Sophisticated Ladies highlights the music of the great Duke Ellington. From his days in the Cotton Club to his jazz suites, this musical is filled with audience favorites. Envisioned as a musical portrait of Duke Ellington, Sophisticated Ladies opened at the Lunt Fontanne Theatre in New York on March 1, 1981. Gregory Hines, Judith Jamison, Hinton Battle and Gregg Burge were among the original stellar cast. Act I take us through the early stages of Ellington’s growth as a major musical force, from the Cotton Club era through his travels here and abroad. Act II takes us on a more personal journey, exploring the private man as captured in his music.
Ellington became nationally famous while appearing in Harlem nightclubs. His orchestra, often playing his own complex compositions, made many innovations in the jazz idiom. He possessed a social elegance and gift of articulate verbal expression that inspired respect. Sophisticated Ladies brings the suave “Love You Madly” world of the great Duke Ellington to life with over 20 classics including Mood Indigo, Take the “A” Train, Don’t Get Around Much Anymore, Satin Doll, Take the A Train and It Don’t Mean A Thing, If It Ain’t Got That Swing and many others. This is a classic production that combines the glamour of 1940's sophisticated swing and classic music of Duke Ellington.
“It’s wonderful music; “you can feel the music going through you.” –Daily Sun