**** Highly Recommended **** Mercury Theater’s production of Women of Soul is nothing short of spectacular. This revue has all the glitz, glitter and glamour anyone could ask for! Women of Soul also has eight of the best voices in Chicago theater paying tribute to everyone from Mahalia Jackson to Janet Jackson, and more. The voices are awesome, the costumes beyond gorgeous. Angela Weber Miller’s elegant yet intimate set provides the perfect backdrop for all those sequins. I was dancing in my seat! 4 BIG Spotlights
Women of Soul, which had its premiere in 2018 at the Black Ensemble Theater, was written and directed by Daryl D. Brooks. Brooks has returned to direct the Mercury production. The entire original cast, Cynthia Carter, Robin Da Silva, Jerica Exum, Hannah Efsits, Dwight Neal, Colleen Perry, Rhonda Preston, Jessica Seals and Aeriel Williams, has returned also.
Before each song, a cast member gives a brief introduction of each artist, beginning with Robin Da Silva singing Gladys Knight’s Midnight Train to Georgia, Jessica Brooke Seals singing Dionne Warwick’s I’ll never Love This Way Again, and Rhonda Preston singing Shame, which was originally recorded by Evelyn “Champagne” King.
Some of the highlights:
- Cynthia Carter sings Tina Turner’s Simply the Best
- Robin Da Silva sings Mahalia Jackson’s Trouble of the World and How I Got Over
- Colleen Perry sings Janis Joplin’s Piece of My Heart
- Jessica Brooke Seals sings Etta James’ I’d Rather Go Blind
- Dwight Neal and Hannah Efsits sing a Rick James and Teena Marie duet, Fire and Desire
- Rhonda Preston sings Natalie Cole’s This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)
- Aerial Williams, Hannah Efsits and Jessica Brooke Seals sing a Donna Summers medley
- Jerica Exum sings Whitney Houston’s I Have Nothing
- Hannah Efsits singing Amy Winehouse’s Valerie
- Jerica Exum singing a Mariah Carey medley
- Colleen Perry singing Adele’s Rolling in the Deep
- Aerial Williams singing Janet Jackson’s Control
The finale, an Aretha Franklin medley including everything from I Will Survive to Respect and more, was performed by all eight singers wearing more sequins than I’ve ever seen on a stage at once. It was awesome!
Note: Guests must show proof of vaccination before entering the theater. Guests are required to wear masks while inside the building.
Women of Soul runs through March 6th at the Mercury Theater, 3745 N. Southport, Chicago. Parking is a challenge in this neighborhood, so arrive early if you’re driving. Running time is 2 hours, including intermission. Performances are Wednesday through Friday at 7:30 pm, Saturday at 2:00 & 7:30 pm, Sunday at 2:00 pm. Tickets range from $35-80. FYI www.mercurytheaterchicago.com.