AUDITORIUM THEATRE HONORS CENTENNIALS OF ELLA FITZGERALD AND LENA HORNE WITH CELEBRATED CHICAGO VOCALISTS JOAN CURTO, E. FAYE BUTLER, BECKIE MENZIE, TAMMY MCCANN, PAUL MARINARO, AND MORE
On November 17, 2017, the Auditorium Theatre and popular Chicago vocalist Joan Curto celebrate the legacies and centennials of vocal icons Ella Fitzgerald and Lena Horne with Ella & Lena: The Ladies and Their Music, an evening created and directed by Curto. This one-night-only performance features Chicago favorites E. Faye Butler, Beckie Menzie, Tammy McCann, Paul Marinaro, Tom Michael, Sophie Grimm, Rich Daniels and the City Lights Orchestra, and Curto herself.
The evening includes songs that each woman truly made her own, from “Stormy Weather” to “Oh, Lady Be Good.” The big-band celebration will be conducted by Rich Daniels and the City Lights Orchestra.
“We look forward to honoring the incredible legacies of Ella Fitzgerald and Lena Horne, two powerful performers and inspiring activists, on our historic stage,” says Tania Castroverde Moskalenko, Auditorium Theatre CEO. “The talented cast, featuring some of Chicago’s greatest jazz and cabaret performers, will bring the ladies’ classic songs to life.”
The evening highlights connections between Fitzgerald and Horne and ties in their relationships to the city of Chicago. Both women performed numerous times at the Chicago nightclub Chez Paree, and Fitzgerald recorded one of her most successful albums, Live at Mr. Kelley’s, at the famous club of the same name.
“It’s thrilling to honor the lives and music of Ella and Lena with such an accomplished group of artists on a stage with the history and beauty of the Auditorium Theatre,” says Curto.
About the Performers
E. Faye Butler is an accomplished actress and singer who has performed around the world to international acclaim. She is the recipient of six Joseph Jefferson Awards and two Helen Hayes Awards. She currently is appearing in the acclaimed all-female version of The Taming of the Shrew at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater, and is nominated for a Jeff Award for her performance as Matron Mama Morton in Drury Lane Theatre’s 2017 production of Chicago.
Joan Curto is a vocalist who has appeared across the nation in concerts and clubs, often celebrating the music of the Great American Songbook. She has performed in many Chicago theatres and clubs, including the Auditorium Theatre (where she produced a birthday tribute to Cole Porter in 2016 and performed in Lush Life: The Music of Billy Strayhorn in 2015), the Harris Theater, and Victory Gardens Theater. She is the recipient of the Chicago After Dark Award for Outstanding Cabaret Artist.
Rich Daniels is the founder of the City Lights Orchestra, a highly sought-after 45-piece ensemble that has performed with musicians including Ray Charles, Mel Torme, Dionne Warwick, Paul McCartney, and more.
Sophie Grimm is a vocalist and actor whose credits include Mom in the Writers Theatre production of TREVOR the musical and Desdemona in Othello: The Remix at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and the Globe. She also has performed across the country in jazz, cabaret, and concert settings.
Paul Marinaro is a jazz vocalist who has performed venues including the Green Mill, Andy’s Jazz Club, and the Chicago Jazz Festival in Millennium Park. Marinaro’s performances have been named among the best of the year in the Chicago Tribune numerous times. In 2013, he released his acclaimed debut album Without a Song.
Tammy McCann is an internationally recognized jazz vocalist who has performed with luminaries including Ramsey Lewis, Dee Dee Bridgewater, and Ray Charles. McCann has thrilled audiences around the world at venues such as the Blue Note, Carnegie Hall, and the Green Mill.
Beckie Menzie is a pianist and vocalist who has appeared on some of the nation’s top stages, including Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall. She performs regularly with Tom Michael, and as a duo they are recipients of Chicago After Dark’s Outstanding Cabaret Artist Award. She is the musical director for Ella & Lena: The Ladies and Their Music.
Tom Michael is a vocalist who regularly performs with his musical partner Beckie Menzie, and as a duo they are recipients of Chicago After Dark’s Outstanding Cabaret Artist Award. He has appeared on stages including Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall in New York and the Empire Room, the Auditorium Theatre, and the Pritzker Pavilion in Chicago.
THE WALSH GROUP – Performance Sponsor
DUSABLE MUSEUM OF AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY – Community Partner
Friday, November 17 | 7:30PM
Tickets start at $29 and are available online at AuditoriumTheatre.org, by phone at 312.341.2300, or in person at the Auditorium Theatre Box Office (50 E Congress Parkway). Ella & Lena: The Ladies and Their Music may be added to the Auditorium Theatre’s Select Your Own subscription, discounted at 20-25%. Discounts available for groups of 10+.
Auditorium Theatre’s 2017-18 Season Upcoming Performances
October 18-29: The Joffrey Ballet – Giselle
October 30: Hillary Clinton Live
November 1: David Sedaris
November 4: Pedro Fernández
November 12: A Golden Celebration of Dance
November 17: Ella & Lena: The Ladies and Their Music
November 18: The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses
November 21: Mayday
About The Auditorium Theatre
The Auditorium Theatre, located at 50 E Congress Pkwy in Chicago, is an Illinois, not-for-profit organization committed to presenting the finest in international, cultural, community, and educational programming to all of Chicago and beyond as The Theatre for the People. The organization also is committed to the continued restoration and preservation of the National Historic Landmark.
The Auditorium Theatre 2017-18 Season is made possible in part with support from the MacArthur Foundation and the Palmer House Hilton. Michigan Avenue is the official magazine sponsor. For more information about programming, volunteer, and donor opportunities or theatre tours, call 312.341.2310 or visit AuditoriumTheatre.org. For a complete listing of events at the Auditorium Theatre, please click here.