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Mahdi’s ‘Bronzeville: The Musical’ Is A Must-See

Bronzeville: The Musical is now playing at the Studebaker Theatre until April 14th. Get your tickets now. / Photos Christopher Lockridge

Last Friday, the Mahdi Theatre Company put on their very first show of Bronzeville: The Musical at the Studebaker Theatre downtown. It was indeed a great show, especially if you’re into Black history or theatre. This musical nailed the assignment. It told the story of a young Black man trying to figure out his way – torn between following his friends down a risky road or sticking to his parent’s values.

Zion Ali takes center stage as Red Bone Tone in the production.

His mom worries about him, thinking he might be heading down the wrong path, so his dad takes him on a journey through Black history, from Africa rooted ancestry to Chicago’s South Side – Bronzeville. It was eye-opening, showing the struggles and hardships Black people have faced.

But what really stood out was the message of unity and strength within the Black community. It’s clear that Black people face systematic oppression. The trauma of Black-on-Black crime, something that’s been ingrained in our culture, influences younger generations to feel angry and divided. And that was the whole point of this play – to show young people how much they’re loved and to help them see that fighting against each other only ends up hurting themselves and the people they care about..

The musical symbolized coming together and supporting one another for generations to come. Black people have been through so much already, and plays like this one can help highlight the beauty of living a fulfilling life despite its challenges.

Chicago artist DLow even flexed his skills in the musical.

Margaret Mahdi, the brains behind it all, expressed her gratitude to the cast, crew, and team for their hard work. She mentioned that funding was a big challenge, but they didn’t let that stop them from putting on an incredible show.

“We’re praying that after people see this show, they will be more willing to trust their funds with us, to help us catapult on the road because it really does take serious backing to even be at the Studebaker, to support cast and team, to pay for the theater bill,” Mahdi said.

I’ve got to give a shout out to the performers – they dominated the stage with their vocals. Each one brought their own originality, and it was a real joy to watch such talent. Most of the cast members said they don’t get nervous before going on stage. That just goes to show how talented they are.

The Southside neighborhood of Bronzeville holds a special place in Chicago’s history, and this musical has the capability of educating on that. This production is fun, with dancing and powerful singing, but it also teaches us about our own culture and history.  Mahdi noted, “It’s a story of bringing light and awareness to our city, a city that sometimes seemed to be broken. But there’s a lot of soul in this city and the soul came from the Blacks who migrated to help build this city, so we want to tap into that.”

This play is definitely for the culture, and Chicagoans should see it. Tickets are still available until April 14th. Grab yours today at finesartsbuilding.com or mahditheatre.com and experience the talent of Bronzeville: The Musical for yourself.

 

By Jayla Johnson, Illinois State University Alum

Instagram: Jaylalj_

 

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Written by Jayla Johnson

Jayla Johnson is an Illinois State University alumni and blogger for her own website JJMedia, which spotlights digital creations and interviews people in the field.

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