hear about Harlem but not a lot about Chicago's Black Renaissance," she said. "And that's why we want to represent our city through the spirit of this musical."
Catch the limited run of My Black Chicago at Kennedy-King College, 740 W. 63rd St., on Sat., August 21 at 8pm and Sun., August 22 at 3pm and 8pm. Tickets are available at the Mahdi Theatre Company's box office, 7351 S. Stony Island; $20 advance and $25 at the door. Contact 312.835.1878 or 312.343.3940 for more information.