Jackie Taylor ready to open her $9 million Black Ensemble Theatre on Friday

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For Openers – It’s been a l-o-n-g time coming – 35 years, in fact! – but finally Jackie Taylor’s $9 million 49,000-square foot lifetime dream, the brand new home of Black Ensemble Theatre & Cultural Center (BET), is scheduled

For Openers – It’s been a l-o-n-g time coming – 35 years, in fact! – but finally Jackie Taylor’s $9 million 49,000-square foot lifetime dream, the brand new home of Black Ensemble Theatre & Cultural Center (BET), is scheduled to open on Friday during a star-studded gala at 4450 N. Clark St. (on the corner of Sunnyside) in Uptown. The initial show: The Jackie Wilson Story – indeed one of the early successes of Jackie, BET’s oh-so brilliant and talented 60-year-old award-winning founder and artistic director. The showcased will run through Jan. 8. For $55-$65 tickets, call (773) 769-4451. Other theatrical musical productions planned for this season include stories about such legends as Marvin Gaye, Luther Vandross, “The Ladies of Soul” (Aretha Franklin, Patti LaBelle, Diana Ross and Chaka Khan) and James Brown.

The Opening Ceremony kicks-off Friday at 7 p.m., followed by the Launch of The Jackie Wilson Story, tickets, $300; the Grand Opening Ceremony continues on Saturday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. (free); The Jackie Wilson Story, 8 p.m.. tickets. $65; the Official Grand Opening Weekend After Party (music by Steve Maestro, tickets, $20; Grand Opening Sunday Celebration, Enjoy Brunch Specials for BET patrons at Uptown and Andersonville restaurants (brunch priced separately), Experience the First Sunday Matinee of The Jackie Wilson Story, theatre tickets, $65. Curtain going up!

Kappa Korner – The ever-popular Temptations come this way Nov. 25 to help the proud brothers who boast of membership in Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity’s Chicago Alumni Chapter raise scholarship dollars for their Edward G. Irvin Foundation. This year’s $75 per ticket fundraiser, headed by Major Armstead, chapter prez, and Frank Horton III, benefit chair, kicks off with a 6 p.m. VIP Reception in Merrillville, Ind.’s Radisson Hotel Ballroom and continuing at 8 p.m., a couple of hours later, with a concert in the adjacent Star Plaza Merrillville Theatre – also starring. soul vocalist Terisa Griffin and comic Jimmy “J.J.” Walker, emcee. The reception will also include dancing with music by DJ Cisco, cocktails, a bountiful buffet and assorted door prizes. Then The Temps take us “old” and “new” skoolers back in the day. Established in 1981, the Foundation has been providing college scholarships on an annual basis for a minimum of four African American young men. And among others serving on the foundation’s Board of Directors: Rev. Dr. Leon D. Finney Jr., Melvin Hopson, Lester McKeever, Earl Barnes, Harry Reid, Donzel Starks, Emmlt Home, LaMar Davis, Byron Thomas, Torrence Moore, Dr. Alvin Paul III and Timothy Thomas Jr.

Ticket distribution committee members are Terry Lewis, Jerry Johnson, Al Smith and to reserve yours, contact one of them or Frank Horton. His digits are (773) 750-5242. For overnight hotel accommodations, check with Tommie King, (773) 519-4712,Yep! We’re there!

Hats Off – to Reginald “Hats” Adams, who has served as director of community affairs at Rush University Medical Center since 1974, on being named a Trustee Medical Recipient, Rush’s highest honor, recognizing “individuals of distinction … whose achievements provide exemplary standards for generations to come.” The Trustee Medal honors “Hats” for his passion, drive and vision for the children of Chicago’s West Side. He joined the Medical Center Staff in 1968 as chief youth worker at Mile Square Health Care Center. As community affairs director, he has developed an extensive program of outreach to the West Side community on the Center’s behalf.

Throughout his Rush Hospital career, “Hats” has paid particular attention to the educational concerns of minority students. Through his efforts, the Science and Math Excellence (SAME) Network was launched in 1990. It has since has grown to encompass collaborative programs with 45 elementary schools, six high schools, 14 churches and many local businesses. The Network sponsors after-school programs for teachers and mentoring of students by Rush employees. Last year, nearly 4,000 children and teens benefited from SAME Network’s many programs and services.

College Caper – A number of local and suburban high school juniors and seniors depart Jewel-Osco’s parking lot, 87th and Dan Ryan, this Wednesday morning via luxury coach bus for Nashville and a Fisk University Homecoming Bus Tour sponsored by the Chicago Area Fisk University Alumni Ass’n. The youngsters will stay in university dorms; meet, be hosted by and attend classes with current students; attend financial aid and scholarship workshops; have $50 application fees waived; attend recognition ceremony for accepted students; participate in all homecoming activities (pep rally, basketball game, homecoming concert with Chicago native and R&B artist Jeremiah, Greek Step Show) and much more – all for only $100 per person for four days and three nights!

Newsy Names – Ken Bedford, popular party promoter, hosts a “Pre-Thanksgiving Holiday Steppers Set” on Saturday, 8 p.m.-2 a.m., for “steppers, boppers and walkers” at Toyota Park’s new Stadium Club, 7100 S. Harlem, with a live performance by Kjon (On the Ocean, This Time and Good Morning) and DJ Steve Breeze. It promises to be “the best ever!” Free parking! Call (312) 608-6358 … Friends of Dorothy Brown, clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County, present “A Salute” in her honor on Thursday, 6 p.m.-midnight, at Alhambra Palace. Among honorary chairs: State Senators Annazette Collins, Mattie Hunter, Emil Jones Jr., State Reps. Marlow H. Colvin, Monique Davis, LaShawn Ford, Ken Dunkin, Constance Howard, Camille Lilly, Karen Yarbrough, Alds. Carrie Austin, Walter Burnett, Willie Cochran, Pat Dowell, Jason Ervin, Lona Lane, Michelle Harris, Deborah Graham and Roderick Sawyer and a number of steppin’ groups. Also Don Doty, Cheryl Jackson, Steve Hopson, Don Vic, Tommie Williams, Carl Ellis, Andre Blackwell, Alonzo Brown, Reginald Brown, Pete Frazier, Clarence Jenkins, Tom Hayes, Tracey Wheeler, Rose Wellington, Black Mary, et al. Gil Walker is coordinator. Donation: $150 … Welcome to Chicago, Kimberly Bainbridge, a Boston Univ. journalism grad from West Chester County, NY, new to the editorial staff at Jet Magazine … Happy b’day to Clarence Waldron, Cheribelle Byrd, Nedra Durham, Art Sims, Marie Slaughter Brown, Othel Owen, Sylvia Perez, Christi Love, Rae Jones, Henri “Obie” Bryson, Jalyne Strong-Shaw, Sax Preacher and Bernard Williams Jr., who celebrates #65 on Friday, 5 p.m.. at Black United Fund of Illinois, 1809 E. 71st St. … Lisa Gooch, jazz and gospel vocalist, pianist, organist, educator and inspirational speaker, performs Saturday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m., at Barclay Sub-Division, 1058 W. 81st St., in Merrillville, Ind. Call (219) 887-4096 for $15 reservations.

Morning Music – Glitz and/or Glamour! Choose one or both for your attire on Dec. 10 when Southside Friends of Chicago Sinfonietta stage Magical Holiday Breakfast, an 8 a.m. fundraiser in Navy Pier’s Crystal Ballroom. Theme: Lights! Camera! Action! – The Music of Motion Pictures. Program features: the Chicago SInfonietta Classical Ensemble, George Cooper on keyboard; Deborah Rountree, soprano; Sizzling Strings, Sylvia de la Cerna, a silent auction and door prizes. Sharon Scott is benefit chair. Among other event hosts: Audrey Tuggle, Barbara Wright Pryor, Sheila Tucker, Joyce Norman, Rita Wilson, Jacqueline Moore, Renee Butler, Steve Baskerville, Joyce Grey, Cheri Chappelle, Paul Freeman, Mei-Ann Chen, Gwen Ritchie and Joyce Occomy Stricklin. Donation: $2,000 for a donors’ table of 10; $1,000, benefactor’s table; $750, patron’s table, and $65 for a single seat. Call (312) 236-3681, ext. 558.

Scholar Dollars – Four law school students received sizeable grants from the Cook County Bar Assn’s Bench & Bar Spouses during “Glitz, Glimmer & Glitter,” the annual Scholarship Luncheon Fashion Show at the Hyatt Regency. The recipients and their schools: Allysse Eberhardt and Bettina Stanford, John Marshall Law School, and Crystal Martin and Lakeisha Murdaugh, both of Valparaiso Univ. The presentations were made by Ruth Wooldridge, Mildred Porter and Ruth Slaughter. Over the years, some 75 scholarships have been awarded by the group. After the luncheon, B&B member Dolores Robinson Caldwell, and her daughter, Janell Caldwell West, treated several lunch guests to “Champagne & Chick’n Wings” (and more!) in her West Chesterfield home. Yummy to the tummy! ….. Vocalists Kem and Chaka Khan perform in tandem Nov. 26, 7 p.m., at a Thanksgiving Soul Jam at UIC Pavilion. Tickets @ Ticketron.

Copyright 2011 Chicago Defender

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