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?
We always have unique content on the Austinot, and we love to give things away. You know, like CDs, event tickets and other cool stuff. We only send out our Best of the Austinot newsletter two times/month. It’s where we give you a recap of our best articles and give stuff away. Interested? Subscribe to Best of the Austinot here!