Singer and actress Freda Payne is set to appear in Ella, First Lady of Song, a musical about jazz vocal legend Ella Fitzgerald, running Aug. 18 through Sept. 11 at the Madison Theatre at Molloy University in Rockville Centre, Long Island, N.Y. The book and direction are by Lee Summers, whose credits include creating and producing From My Hometown, as well as directing and acting in On Kentucky Avenue. Summers collaborated with Maurice Hines to create the musical about Fitzgerald back in 2004, when it first premiered in New Jersey, with a later run in 2018 in Alexandria, Va.
Among the songs performed in the musical are “A-Tisket, A-Tasket,” “Sweet Georgia Brown,” “It Don’t Mean a Thing,” “Oh, Lady Be Good,” and dozens more that were popularized by the influential singer. Co-starring in the musical alongside Payne as Ella are Harriett D. Foy (star of the hit Starz show P-Valley) and Debra Walton (Thoughts of a Colored Man). For tickets and info on the show, visit the Madison Theatre website.