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Theater Tue Mar 29 2011
Jackie Taylor, founder and executive director of the Black Ensemble Theater, has an intense love for music; from the live band that is a staple of her shows to the singing from the ensemble cast members, for her, music really is the soundtrack to life. In her latest work, All In Love Is Fair, which she also wrote, produced and directed, things are no different; this time out, the music of Luther Vandross serves as the backdrop for love--and also for the fictional, small town of Love, Illinois, where the story takes place.
All In Love Is Fair follows six couples (one, a love triangle) in various stages of relationships and how they each deal with love and romance. Rhonda Preston and Zachary Boyd's "Zeland" and "Rena," who are celebrating their golden anniversary, serve as the model couple, while "Diedra" and "Cortez" (Dawn Bless Comer and Daryl Brooks) are completely on the opposite end of the spectrum as the antagonistic couple that obviously wasn't ready to be married.
There were plenty of solid solos throughout the play, but the one standout, hands down, was Vasily Deris, who, through his rendition of "Never Too Much" and "Dance With My Father," let the audience know that he is perhaps one of Vandross's biggest fans.
If you're a fan of Vandross and classic soul music in general, the play doesn't disappoint; despite a paper-thin plot, the performance still filled the air with that "feel-good" vibe that Black Ensemble Theater regulars know and love.
All In Love Is Fair runs through May 8 at the Black Ensemble Theater, 4520 N. Beacon St., Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm, Sundays at 3pm. Tickets are $45-$47.50 and can be reserved at the box office at 773-769-4451 or through Ticketmaster.