Sophisticated Ladies
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Sophisticated Ladies

Newark, New Jersey, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2015

Newark, New Jersey, United States
Established on Jan, 2015
Band Jazz Jazz



The best kept secret in music


"Pure Sophistication"

Pure Sophistication

Posted: Friday, April 2, 2010 12:00 am | Updated: 5:36 pm, Wed Jun 2, 2010.


THE VILLAGES — When A. Curtis Farrow was younger, he used to sneak into a Broadway theater to catch “Sophisticated Ladies,” which featured the talents of Gregory Hines, Judith Jamison and Phyllis Hyman.

“To see them was extraordinary,” Farrow said. “I said, ‘When I have my own theater company, I’m going to do that (show), and here we are.”

Farrow’s Irving Street Rep. brought to life “Sophisticated Ladies,” featuring the music of Duke Ellington, during performances Monday through Wednesday night at Savannah Center as part of the Broadway Series.

Backed by a six-piece band, the nine-member cast, featuring Derrick Baker, Ron Lucas, Watkins Smith Jr., Calvin Booker, Sondra Bonitto, Carolyn Harding and Larry Stephen Hines, put some of that swing into such classics as “I’ve Got to Be a Rug Cutter,” “Love You Madly,” “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing),” “Bli-Blip” and “Take the ‘A’ Train.”

Baker, Hines, Smith and Booker also tapped their feet to the beat on a few songs, with a few acrobatic moves thrown in for good measure.

“The story is Duke Ellington, his sophistication and his music,” Farrow said.

Irving Street Rep. has been putting on “Sophisticated Ladies” for the past seven years, but this particular tour has been on the road for a couple of months.

“The one thing about ‘Sophisticated Ladies’ is it gives each performer the opportunity to perform at the highest level possible,” Farrow said.

Farrow’s love of Ellington first grew thanks to his parents and grandparents.

“I was raised in a musical family,” Farrow said. “You’re given the sensibility of understanding genius.”

At the age of 7, Farrow caught the performing bug.

“My grandmother put on shows,” Darrow said. “I really didn’t have a choice at the time. I liked it. I was blessed with talent.”

As for Hines, he had performed in the European tour of “Sophisticated Ladies,” which featured Freda Payne on vocals.

“It’s wonderful music,” Hines said. “You can feel the music going through you. That’s why I love this show.”

He learned the ways of singing, dancing and acting, doing this professionally for the past 20 years.

“I’m a triple threat,” he said.

He studied drama at the Ward Acting Studio, the Herbert Bergohof Studio and the Maryland Academy of Dramatic Arts. With singing, he studied under Jack Wadell and Lola Hayes; and with dancing he studied at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, among other places.

“I got auditions, and I got lucky,” Hines said. “I love making people happy. It’s fun to tour and meet new people.

“A small percentage of people (go into the arts) and make a living. It’s something you’ve worked hard for.”

Michael Fortuna is a reporter with the Daily Sun. He can be reached at 753-1119, ext. 9234, or
- Savannah


Still working on that hot first release.



SOPHISTICATED LADIES highlights the music of the great Duke Ellington. From his days in the Cotton Club to his jazz suites this review is packed with audience favorites. Envisioned as a musical portrait of Duke Ellington, Sophisticated Ladies opened at the Lunt Fontanne Theatre in New York on March 1, 1981. Gregory Hines, Judith Jamison, Hinton Battle and Gregg Burge were among the original stellar cast. Act I takes us through the early stages of Ellingtons growth as a major musical force, from the Cotton Club era through his travels here and abroad. Act II takes us on a more personal journey, exploring the private man as captured in his music.

Born Edward Kennedy Ellington in 1899, in Washington, D.C. He formed a band in 1918 and became nationally famous while appearing in Harlem nightclubs. His orchestra, playing his own often complex compositions, made many innovations in the jazz idiom. Ellington's compositions include Solitude and Mood Indigo as well as such long concert works as Black, Brown, and Beige .

Ellington possessed a social elegance and gift of articulate verbal expression that inspired respect. He was the only jazz musician to receive an honorary degree from Columbia University and was also the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. SOPHISTICATED LADIES brings the suave love you madly world of the great Duke Ellington to life with over 20 classics including Satin Doll, Take the A Train and It Dont Mean A Thing, If It Aint Got That Swing. A crowd pleaser for all sophisticated ladies and gents and a great way to mark the hundredth anniversary of his birth