Delaware Theatre Company Revives The Queen Of Soul In ELLA: FIRST LADY OF SONG

Delaware Theatre Company dazzles this spring with their final 2017/2018 season production, Ella: First Lady of Song! Written by Lee Summers (Off Broadway: From My Hometown) and conceived & directed by tap dancing legend Maurice Hines (DTC: Maurice Hines is Tappin' Thru Life, Film: The Cotton Club). This enchanting regional premiere peeks into the key scenes and songs that changed Ella's struggles into a celebrated jazz career.

"Having performed my own show Tappin' Thru Life," Maurice explains, "I knew 'Ella' would receive a first class production. Bud's whole team are not only totally professional, but they're also unbelievably creative and contribute fantastic suggestions on how Ella's story will come alive on the wonderful DTC stage."

Motown icon Freda Payne (Hit Record: "Band of Gold") takes the DTC stage as the confident and mature Ella Fitzgerald. Payne's transcendent scales and scats shine throughout timeless tunes from the era such as "It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)," "A-Tisket, A-Tasket," "Sweet Georgia Brown," and many more. "Playing Ella is a lifelong ambition and a prophetic prophecy," Freda states. "It is an honor to play her on the legit stage."

Supporting the First Lady of Song is a multitalented team of musicians. Lead by DTC favorite Billy McDaniel (DTC: Ain't Misbehavin'), a seven-person jazz band accompanies each of Ella's classic tracks. And when they aren't accompanying, musicians double as the central characters of Ella's personal life, including Drummer Chick Webb and Bassist Ray Brown.

Ella's musical tour evolves into a visual feat when Colin Mcilvaine (Scenic Designer) and Nicholas Hussong (Projection Designer) mix the actual and the magical. A multitude of locations become a revolving city scape of iconic 1940s marquees, including The Opera House, Savoy Ballroom, and Ella's true home, the Apollo Theatre.

"I'm so grateful for this opportunity to thank Ella for being so wonderful to my family when we worked with her. Truly, one of the great moments in my life -in and out of show business- was being in the presence of genuine greatness!" exclaims Maurice. "I know Ella would be proud that her life will be produced by a theatre that has the class that she always exemplified."

Performances are held on Delaware Theatre Company's stage, located at 200 Water Street in Wilmington, DE, just feet from the beautiful Riverfront. Ella: First Lady of Song runs April 18 - May 13, 2018. Tickets are on sale now starting at $25 and can be purchased online at or by calling the Box Office at (302) 594-1100.

And don't miss out on our Relaxed Performance of Ella: First Lady of Song! Happening May 6th at7:00pm!

Relaxed performances are specially adjusted sensory-friendly shows, designed to create a theatre experience that is welcoming, judgment-free, and inclusive of children and families with a wide range of sensory, learning, and communication differences, including, but not limited to, individuals on the autism spectrum, as well as young children and anyone who might benefit from this relaxed environment.

To make sure all feel welcome and comfortable, the house lights will remain on at a low level in the theatre, there will be a reduction of startling lighting, the audience will have freedom to talk, vocalize and leave seats during the performance as needed, and there will be space available throughout the theater for standing and movement. Delaware Theatre Company staff, who have been trained to be aware of and accommodating to families' needs, will be available throughout the theatre and lobby during the entire performance. Pre-show preparation materials will be available online as the performance date approaches to help prepare all attendees for the experience of visiting Delaware Theatre Company and attending this performance.

Institutional Summary: In the final stretch of it's 39th season, Delaware Theatre Company (DTC) is Delaware's premier non-profit professional theatre. Recognized as a cornerstone in the Brandywine Valley's rich cultural landscape, DTC has produced nearly 200 plays for over one million residents and visitors in its community. For more than two decades, DTC has been a pioneer in the revitalization of Wilmington's Christina Riverfront and cultural district as the only LORT theatre in the state. Since Bud Martin's arrival in 2012, DTC has seen a 54% increase in subscribers and a 234% increase in single ticket buyers, making Delaware Theatre Company an up and coming player in the regional theatre community.

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