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Jennifer Holliday In Duke Ellington’s Sophisticated Ladies

Tony award winning actress Jennifer Holliday is set to return to the stage in Duke Ellington’s Sophisticated Ladies.  The concept for this musical was developed by Donald Mckayle and is based on the greatest hits of the Duke himself. The original production ran for 767 performances between 1981 and 1983 at the Lunt-Fontanne in New York City and starred legends like Judith Jamison, Gregory Hines, and Phyllis Hyman.

Ellington was born in the District of Columbia and went to New York in the 1920s. He is said to have composed over one thousand pieces of music and lead his band from its inception in 1923 until his death.  A career that spanned more than fifty years. The Duke was known for recording and performing music that not only highlighted the unity within his orchestra but individual musicians of particular talent.

Those of us who are theatre enthusiasts are no stranger to the talent of Jennifer Holliday.  She had her Broadway debut in 1971 and later performed in Dreamgirls where she received her Tony and also a Grammy for her recorded performance of “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going.”  Holliday is also the recipient of an honorary doctorate from Berklee College of Music in 2000.

The spectacle of the affair does not stop at the full onstage orchestra, but extends to tap dancers, elaborate costumes, and incredible jazz vocalists. Set in the famous Cotton Club in Harlem. Holliday will perform Ellington hits such as:  “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)“, Sentimental Mood“, “Sophisticated Lady“, “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore“, and “Old Man Blues”. The cast also features : Brandon O’neal, J.P. Qualters, Afra Hines, Brian Whitted, Kenny Williams, and Chanel Haynes-Schwartz.

This show will be opening in Austin on July 15, 2015 and running until August 23, 2015 at the Zach Theatre in the Topfer Theatre on the Karen Kuykendall stage. For more information or to purchase tickete click here.

Watch the original cast give the essence of Sophisticated Ladies below

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