If you’ve daydreamed of stepping back into the roaring 20’s without the assistance of a time machine, head to Zach Theatre to see their production of Sophisticated Ladies.
Upon taking your seat, you’re greeted by a striking image of a gentleman’s face that consumes the stage. His head is tilted downward, warm expressive eyes gaze upward, with skin smooth as silk and a chin resting on a crisp white bow tie. The rim of his top hat casts a slight shadow, leaving an air of mystery. But there was no doubt who was watching over the crowd: jazz composer Duke Ellington, also known as The Duke for his signature dapper attire.
Duke Ellington’s Sophisticated Ladies offers a night of indulgence sprinkled with glitz and glamour. Scenes unfold on a stage that mimics Harlem’s notorious jazz venue where Mr. Ellington’s fame blossomed, the Cotton Club.
The show plays out spectacularly. The evening is filled with a colorful assortment of costumes, dazzling atop frolicking feet that dance to a brass band delighting the audience with an assortment of the jazz legend’s compositions.
Mr. Ellington’s music offers a cocktail of mixed emotions. Melancholy lyrics flow with clarity and drip with sadness in “Solitude” and “Everything But You.” Upbeat tunes like “It Don’t Mean a Thing” are jaunty and playful. And when the pianist begins to tickle the keys of “I Got It Bad and That Ain’t Good,” a sultry woman in a red form fitting dress slides with ease onto the baby grand piano and languidly sings, creating a steamy scene that rivals any summer day in Austin!
Sophisticated Ladies plays at Zach Theatre Wednesday-Sunday through August 23, 2015. Tickets are available now online.
@theAustinot wants to know:
Is Sophisticated Ladies in your future?