The production - imported from Washington, DC's Arena Stage – will feature the Arena team including Tina Fabrique as the late Fitzgerald. Fabrique originated the role for Hartford TheatreWorks when the musical was presented under the title Ella: Off the Record in 2005.
"While she's rehearsing for an important 1966 concert, Ella's producer requests that she add 'patter' about her life to the show," press notes for Ella state. Rob Ruggiero stages the production, which incorporates such classics as "That Old Black Magic," "A Tiskit, A Tasket" and "They Can't Take That Away From Me." Fabrique is joined on stage by a five-piece band.
Conceived by Rob Ruggiero and Dyke Garrison, Ella features a book by Jeffrey Hatcher (Never Gonna Dance) and musical direction and arrangements by Danny Holgate.
In addition to appearing in Ella regionally and on tour, Carbonell Award winner Fabrique recently starred in the Arena Stage world premiere of The Women of Brewster Place. Her Broadway credits include Ragtime; Dessa Rose; Bring in 'Da Noise, Bring in 'Da Funk; How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying and more.
Ruggiero - who staged William Finn's Make Me a Song Off-Broadway - has been the associate artistic director at TheaterWorks in Hartford for 13 years, and has directed over 30 productions there, including The Exonerated and the original production of Ella. His work has been seen at a number of other regional theatres including Pittsburgh Public Theater, Barrington Stage Company and The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, where he directed the critically acclaimed production of Take Me Out, which won four Kevin Kline Awards, including one for Best Director of a Play. Additional scheduling for Hartford Stage's SummerStage will be announced shortly. For more information visit hartfordstage.org.