The Sedona International Film Festival concludes its "Direct from Broadway" series with the big-screen debut of Duke Ellington's "Sophisticated Ladies", premiering Dec. 13-14. The production premieres in high definition at the Mary D. Fisher Theatre.
The recently restored and remastered recordings of the Tony Award-winning Duke Ellington's "Sophisticated Ladies" are being exhibited on the big screen for the first time. The production features the Duke Ellington Orchestra under the direction of Mercer Ellington and a knockout cast that includes Grammy-winner Phyllis Hyman and 3-time Tony-winner, Hinton Battle. An all-star score celebrates the Duke with "Take the "A" Train," "I'm Beginning to See the Light," "Hit Me With a Hot Note and Watch Me Bounce," "It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)," "In a Sentimental Mood," "Sophisticated Lady," "Don't Get Around Much Anymore," "Satin Doll" and "I Got It Bad and That Ain't Good," among many others.
In his review for The New York Times, Frank Rich wrote that "...the new musical revue at the Lunt-Fontanne, is an [Duke] Ellington celebration that just won't quit until it has won over the audience with dynamic showmanship...it rides so high on affection, skill and, of course, stunning music that the lapses don't begin to spoil the fun. What's more, this is the only Broadway revue of recent vintage that operates on a truly grand scale."
"Sophisticated Ladies" played Broadway's Lunt-Fontanne Theatre for some 800 performances and was nominated for eight Tony Awards® including Best Musical, and won two: Hinton Battle as Best Featured Actor in a Musical and Willa Kim for Best Costume Design.
Mercer Ellington, Duke's son, conducted the Duke Ellington Orchestra which featured many of the original members who played with Duke but who came back for the Broadway musical. Mercer was not the only Ellington involved. His daughter Mercedes was in the original chorus and was the dance captain and assistant choreographer.
Duke Ellington's "Sophisticated Ladies" will be shown at the Mary D. Fisher Theatre on Friday, Dec. 13 at 4 and 7 p.m. and on Saturday, Dec. 14 at 1 p.m. Tickets are $15, or $12.50 for Film Festival members. Tickets are available in advance at the Sedona International Film Festival office or by calling (928) 282-1177. Both the theatre and film festival office are located at 2030 W. 89A, in West Sedona. For more information, visit: www.SedonaFilmFestival.org.