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Centaur Theatre Presents DARK DIVAS Next Month

Performances run December 16 – December 17, 2022 at Centaur Theatre.  

Centaur Theatre Presents DARK DIVAS Next Month

Celebrating the legends who changed the course of music and entertainment forever, Centaur Theatre presents DARK DIVAS, a musical journey honouring the lives of iconic black female entertainers of the jazz age, created and performed by beloved Montreal jazz singer Ranee Lee. Rediscover the worlds of the divas of an era, who captured the imagination of millions, and dazzled audiences decade after decade, through a series of spell-binding musical renditions in DARK DIVAS, presented December 16 - December 17, 2022 at Centaur Theatre.

Featuring music and songs by Josephine Baker, Billie Holiday, Lena Horne, Pearl Bailey, Dinah Washington, Sarah Vaughan, and Ella Fitzgerald, DARK DIVAS commemorates the impact these bold women of colour had on show business and conventional ideals surrounding black womanhood. In their quests to discover who they were through their music, they led generations of women to discover themselves, pushing and shifting narratives and ideals surrounding sex and race relations. Joined by some of Montreal's top musicians on this musical journey, Ranee Lee puts her own special stamp on each classic, honouring and celebrating the divas who influenced her most in her career.

"My grateful return to The Centaur Stage evokes wonderful and dazzling memories that continually fill me with the immense and creative passion like no other, for the theatre." - Ranee Lee

"Theirs was a complex story, because it not only involved their careers, but touched also on Americas' attitude about sex, and race." - Donald Bogle, "Brown Sugar"

One of Canada's premiere jazz vocalists, Canadian / American Ranee Lee (Creator and Performer) is a multi-award winning jazz musician, songwriter, and actress, as well as a celebrated educator, and an author of the children's book Nana What Do You Say?. In 1994 and 1995, Ranee received the Top Canadian Female Jazz Vocalist Award presented by Jazz Report magazine. She has been nominated for several Juno Awards and in 2010, won the Juno for Vocal Jazz Album of the Year for her recording Ranee Lee Lives Upstairs. Her performance as Billie Holiday in the play Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill won her a Dora Mavor Moore Award. She has released 13 acclaimed albums the newest of which is 2022's Because You Loved Me, her radical, innovative interpretations of songs made famous by another Quebec heroine, Celine Dion.

For outstanding service to jazz education, at the twenty-first IAJE conference in 1994, Ranee received the International Association of Jazz Educators Award. As an educator, Ranee has been part of the University of Laval faculty in Quebec City and The Schulich School of Music of McGill University faculty for over twenty years. She was appointed as a Member Of The Order Of Canada and in 2007 was given an award for appreciation and contribution to the development of the McGill Jazz Program by the McGill Schulich School of Music. Ranee also won the 2022 Oscar Peterson Award at the Montreal Jazz Festival.

Endeavoring in the art of painting and sketching for as long as she can remember, Ranee Lee states, "...much like music, painting is the self expression that satisfies my inner being..." With a deep respect for the craft, Lee's collection titled Because You Loved Me, features paintings inspired by the songs in her latest album, each laced with richness and vibrancy.



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