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‘Duke Ellington’s Cotton Club Parade’ Coming to NYC Center

Wynton Marsalis & the JALC Orchestra will celebrate ’20s-’30s jazz-fueled revues

Duke Ellington and the Cotton Club Orchestra, 1927
Duke Ellington

Carla Cook, Brandon Victor Dixon, Jared Grimes and Adriane Lenox have been cast in Duke Ellington’s Cotton Club Parade, opening November 18 at New York City Center. Cotton Club Parade is a celebration of Ellington’s years at the famed Harlem nightclub in the 1920s and early ’30s, when revues featured big bands, swing and blues, dancers, singers and novelty acts. Cotton Club Parade, conceived by Jack Viertel, with selected texts by Langston Hughes, will be directed by Warren Carlyle and will feature the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis, who also serves as music director. It is the inaugural production of a new producing partnership between City Center and Jazz at Lincoln Center that combines the organizations’ specialties: musical theater and jazz. Cotton Club Parade will play for six performances, November 18-22, 2011. City Center is located on 55th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues.

With Ellington’s music as the centerpiece, Cotton Club Parade reimagines one of the composer’s Cotton Club floor shows. Ellington and his orchestra began a four-year residency at the Club in 1927 and continued making guest appearances throughout the 1930s. Legendary performers such as the Nicholas Brothers, Bessie Smith, Ethel Waters, Snake Hips Tucker, Peg Leg Bates and a 16-year-old Lena Horne all performed at the Club.

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