BWW Review: SOPHISTICATED LADIES at Fulton Theatre

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BWW Review: SOPHISTICATED LADIES at Fulton TheatreThe pre-show announcements for Fulton's Sophisticated Ladies promised the audience something different. Among other things, we were promised a night free of falling chandeliers, rotating barricades, and flying nannies. In other words, we were told that this would not be a night full of Broadway musical tropes, bells, whistles and special effects.

Instead, we were treated to the memorable music of jazz legend, Duke Ellington. A cast of fourteen gifted singers and dancers brought the composer's melodies to life. You would be advised to hide your matches, because the Sophisticated Ladies cast was determined to set the stage on fire. Tap, swing, jitterbug, gymnastics, and even some ballet were expertly used in a series of highly entertaining and energetic numbers.

The excellent dance was evenly matched with singing that was at times, soulful, joyful, sexy, or melancholy depending on the particulars of the song. "It Don't Mean a Thing", "Everything But You" and "Solitude: were my personal favorites.

This show is truly an ensemble piece, with every member getting (at least) a few moments to shine. I would be severely remiss if I did not acknowledge the show's fifteenth cast member AKA the big, brassy, on-stage orchestra led by A. Scott Williams. They are equally a joy to listen to and to watch.

The one complaint I have about the show is that while we learn a lot about Duke Ellington's music, we learn almost nothing about the man. It seems a bit odd that so little attention is given to the composer, his times, and his life. Brief narrative before some songs could also give the dancers a well-earned opportunity to catch their breath!

In conclusion, Sophisticated Ladies is a great night of song and dance. The falling chandelier was not missed.



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From This Author Rich Mehrenberg