The collaborative venture will kick off in the fall at City Center with Cotton Club Parade, a celebration of Ellington’s years at the famed Harlem nightclub. The production will be directed by Warren Carlyle and will feature the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis, who also serves as music director.
Performances are scheduled for Nov. 18–22. Tickets will go on sale Aug. 15 at City Center.
Harlem’s famed Cotton Club, according to press notes, presented "annual revues that featured big band swing and blues, dancers, singers, comedians and novelty acts throughout the 1920s and 1930s. Duke Ellington and his orchestra began a four-year residency in 1927 and continued making guest appearances throughout the 1930s." As in the original revues, the Cotton Club Parade will feature singers, dancers and variety acts. Performers will be announced at a later date.
Future productions will be presented biannually at each other’s venues. The next production is scheduled for the 2013-14 season at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rose Theater.
“We are thrilled to be collaborating with Jazz at Lincoln Center to develop new projects involving artists from both the jazz and theater worlds,” said City Center president & CEO Arlene Shuler in a statement. “It’s especially exciting that City Center will be presenting Cotton Club Parade as the first Encores! event in our beautiful, newly renovated theater.” Laura Johnson, executive producer, Jazz at Lincoln Center, added, “We are delighted to work with City Center to celebrate these two uniquely American musical idioms – jazz and musical theater. From the early 20th century theatrical jazz of Ellington’s Cotton Club floor shows to Tin Pan Alley to the jazz-drenched scores of mid-century book musicals, jazz and musical theater have succeeded in entertaining audiences with some of the most enduring and sophisticated music ever produced by American composers and lyricists."
Warren Carlyle directed and choreographed the Encores! production of Finian’s Rainbow and its subsequent Broadway production. He choreographed the Encores! productions of On the Town, Juno and Stairway to Paradise, and directed and choreographed the Broadway production of A Tale of Two Cities and the world premiere of Limelight: The Story of Charlie Chaplin at the La Jolla Playhouse.
Tickets, which start at $25, will be available by visiting NYCityCenter.org.