Penned by Jeffrey Hatcher (Never Gonna Dance), Ella began performances July 8 and was originally scheduled to run through July 27. Following a week of nearly sold-out performances, Hartford Stage has added four additional performances to the run, which will now conclude July 31.
Tina Fabrique stars as the late "First Lady of Song" in a company that also includes Harold Dixon as Fitzgerald's manager Norman Granz, as well as band members Clifton Kellem (Bass), Rodney Harper (Drums), Thaddeus Wilson (Trumpet) and George Caldwell (Piano/Conductor).
"It's 1966 in Nice, France, and singer Ella Fitzgerald is preparing for one of the most important concerts of her career," press notes for Ella explain. "As she and her fellow musicians finish with rehearsal the afternoon of the concert, her manager, Norman, has an unusual request: he'd like Ella to cut one of the usual numbers in order to add room for some patter with the audience. With this daunting task before her, she begins to reminisce, uncovering a past the public never knew on a musical journey through her life."
TheaterWorks artistic director Rob Ruggiero serves as director for the Hartford Stage run. Co-conceived by Ruggiero and Dyke Garrison, Ella includes the songs "A Tisket, A Tasket," "How High the Moon," "That Old Black Magic" and "They Can't Take that Away from Me," all performed with a live four-piece jazz combo.
Imported from Washington, DC's Arena Stage, where the production played last winter, Ella has a creative team composed of Danny Holgate (arranger, musical director), Michael Schweikardt (set design), Alejo Vietti (costume design), John Lasiter (lighting design), Michael Miceli (sound design) and Charles LaPointe (wig design). Fabrique's stage credits include Dessa Rose; Ragtime; Bring in 'Da Noise, Bring in 'Da Funk; Truly Blessed; How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying; The Gospel at Colonus; and Harlem Song. Fabrique has been with Ella since its Hartford TheaterWorks debut in 2005 under the working title Ella: Off the Record.
For tickets, priced $28-$55, phone (860) 527-5151 or visit hartfordstage.org.