Ella, Bio Play About Former Swinging Resident of Queens, Gets NYC Premiere
By Kenneth Jones
Ella, the musical biography of American singer Ella Fitzgerald, a popular title in regional theatres, is currently making its New York City premiere at Queens Theatre, now to Oct. 7.
Queens Theatre, in association with Eva Price of Maximum Entertainment, presents the engagement, which began Sept. 27 in Flushing Meadows Corona Park directly under the towers of the New York State Pavilion (former home of the World's Fair). There will also be a student matinee at 11 AM Oct. 4.
"Set in 1966, on the night of one of the most important concerts of her career, Ella jams with the musicians — including famed trumpeter and former Queens resident Louis Armstrong — reflects on her life, her secrets and the love of music that made her soar," according to production notes.
Tina Fabrique, who has wowed audiences around the U.S., returns to the role. The musical includes some of Fitzgerald's signature songs ("A Tisket, A Tasket," among others).
Ella is conceived by Jeffrey Hatcher and the show's director, Rob Ruggiero. Fabrique created the role in the world premiere at Hartford's Theatreworks and later played it around the country.
"It's fitting that a musical about Miss Ella Fitzgerald should make its New York premiere at Queens Theatre," Ray Cullom, executive director of Queens Theatre, said in a statement. "Not only was Ella once a resident of Queens, the borough has this rich, and often unknown, jazz history. So many of the greats lived and played here — Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Dizzy Gillespie, Lena Horne…the list goes on and on."
This theatrical event "weaves myth, memory and music as it tells the uplifting and poignant story of one of the greatest jazz/pop vocalists of 20th century music."
For more information, visit queenstheatre.org.
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