Old Town School gets into theater biz with premiere of Chitlin' Circuit musical

The Old Town School of Folk Music is producing a theater piece for the first time in its 425-seat venue in Lincoln Square.

"Keep a Song in Your Soul: The Black Roots of Vaudeville" was commissioned by the school. It's a collaboration between the North Carolina string band Carolina Chocolate Drops, the jazz composer-pianist Reginald R. Robinson,and Reggio "The Hoofer" Laughlin, and it explores the songs written and performed by African-Americans between 1830 and 1930, as part of the so-called "Chitlin' Circuit."

Many of the songs will feature new arrangements, and the show will also include some original music. Andrea J. Dymond directs.

"Keep a Song in Your Soul" is set during the Great Migration, telling the story of a young Southern woman and her boyfriend as they head north to the city for a better life. It will have its world premiere Nov. 3-6 at the Old Town School, 4544 N. Lincoln Ave. Tickets ($45) are now on sale at 773-728-6000 or

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