GALVESTON, TX -- What better Texas venue for "the queen of jazz" than the Grand 1894 Opera House? Cleo Laine, the only singer ever to receive Grammy nominations in the Female Jazz, Popular, and Classical categories, as well as a standout in London's West End theatre and on Broadway, will be appearing in Forever Ella. Dedicated to the life and music of Ella Fitzgerald, the new show will be presented Mar. 28 at the restored island theater.
Cleo Laine's recordings include Solitude, an all-Duke Ellington tribute; Cleo Sings Sondheim; Woman to Woman, songs written solely by women; Blue and Sentimental; Smilin' Through (with her one-time accompanist Dudley Moore); and the Grammy Award-winning Cleo at Carnegie 10th Anniversary.
Her legitimate stage career began when she starred in Flesh to a Tiger, directed by Tony Richardson at the Royal Court Theatre. On Broadway, she originated the role of Princess Puffer in The Mystery of Edwin Drood.
Elevated to life peerage by Britain's Queen Elizabeth, and awarded an honorary doctorate from Boston's prestigious Berklee School of Music, Laine, 70, will be accompanied by celebrated composer/conductor/big band leader John Dankworth, her husband. Dankworth was named Musician of the Year by The Melody Maker Jazz Poll every year from 1949 until 1955, the only jazz artist ever to achieve this level of recognition. Among his film scores are Darling and Return form the Ashes, he being nominated for an Academy Award for the latter. His musical theater credits include Boots with Strawberry Jam, created with Benny Green, based on the life of George Bernard Shaw, and Colette, for Laine. Like his wife, Dankworth has made many recordings and received many honors.
For tickets, $14.50 - $46.50, to Forever Ella, call (800) 821-1894 -- By Peter Szatmary