A new play opens this week, set amid the hothouse cultural explosion of Chicago’s 1980s house music scene.

Back In The Day is presented by UrbanTheater Company – a new work-in-progress focusing on the city’s Black and Latino dance crews in the prime of Chicago’s groundbreaking house music scene of the 1980s.

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Based upon José “Gringo” Echevarría’s book The Real Dance Fever: Book One, Back In The Day “takes you back to the ’80s, to the glory days of house music when Black and Latino dance crews set such legendary local juice bars like Jenal’s and Medusa’s on fire with their dance moves.”

This House Music dancesical follows the Northside Chicago dance crew, The All Stars, led by José “Gringo” Echevarría and their frenemies, The Culitos and Imported Taste when teenagers dominated the 1980’s afterhours scene and found family and acceptance through street dancing. Echevarria’s All Stars would take the house-dance scene by storm for over ten years; these were kids who led exciting lives as semi-celebrities while navigating the rough streets of Chicago. A self-taught dancer and choreographer, Echevarría took his talented group of young dancers to the big stage, while also traveling with the famous Argentinian pop duo Pimpinela as their choreographer.


There will also be a post-performance basement party on June 22 and following every other Saturday night, DJ’d by Pablo “Punkout” González.

Back In The Day is written by UTC Artistic Director Miranda González based on Echevarría’s book and co-directed by González and Raquel Torre. The show runs June 19 to August 3 at the Chopin Theater, 1543 W. Division St in Chicago. Tickets are available online at urbantheaterchicago.org.