Hines, Manzari Brothers, Hicks, Smith and More Star in Arena's Sophisticated Ladies

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23 Feb 2010

Arena Stage's new production of Duke Ellington's Sophisticated Ladies at the Lincoln Theatre in Washington, DC, will feature choreography by its star, Maurice Hines. Performances will play April 9-May 30.



Conceived by Donald McKayle, based on the music of Duke Ellington, with music and dance arrangements by Lloyd Mayers and vocal arrangements by Malcolm Dodd and Mayers, the revue will be directed by Charles Randolph-Wright. The production will feature an onstage orchestra.

Opening is April 15.

Partial casting was announced on Feb. 23. Making their professional regional theatre debuts will be two DC-based teen brothers John and Leo Manzari. John, 17, and Leo, 14, accomplished dancers on the regional and national scene, stood out at a master class and open audition Hines held in DC in October 2009. "Their talent quickly caught the eyes of both Hines and Randolph-Wright, and John was immediately asked to join the show and Leo was given the role of Male Swing," according to Arena notes.

They both attend The Field School in Northwest DC. Of the pair, Hines stated, "I see a great deal of myself and my brother [the late Gregory Hines] in them when they dance. They are just fabulous."

The cast will also include Marva Hicks, Sabra Lewis, Tony Mansker, Wynonna Smith, Keith Lamelle Thomas, DeMoya Watson, Hollie E. Wright and Richard Riaz Yoder.

Maurice Hines is a star of stage, screen and television. He started career at the age of five studying tap and performing with his brother, Gregory Hines. He appeared in the original Broadway production of Duke Ellington's Sophisticated Ladies, taking over the role from brother Gregory in 1981. He was last seen at Arena Stage in Guys and Dolls, which went on to a national tour. Highlights from his many credits include Broadway's Eubie!, Bring Back Birdie, Uptown… It's Hot! (Tony Award nomination for Best Actor in a Musical) and national tours of Harlem Suite and Jelly's Last Jam.

The creative team for Sophisticated Ladies includes musical director David Alan Bunn, choreographer Maurice Hines, assistant choreographer Kenneth Lee Roberson, set and projection designer Alexander V. Nichols, costume designer Reggie Ray, lighting designer Michael Gilliam and sound designer Timothy J. Thompson.

The show includes "some of the most memorable music from the Roaring Twenties to the Swing Era," including such classic songs as "It Don't Mean a Thing If It Ain't Got That Swing," "Take the 'A' Train," "Satin Doll" and the haunting "In a Sentimental Mood."

Lincoln Theatre
is at 1215 U Street, NW
Washington, DC.

Tickets may be purchased online at www.arenastage.org, by phone at (202) 488-3300 or at the Arena Stage Sales Office at 1800 S. Bell Street, Arlington, VA.