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ELLA 'The Ella Fitzgerald Musical' Returns To Florida Stage

By: Mar. 10, 2011
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The Lady Behind The Legend


THE Ella Fitzgerald MUSICAL

Back by overwhelming popular demand and as a kick off to its 25th Anniversary Season, Florida Stage presents the return of ELLA as its 2011 summer sensation. Though it has been seen in regional theatres such as Arena Stage, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Hartford Stage, Guthrie Theatre, and Actors Theatre of Louisville, ELLA was created at Florida Stage nearly 5 years ago and has since gone on to be produced in many theatres across the country.

The production, starring Tina Fabrique, is now in its first national tour, appearing at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center, Long Wharf Theatre, the Wortham Theater, the Blumenthal Center and the Broward Center for Performing Arts. ELLA preview performances are Thursday, June 16 at 1:30 and 7:30 p.m. The gala press opening is Friday, June 17 at 7:30 p.m. The show runs through Sunday, August 28. Performances are Wednesdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. with matinees on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays at 1:30 p.m. Tickets for ELLA are on sale to the general public starting April 1 and can be purchased by calling (561) 832-SHOW (7469). Florida Stage subscribers and donors may purchase tickets prior to April 1 at a discounted rate. They should call the subscriber hotline at (561) 585-3433 for special attention. Order online after April 1 at Prices are $25 and up.

Under the direction of Rob Ruggiero (Broadway: Looped starring Valerie Harper, upcoming High starring Kathleen Turner), the talented Tina Fabrique (Broadway: Dessa Rose, Ragtime, Bring in ‘Da Noise, Bring in ‘Da Funk, How to Succeed...) transforms into the "First Lady of Song." The tour is presented by Eva Price for Maximum Entertainment Productions (Broadway: Colin Quinn Long Story Short directed by Jerry Seinfeld, The Merchant of Venice starting Al Pacino, The Addams Family, David Mamet's A Life in the Theatre, Carrie Fisher's Wishful Drinking, Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas).

It's a life lived out loud in this exhilarating new musical about jazz and swing icon and legend Ella Fitzgerald. 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.

It's 1966 and the fabled songstress is preparing for one of the most important concerts of her career. As she jams with the musicians (including famed trumpeter Louis Armstrong) and gets ready to meet the audience, Ella reflects on her life, her secrets and the love of music that made her soar.

Featuring more than a dozen of her most famous hits, including "A Tisket, A Tasket," "How High the Moon," "That Old Black Magic" and "They Can't Take that Away from Me," this swinging new musical invites audiences to fall in love all over again with the magic and soul of Ella Fitzgerald.

What critics had to say about ELLA

Chicago Free Press "there's not a false note in this scintillating show."

DC Theatre Scene "...a truly s'wonderful and marvelous good time."

San Diego Union-Tribune "...turns an American institution into a living, breathing, flawed, funny, and human personality."

St. Louis Post-Dispatch "Stylish and sophisticated ... might have the best songlist of any show ever."

Variety "must-see performance." 

Tina Fabrique (Ella Fitzgerald) has been touring in Ella for the past year, having created the role in the world premiere at Hartford TheatreWorks. She has been honored with the 2007 Carbonell Award as Best Actress in a Musical for the Florida Stage engagement of Ella, and has been nominated for a Helen Hayes Award for Best Lead Actress in a Musical for her role at Arena Stage. Her Broadway credits include Dessa Rose at Lincoln Center; Ragtime; Bring in 'Da Noise, Bring in 'Da Funk; Truly Blessed; How to Succeed...; The Gospel at Colonus and Harlem Song. Her national tours include The Wiz, Bubbling Brown Sugar, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Once on This Island, South Pacific with Robert Goulet and How to Succeed.... Other New York credits include 70 Girls, 70 for City Center Encores! and Angel Levine at Jewish Repertory. Regionally, her many credits include The Women of Brewster Place, Crowns (Helen Hayes nomination), Ma Rainey's Black Bottom and Constant Star (Helen Hayes nomination) at Arena Stage; The Old Settler at Westport Theater; and The Glass Menagerie at Cleveland Play House. Ms. Fabrique was a featured soloist with The Duke Ellington Orchestra for several years touring in Europe and the United States. In 2005, Ms. Fabrique sang the theme song to the documentary Mad Hot Ballroom. She is also the original voice of the Reading Rainbow theme song. Her television credits include Law & Order: Criminal Intent, When I Grow Up, The Today Show, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Mike Mulligan's Steam Shovel, All My Children and One Life to Live.

Eva Price/MAXIMUMENTERTAINMENT (Producer/General Manager) is a producing, developing, and general management company in NYC stretching across Broadway, Off-Broadway and the touring spectrum founded alongside Avram Freedberg and Mary Beth Dale. Broadway: Colin Quinn Long Story Short, directed by Jerry Seinfeld, The Merchant of Venice starring Al Pacino, David Mamet's A Life In The Theatre, The Addams Family, Carrie Fisher's Wishful Drinking, Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas. Off Broadway and Touring: The Great American Trailer Park Musical, Circumcise Me, Gershwin's ‘S Wonderful, Irving Berlin's I Love a Piano, The J.A.P Show: Jewish American Princesses of Comedy, Marga Gomez' Los Big Names, Strega Nona The Musical, and Joy.

Rob Ruggiero (Director) directed Looped on Broadway starring Valerie Harper in a Tony Award-nominated performance, as well as productions at the Pasadena Playhouse, in West Palm Beach, and at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C. This production will be presented both in New Zealand and Australia early in 2011. Mr. Ruggiero is continuing his collaboration with playwright Matthew Lombardo on his new play, High staring Kathleen Turner which premiered at TheaterWorks in Hartford, and continues with productions in both Cincinnati and St. Louis. Mr.Ruggiero conceived and first directed Ella in 2005 also at TheaterWorks, and since then his production has played numerous other regional theaters around the country. Off-Broadway, Mr. Ruggiero directed All Under Heaven (also starring Ms. Harper), as well as conceiving and directing the original musical revue Make Me a Song: The Music of William Finn (Drama Desk/Outer Critics Circle nominations), which was also produced at New Players Theater in London. Regionally, Mr. Ruggiero has been recognized for work on both plays and musicals, having received numerous awards including a Joseph Jefferson Award in Chicago, and currently has the distinction of being the only director to have received four Kevin Kline Awards in St. Louis. For Goodspeed Musicals, Mr. Ruggiero has directed 1776, Big River, Camelot and recently Annie Get Your Gun.




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