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  Duke Ellington's Sophisticated Ladies Reviews
Duke Ellington's Sophisticated Ladies
Duke Ellington's Sophisticated Ladies

Duke Ellington's Sophisticated Ladies
Porchlight Music Theatre at Ruth Page Center For Arts
Thru - Mar 6, 2020

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Porchlight Music Theatre at Ruth Page Center For Arts

  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune- Highly Recommended

"...Since it was penned for Broadway, "Sophisticated Ladies" is not a small-cast revue. No, siree. This fast-paced, just-can't-stop production features a cast of 15 singers and dancers, plus seven musicians, for a total company numbering 22, as led by the impeccably suave Donterrio Johnson with an assist from Lorenzo Rush, Jr. The dance is energetically eclectic, but one of the central metaphors in play here is the idea of this being a big company hidden inside a jewel-box theater, spilling out from the wings and uncoiling not far from your seat, even as Hill massages the keys in his white suit. The costumes range from full-on flapper gear to droll metaphoric jokes to suave evening wear. The designer, Theresa Ham, unspools a riot of color and the company makes sure it never remains still."
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Chris Jones

Chicago Reader- Highly Recommended

"...Every song in the revue tells an elaborate story rich in detailed characters, the transitions between songs adding layers on layers. Some are entire scenes, such as "Ko-Ko" which features an edge-of-your-seat poker game where the mighty Lorenzo Rush Jr. eventually swaggers off with the loot. As is only fitting, because when Rush scats, it's pure money."
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Catey Sullivan

Stage and Cinema- Highly Recommended

"...It's two hours of sterling showbiz, the hottest night a winter ever asked for. As the once and future Duke said, whether composing, performing, or just enjoying, listening is everything to making music matter. You'll be well rewarded at the Ruth Page Center for doing just that."
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Lawrence Bommer

Let's Play at ChicagoNow- Highly Recommended

"...Sophisticated Ladies is a musical thrill ride complete with exceptional dance performances that will have you tapping and doing the Lindy Hop in your seats."
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Rick and Brenda McCain

Around The Town Chicago- Highly Recommended

"...Sometimes we put productions into the wrong frame of mind and classify it as something other than a theatrical production, maybe more of a concert. Well, in spite of the current Porchlight Music Theatre's "Duke Ellington's Sophisticated Ladies" not having a true script, but more of a conceptual production, I must classify this show as a "theatrical production". The concept by Donald McHayle is based on the music of Mr. Ellington and the era in which it was appreciated."
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Alan Bresloff

NewCity Chicago- Highly Recommended

"...Since I never know what to expect from a revue, this show was surprising in so many ways. From the variety of dance and musical styles to the always present big band, "Duke Ellington" gives the Duke a commendation worthy of his talent. And to us it gives an evening of toe-tapping bliss."
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Amanda Finn

WTTW- Highly Recommended

"...Note to Broadway (and other commercial producers), wherever you may be: A knockout revival of “Sophisticated Ladies” – the musical revue of Duke Ellington classics originally conceived by Donald McKayle and only rarely revived since its Broadway debut in 1981 – is now burning up the stage of the Ruth Page Center for the Arts courtesy of a Porchlight Music Theatre production that could easily be airlifted onto a New York stage without a single alteration."
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Hedy Weiss

Chicago Theatre Review- Highly Recommended

"...Artistic Director Michael Weber must be bursting with pride. Everyone connected with this ravishing, radiant musical revue should start dusting off their shelves right now, because there's bound to be a slew of honors and awards bestowed upon this talented cast and crew come next Fall. Here in Chicago, at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts, is an absolute must-see, Broadway caliber production that will warm these cold winter nights with the delectable music of Duke Ellington. Hit Me With a Hot Note, indeed!"
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Colin Douglas Highly Recommended

"...Sophisticated Ladies is amazing, especially with the old-fashioned demands Ellington music places on these young performers. With just over two hours (one intermission) you will feel a special affection for your favorites in the intimate space of the Ruth Page Auditorium."
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Bill Esler

The Fourth Walsh- Highly Recommended

"...Porchlight Music Theatre struck gold... again!!! SOPHISTICATED LADIES is the Duke's treasure! This phenomenal musical treat is the perfect night out for hipsters to oldsters. Anyone's experience will make them feel like "I'm Just A Lucky So and So.""
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Katy Walsh

Chicagoland Musical Theatre- Highly Recommended

"...The season is not over yet, but Porchlight's Sophisticated Ladies may have just set the record for most showstoppers in one evening. Three in the first act alone, by my count."
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Patrick O'Brien

Third Coast Review- Highly Recommended

"...Can there be a show stopper when the show never stops? Porchlight Music Theatre's production of Duke Ellington's Sophisticated Ladies sings, dances and plays its way through the king of all's greatest hits, at a furious pace that left the opening night audience exhilarated and almost a little exhausted."
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Bob Benenson

Chicago Theater and Arts- Highly Recommended

"...A "Salute to the Duke" with concept by Donald McKayle, direction and choreography by Brenda Didier and Florence Walker Harris, "Sophisticated Ladies" celebrates Porchlight's 25th Anniversary Mainstage season by taking the big jazz band era of the Duke to new heights."
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Mira Temkin

PicksInSix- Highly Recommended

"...Musical director Jermaine Hill rips up the score with a seven-piece band from his lofty perch at a swanky white grand piano. The gleaming, split-level Angela Weber Miller set, with Teresa Ham's gorgeous 1920's glam, fill the Ruth Page Center stage and massive stairways on either side leading to the bandstand above with color to match the rich and supple tones of the "Duke.""
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Ed Tracy

Picture This Post- Highly Recommended

"...The crowd is buzzing on opening night. The Ruth Page Center for the Arts is absolutely packed as these theatre goers wait to step inside the theatre. Looking at the stage we're taken to the Golden Age of Jazz, with art deco accents and a portrait of The Duke himself hanging on the wall. We're introduced to the band on stage as they begin to play - the bassist, the brass, the drummer, and the reeds. Then, out steps the man of the hour to take the place at the piano in lieu of Ellington himself, Jermaine Hall. SOPHISTICATED LADIES kicks off with a bang, and keeps the energy flowing the whole show."
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Alexis Bugajski