BWW TV Exclusive: COTTON CLUB PARADE at City Center!

By: Nov. 21, 2011
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Carla Cook, Brandon Victor Dixon, Jared Grimes and Adriane Lenox star in Duke Ellington's Cotton Club Parade, which opened November 18 at New York City Center and Broadway Beat got an exclusive look at the show on stage!

Cotton Club Parade is a celebration of Ellington's years at the famed Harlem nightclub in the 1920s and early ‘30s, when the joint was jumping with revues featuring big bands, swing and blues, dancers, singers and novelty acts. Cotton Club Parade, conceived by Jack Viertel, with selected texts by Langston Hughes, will be directed by Warren Carlyle and will feature the renowned Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra withWynton Marsalis, who also serves as music director. It is the inaugural production of a new producing partnership between City Center and Jazz at Lincoln Center that combines the organizations' specialties: musical theater and jazz. Cotton Club Parade will play for six performances, November 18-22, 2011. City Center is located on 55th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues.

With Ellington's music as the centerpiece, Cotton Club Parade reimagines one of the composer's Cotton Club floor shows. Ellington and his orchestra began a four-year residency at the Club in 1927 and continued making guest appearances throughout the 1930s. Legendary performers such as theNicholas BrothersBessie SmithEthel Waters, Snake Hips Tucker, Peg Leg Bates and a 16-year oldLena Horne all performed at the Club.

As in the original revues, Cotton Club Parade will feature singers, dancers and variety acts, and songs by the greatest jazz composers of the time, including Jimmy McHugh and Dorothy Fields ("I Can't Give You Anything But Love" and "Digga Digga Doo"), a young Harold Arlen ("Stormy Weather," "I've Got the World on a String," "Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea,"), and of course, Duke Ellington ("Rockin' in Rhythm," "Cotton Club Stomp," Black and Tan Fantasy," and "Creole Love Call").

The cast includes Alexandria "Brinae Ali" Bradley, Everett Bradley, Andrew "Dr.Ew" Carter, Carla Cook, Nicolette DepassBrandon Victor Dixon, DeWitt Fleming Jr., Carmen Ruby FloydJared Grimes, Jeremiah "Showtyme" Haynes, Rosena Hill, Rachael Hollingsworth, KendRick Jones, Monroe Kent, Adriane Lenox and T. Oliver Reid, with Shani "Virgo" Alston, Jason E. BernardTanya Birl, Braxton Brooks, Christopher Broughton, Chanon JudsonKarine PlantaditMonique SmithDaniel J. WattsJoseph Monroe WebbChristian Dante White and J.L. Williams.