A new tour of the Duke Ellington musical Sophisticated Ladies, which has been postponed several times, will finally kick off its national tour on April 6. Starring former Supreme Mary Wilson and featuring the Duke Ellington Orchestra, the Tony-nominated Best Musical will begin performances in New London, CT, at the Garde Arts Center.
Sophisticated Ladies, a revue of the work of Duke Ellington, opened at Broadway's Lunt-Fontanne Theatre on March 1, 1981. Hinton Battle received a Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical, and his co stars included Gregg Burge, Gregory Hines, Judith Jamison, Terri Klausner, P.J. Benjamin and Phyllis Hyman. Some of the tunes heard in this two-act musical include "Hit Me With a Hot Note," "It Don't Mean a Thing," "Take the 'A' Train," "Solitude," "Don't Get Around Much Anymore," "In a Sentimental Mood," "Mood Indigo" and the title tune.
One of the co-founders of The Supremes, Mary Wilson had twelve No. 1 hits with that history-making group, including "Where Did Our Love Go," "Baby Love," "Stop! In the Name of Love," "You Keep Me Hangin' On," "Love Child," and "Someday We'll Be Together." Wilson has maintained a busy schedule since the group disbanded in the seventies, performing with major symphonies around the country. Her theatrical endeavors have been successful as well, including a Canadian tour of Beehive and her Off Broadway debut in Grandma Sylvia's Funeral. Wilson is also the author of two best-selling books, "Dreamgirl: My Life as a Supreme" and "Supreme Faith: Someday We'll be Together."
The tour dates for this production of Sophisticated Ladies, which is being directed and choreographed by Roger Spivy, follow:
April 6 at the Garde Arts Center in New London, CT
April 26 at the Regal Theater in Chicago, IL
May 1 at the State Theatre in New Brunswick, NJ
May 2-5 at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, CT
May 7 at the Bangor High School in Bangor, ME
May 11 at the Stambaugh Auditorium in Youngstown, OH
May 14 at the FM Kirby Center for the Perf. Arts in Wilkes-Barre, PA
May 17-18 at the Westbury Music Fair in Westbury, NY
May 19 at the Ulster Performing Arts Center in Kingston, NY
May 23 at the Mystic Lake Casino in Prior Lake, MN
Oct. 15 at the Brooks Center in Clemson, SC
Oct. 17 at the Saenger Theatre in Mobile, AL
Oct. 19 at the Walker Center in Wilkesboro, NC
Nov. 8 at Indiana University of Pennsylvania in Indiana, PA
Nov. 17 at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, NM —By Andrew Gans