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Upcoming cultural events include Chicago Children’s Choir, Nina Simone tribute and a dash of pageantry

By Elaine Hegwood Bowen, M.S.J., Chicago Crusader

77 Beats

The Old Town School of Folk Music, with the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE), concludes its city-wide concert series 77 Beats  with a capstone event on Friday, November 11, at 7:30 p.m. at the University of Chicago’s Logan Center for the Arts, located at 915 E. 60th St. An exploration of all 77 of Chicago’s ethnically-diverse neighborhoods, this 77 Beats event features Hyde Park Chicago Children’s Choir, University of Chicago Middle East Ensemble and Greater House of Prayer Gospel Choir plus food from local food trucks. This is a FREE event and seating will begin at 7:00 p.m.

Throughout the spring, summer and fall of 2016, 77 Beats has showcased the music and culture of each Chicago neighborhood, paired with other elements such as cuisine, visual arts and ethnic traditions in unique and unexpected locations. Highlights of this city-wide series of “pop-up” events included performances from Harmonica Hinds on downtown Chicago’s Riverwalk, Sones de México Ensemble at the National Mexican Museum of Art in Pilsen and Funkadesi at Old Town School of Folk Music’s own Lincoln Square facility.

“This has been a tremendous journey throughout all of Chicago’s 77 community areas for the Old Town School,” says Uday Joshi, Old Town School of Folk Music’s Director of Engagement and Innovation. “We are constantly celebrating and presenting the global diversity of Chicago inside of our theaters, but this project allowed us to activate the global communities where they reside, bringing the music straight to the people. Chicago is truly a global city.”

77 Beats is the successor of Old Town School of Folk Music’s 2015 program Iron Heart Chicago, which staged 60 concerts on ‘L’ platforms all the over the city last year. More information about 77 Beats can be found at http://77beats.org.

Nina Simone tribute at City Winery Chicago

Lynne Jordan returns to City Winery Chicago, located at 1200 W. Randolph St., on Monday, November 7, at 8:00 p.m. to explore Nina Simone’s repertoire and channel her spirit through song and storytelling.

Chicago chanteuse Lynne Jordan has been likened to many of the greats: Etta James, Aretha Franklin, Nell Carter, Janis Joplin, Dinah Washington and Koko Taylor. For more than a decade as front woman of Lynne Jordan and the Shivers, the soulful singer has combined “that voice,” her humor and a commanding stage presence (inherited from her preacher grandfather and honed while a theater major at Northwestern University) to win fans as diverse as Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy, Michael Jordan and Hillary Clinton. Tickets for Lynne Jordan: A Musical Tribute to Nina Simone are $20/$25 for General Admission. For more info: visit http://www.citywinery.com/chicago/tickets/lynne-jordan-sings-nina-simone-11-7.html

TimeLine Theatre presents award-winning actress AnJi White in The Last Wife

ANJI WHITE AS Katherine Parr has a meaningful conversation with King Henry VIII in TimeLine Theatre’s “The Last Wife.”  White is such an accomplished actress, and she’s earning great accolades for this role. Photo by: Lara Goetsch.
ANJI WHITE AS Katherine Parr has a meaningful conversation with King Henry VIII in TimeLine Theatre’s “The Last Wife.”  White is such an accomplished actress, and she’s earning great accolades for this role. Photo by: Lara Goetsch.

I wrote about this fantastic actress who I recently saw in “Sunset Baby” and, now after winning a couple of awards, she is back at TimeLine Theatre in a production of “The Last Wife.” Recently White took home the Black Theater Alliance’s Ruby Dee Award for Best Leading Actress in a Play (Drama or Comedy) for her work in “Sunset Baby” last season. She had also been prestigiously nominated for a Jeff Award for her work in the same play.

Now fresh off an acclaimed 2015 world premiere at The Stratford Festival in Canada—where it was thrice-extended and completely sold-out—TimeLine Theatre presents the U.S. premiere of “The Last Wife,” a feminist and fearless new play about the sixth wife of King Henry VIII that is a timely examination of politics, sex, and women’s rights. White plays the title role of Katherine Parr, who is smart and passionate and a rising star in a world of intense competition. She also has just been crowned the sixth wife of King Henry VIII. In the process, she’s started an illicit affair, inherited three children, and launched a political career at the head of the country, alongside a husband as well known for his insanity as his brutality. Now’s not the time to lose her head.

As Hillary Clinton aspires to become the first female president of the United States, “The Last Wife” is a bold and contemporary return to Tudor England that confronts issues as relevant today as they were 500 years ago. The London Free Press declared, “[The Last Wife] blows the doors off the way we see women in history and, perhaps, makes us consider our own place in the world.” The Last Wife runs until December 18, 2016, at TimeLine Theatre, 615 W. Wellington Ave., Chicago. For tickets and more info, visit, call (773) 281-TIME (8463).

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