Original Broadway Cast of Sophisticated Ladies Will Celebrate 30-Year Reunion at Birdland

News   Original Broadway Cast of Sophisticated Ladies Will Celebrate 30-Year Reunion at Birdland
 
Sophisticated Ladies, the Tony Award-winning revue of Duke Ellington's music, will celebrate its 30th anniversary at Birdland April 25 at 7 PM.

P.J. Benjamin and Terri Klausner in the original production of Sophisticated Ladies.
P.J. Benjamin and Terri Klausner in the original production of Sophisticated Ladies. Photo by Kenn Duncan

The concert will feature original cast members Adrian Bailey, Priscilla Baskerville, Hinton Battle, P.J. Benjamin, Mercedes Ellington, Ken Hanson, Bruce Heath, Terri Klausner, Michael Lichtefeld, Paula Lynn, Frank Owens, Valarie Pettiford, Wynonna Smith, Ty Stephens, Faruma Williams and surprise guests. The cast will be accompanied by the Duke Ellington Big Band.

The event is presented by Jim Caruso as part of the Broadway at Birdland concert series.

The original production of Sophisticated Ladies opened March 1, 1981, at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre and ran 767 performances. The show was conceived by Donald McKayle, directed by Michael Smuin, and choreographed by McKayle, Smuin, Henry LeTang, Bruce Heath and Mercedes Ellington. The original cast included the late Gregory Hines as well as Judith Jamison, Phyllis Hyman, Hinton Battle, Gregg Burge and Mercer Ellington. Hines' older brother Maurice joined the cast as a replacement during the run.

The show was nominated for eight Tony Awards, including Best Musical, and won for Best Featured Actor (Battle) and Costume Design (Willa Kim).

Some of Ellington's songs featured in the score include "Mood Indigo," "Take the "A" Train,” "I'm Beginning to See the Light,” "Hit Me With a Hot Note and Watch Me Bounce,” "Perdido,” "It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing),” "I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart,” "Old Man Blues,” "In a Sentimental Mood,” "Sophisticated Lady,” "Don't Get Around Much Anymore,” "Satin Doll” and "I Got It Bad and That Ain't Good.”

Birdland is located at 315 West 44th Street. VIP tickets are $50 with general admission at $40. There is a $10 food/drink minimum. For reservations, call (212) 581-3080 or visit birdlandjazz.com.

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