Because everything old is new again, and the Magic Lantern has added the technology to support bringing it back in grand style, the Thursday Night at the Lantern party continues Thursday, Jan. 9, at 7 p.m. with a revisit to the glamour of the Jazz Age and the 1940s Swing Era with a special presentation of a Broadway performance of “Duke Ellington’s Sophisticated Ladies.”
According to the history books, Duke Ellington was born in Washington, D.C., to a musical family and began his own career by age 15. In the 1920s he began conducting a band of masterful musicians while he played a grand piano.
His band played exclusively at the world-famous Cotton Club during the late ’20s and spent decades touring the world. Though Ellington’s music was classified as part of the jazz genre, he called it “original American” and set the bar for generations of jazz, pop, theater and soundtrack composers to come.
“Sophisticated Ladies” opened on Broadway in 1981 and ran for almost 800 shows. The musical revue offered a fabulous cast of predominately African-American singers and dancers who captured the excitement and sparkle of the Ellington sound as well as the era’s spectacular dancing styles.
Some of the most memorable numbers are “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing),” “Mood Indigo,” “The A-Train,” “Satin Doll,” and “In a Mellotone.”
“Sophisticated Ladies” was filmed (and recently remastered) at a 1982 show at the Lunt-Fontanne Theater on Broadway and is only being released in theaters for a limited time.
Tickets are $10 for Sun Valley Center for the Arts members and $12 for nonmembers, and can be purchased at the Magic Lantern box office, which opens at 3 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday.
The show is part of the Magic Lantern’s ongoing special events series hosted with The Center, which features Broadway shows and concerts, unique films and documentaries and classic films sponsored by the Magic Lantern Film Society.