Chicago, IL – Jackie Taylor, founder and CEO of Black Ensemble Theater, will be honored with the Fifth Star Award from the City of Chicago and Allstate Insurance Company, at Millennium Park on September 14 at 7 pm. Inaugurated in 2014, the Fifth Star Awards celebrate Chicago’s creativity and recognize institutions and individuals who have made significant contributions in arts and culture.
Jackie Taylor comments, “I am honored to be recognized by the City of Chicago with a Fifth Star Award. Through its 40 years, Black Ensemble Theater has been bringing Chicagoans together, educating its students and working to eradicate racism. We are thrilled to be a part of Chicago’s arts and culture scene and I am proud to be recognized alongside so many Chicago icons.”
This year the City of Chicago will honor Jackie Taylor along with blues legend Buddy Guy; celebrated photographer Victor Skrebneski; museum founder and educator Carlos Tortolero; and the legendary improv and sketch comedy theater, The Second City and the “Rising Star” youth honoree Joshlyn Camille Lomax.
The free, public event will honor the legendary Chicago artists and cultural institutions with electrifying live performances and moving video tributes. Presenters on stage will include American icon and supermodel Cindy Crawford; actor and comedian Fred Willard; Broadway star Chester Gregory; the new “Queen of the Blues,” Shemekia Copeland; David Woolwine of Allstate Insurance Company; and Angelique Power of The Field Foundation of Illinois. Blues musician Guy King, Sones de México Ensemble, pianist Sebastian Huydts, The Second City and Black Ensemble Theater will perform—along with event hosts The Q Brothers.
The Fifth Star Awards is made possible through generous private support from Allstate Insurance Company, Exelon and GCM Grosvenor. Media support is provided by Chicago Transit Authority, Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Reader.
For additional details about the Fifth Star Awards please visit fifthstarawards.org.
About Jackie Taylor
Jackie Taylor is the Founder and Executive Director of Black Ensemble Theater Company, currently celebrating its 40th anniversary. Founded in 1976, the Black Ensemble Theater has produced more than 100 productions, employed over 5,000 artists and gained a national reputation for outstanding, original productions and a dedication to its mission of eradicating racism. More than 8,000 youth are served each year by the Theater’s educational outreach programs. In 2011, the new Black Ensemble Theater Cultural Center opened its doors, following a $20 million capital campaign.
Taylor was born in Chicago, and raised in the Cabrini Green housing project. She rose from modest roots to become a distinguished actress, singer, director, playwright, educator and theater founder. Taylor has had featured roles in several major films, including “Cooley High,” “Hoodlum,” “To Sir With Love – Part 2,” “The Father Clements Story,” “Barbershop 2” and “Chiraq.” Jackie Taylor began producing her own shows as early as 1973 and has written and produced more than 100 plays and musical biographies, including The Marvin Gaye Story, All In Love Is Fair, I Am Who I Am (The Story of Teddy Pendergrass), God Is A Black Man Named Ricky, Those Sensational Soulful 60’s, The Other Cinderella, Somebody Say Amen, At Last: A Tribute To Etta James and The Jackie Wilson Story. Taylor is also a respected educator; her “Strengthening the School Through Theater Arts” program serves students, their parents and teachers in inner-city elementary schools through training in the theater arts.
About The Black Ensemble Theater
Founded in 1976, by the phenomenal producer, playwright and actress Jackie Taylor, Black Ensemble Theater is the only African American theater located in the culturally, racially and ethnically diverse north side Uptown community. Through its Five Play Season of Excellence, The Black Ensemble Theater dazzles audiences locally, nationally and internationally with outstanding original musicals that are entertaining, educational and uplifting. The Black Ensemble Theater has produced more than 100 productions and employed over 5,000 artists.
On November 18, 2011, The Black Ensemble Theater Cultural Center opened and is able to accommodate larger-scale productions, bigger audiences and a wider range of educational programming. The new facility includes amenities such as a 299-seat main stage theater (double the capacity of the original venue); 14 offices, classroom space, rehearsal hall, dance studio, scene shop, costume shop, and wardrobe rooms; seven dressing rooms; rehearsal room for musicians; front lobby space with concession areas; and an indoor parking garage. The completion of a 150-seat theater, which will serve as an experimental stage for the work of the Black Playwright Initiative (BPI), with construction by General Contractor Norcon Inc., is expected in 2016/17.
The mission of the Black Ensemble Theater Company is to eradicate racism and its devastating effects upon society through the theater arts. For more information on the Black Ensemble Theater Company, please visit www.BlackEnsembleTheater.org or call 773-769-4451.