In an innovative approach to connecting literature to live theatre, eta Creative Arts Foundation has partnered with the Chicago Teachers Union Foundation (CTUF) to present “The Tiger Who Wore White Gloves,” the delightful musical based on the book by Pulitzer Prize winning author Gwendolyn Brooks and brought to the stage by her daughter Nora Brooks Blakely. The show opens Friday, October 20 at 8 p.m. at eta Square, 7558 S. South Chicago Avenue and runs Fridays at 8 pm; Saturdays and Sundays at 3 p.m. through December 23, 2017. For tickets, call 773-752-3955 or visit www.etacreativearts.org.
A lively musical about an insecure tiger who is feeling outclassed until his friends help him realize the best person to be is always yourself. Ideal for the entire family, “Tiger” teaches a valuable lesson about self-acceptance. It also encourages reading and experiencing of live theater by families. Audiences are encouraged to read the book and then see the play together. “The Tiger Who Wore White Gloves” by Gwendolyn Brooks was published by Third World Press in 1974. In 1980 Brooks’ daughter wrote the musical based on the book. She also co-wrote the lyrics with Valerie King.
“As her centennial year draws to a close I’m honored to celebrate at eta with a production that brings my mother’s work together with mine,” said Brooks-Blakely.
Directed by Aaron Mitchell Reese and Kemati Porter, cast is Izaiah Harris (Taji), Mondisa Monde (Kapeni), Demetra Drayton (Beno), Kenyai O’Neal (Bupe), Marc Rodgers (Povu), Jimiece Gilbert (Teli), Micheal Love- tte (Hakika), and Janyce Caraballo (Dalila and Janja). Alexis Willis understudies. Phyllis Curtwright is music director. Choreography is by Destiny Casson; costuming by Afriti Bankwalla; set design by Patrice Davison and technical direction by Darryl Goodman.
Nora Brooks Blakely (playwright) was the producing artistic director and primary playwright for Chocolate Chips Theatre Company in Chicago for 29 years. Her readings and lectures have been conducted in several states. Ms. Blakely taught for eight years in the Chicago Public Schools and spent over 20 years teaching drama and writing workshops for students and teachers. Nora has also served on boards and committees for several youth and arts organizations. She is the daughter of two writers, Henry Blakely and Gwendolyn Brooks and founded Brooks Permissions, a company which manages her mother’s body of work and promotes its continued relevance in the 21st century. She is elated by the well-deserved year-long Centennial Celebration for her mother.
Aaron Mitchell Reese (Director) is a Chicago native and graduate of Columbia College Chicago’s Theatre Department with a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Direction and Acting. Reese is also co-founder and Artistic Director of PULSE Theatre Co. Chicago. Reese is a Joseph Jefferson Award nominated actor and Black Theatre Alliance Award nominated director for his work in Balm in Gilead (Griffin Theatre) and on Fabulation, or The Re-Education of Undine by Lynn Nottage and The Colored Museum by George C. Wolfe (PULSE Theatre Co. Chicago).
Kemati Janice Porter (Director) has been a member of eta Creative Arts Foundation since 1976. She earned a B.A. (Honors) in Creative Writing and Advertising from Columbia College Chicago and a MFA, in Directing from the Theatre School of DePaul University where she received the Michael Maggio Directing Scholarship. Kemati Porter has served as the Artistic Director of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Cultural and Performing Arts Complex in Columbus, Ohio where she helped develop the
Student Theatre Arts Repertory (S.T.A.Rs) program. As the eta Producing Director since 2007, Kemati has introduced fresh faces and new creative voices to eta audiences.