CHICAGO (WLS) -- This week on Windy City....Weekday? Yes, Windy City Weekend is doing a special "Weekday" episode, and Val and Ryan invited Wheel of Fortune's Maggie Sajak to the show!
Maggie is the daughter of Wheel of Fortune host and Chicago native, Pat Sajak. She also works as Wheel's social correspondent. She talks with Val and Ryan about what she's been up to and what to expect from Wheel of Fortune this year. And WCW even surprises her with a Chicago trip staple... Portillo's.
Be sure to catch Wheel of Fortune weekdays at 6:30pm right here on ABC7!
When Jackie Taylor founded the Black Ensemble Theater in 1976, she did so for incredibly ambitious reasons.
Taylor had been acting professionally for about six years at that time. But despite choice roles on stage with well-known local companies like the Goodman and Organic theaters, and even though she had a decent role in the now classic Chicago movie "Cooley High" (1975), she was disturbed by the stereotypical roles that Black actors were being offered.
"In starting the Black Ensemble, my vision was to create a theatre that would destroy racism," Taylor said.
Forty seven years later, Taylor still remembers the skeptics who said that her grand ideas for a local theater were too ambitious.
"Folks said it wouldn't last, that you can't do that, 'cause that's impossible," Taylor said. "But when the Wright Brothers said that they could fly something in the air like a bird, everyone laughed at them, too. But, you know, we're only limited in our imagination."
Taylor certainly has had no limits in her role with the theater that she founded back during the country's bicentennial year. Since its launch in 1976, Taylor has written and directed more than 100 productions for the company, many of which were original musicals based on the life and times of great Black performers in the 20th century.
And she's also mentored other writer/directors, who've gone on to produce Black Ensemble Theater shows like the current BET production, "Reasons: A Tribute to Earth, Wind & Fire," a musical biography of the '70s R&B super group, which was written and directed by Darryl D. Brooks.
Most importantly, Taylor has created her own space for her theater - an intimate, 300-seat venue called the Black Ensemble Theater and Cultural Center - which cost $20 million to build and opened in 2011.
Now Taylor's expanding her footprint again. She's invested $20 million - including a $5 million grant from MacKenzie Scott, the billionaire ex-wife of Jeff Bezos - to purchase land adjacent to her theater at 4450 N. Clark St. in the Chicago's Uptown neighborhood. She's planning to build an apartment building with spaces for artists' residences, along with a Black Ensemble Theater-themed restaurant as part of the expansion.
These accomplishments have cemented Taylor as the "grande dame" of Chicago theater - one of the city's most influential theatrical impresarios.
ROEPER'S REVIEWS: SPEND OR SAVE?
"Renfield" - SPEND
Nicholas Cage and Nicholas Hoult star in "Renfield", a comedy about Dracula's tortured aide who tries to break free from his narcissistic boss
"The Last Thing He Told Me" - SAVE
"The Last Thing He Told Me" stars Jennifer Garner as a mother who must forge a relationship with her step daughter to find out why her husband mysteriously disappeared.
"Mafia Mamma" - SAVE
"Mafia Mamma" stars Toni Collette as a suburban mom who inherits her grandfather's mafia empire in Italy, only to hilariously defy everyone's expectations as a mob war rages on.
"American Manhunt: The Boston Marathon Bomber" - SPEND
"American Manhunt: The Boston Marathon Bomber" is a new Netflix series that gives an in depth account of the deadly 2013 Boston Marathon bombing that terrorized the city.
DINNER WITH A VIEW DISCOUNT OFFER:
Dinner with a View is an international one-of a-kind pop-up restaurant and outdoor oasis, and it's coming to Chicago! You'll get to enjoy an exclusive culinary adventure under the stars at Pioneer Court on the Magnificent Mile.
Attendees will dine in beautiful, intimate clear frameless geodesic domes that have been transformed into terrariums, each highlighting unique terrains found across the world meant to stimulate the senses by marrying an elevated culinary experience with a unique view.
This limited time event will be open for dinner Thursdays-Sundays from April 7th through May 14th.
Dome reservations are available at www.dinnerwithaview.ca with a special 60% off discount for Windy City Weekend viewers - ABC60 (normally priced at $199.99), and dinner reservations for $129.99 per guest. A minimum of 4 guests are required per booking, and domes can accommodate a maximum of 6 guests.