Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Duke Ellington Week 2011 Events in NY, April 25-30

The Duke Ellington Center for the Arts is celebrating National Jazz Appreciation Month with a special week of events from April 25-30, 2011.

Monday, April 25, at 7:30 PM
30th Anniversary Sophisticated Ladies Original Cast Reunion
A 30th Anniversary Reunion Performance of the Original 1981 Broadway production of the Ellington-themed musical “Sophisticated Ladies” will be presented at Birdland, 315 W. 44th St. in New York. The musical ran 767 performances at the Lunt-Fontanne Theater and featured Duke Ellington’s music. Many of the original cast members, including Mercedes Ellington, will perform at this reunion. Other original cast members performing include: Tye Stephens, Adrian Bailey, P.J. Benjamin, Hinton Battle, Val Pettiford, Terri Klausner, Winonna Smith, Ken Hanson, Priscilla Baskerville, Michael Lichtefeld, Faruma (“Woody”) Williams, Paula Lynn-Wagner and Bruce Heath. As with all Ellington musicals, the show features an on-stage orchestra. The cover charge is $40. Call Birdland at 212-581-3080 for reservations, which are required.

Thursday, April 28, at 9:00 PM
Ellington Eve Birthday Countdown Concert
Swing 46 Jazz & Supper Club
349 West 46th Street
Hosted at Swing 46—one of New York’s finest Jazz clubs, complete with a dance floor—The Blue Millennium Orchestra invites musicians far and wide to join them in heralding Duke Ellington’s 112th birthday in the heart of Manhattan’s theater district. The Orchestra features original Ellington alumni Patience Higgins and James Zollar on reeds and trumpet. Christopher Cherney, Director of Music Education at The Duke Ellington Center, directs the ensemble from the piano. The performance begins at 9 PM and culminates with a New-Years-Eve-style countdown to the Maestro’s birthday at midnight. At midnight, all attending musicians will be asked to get out their instruments so everyone can play “Take the A-Train” together. Mr. Cherney and the Blue Millennium Orchestra have been involved with the development and presentation of several of Ellington’s larger scale works—the suites “A Drum is a Woman” and “Such Sweet Thunder.” There will be extended excerpts from both of these little known masterpieces. The cover charge is $20, instrumentalists arriving after 11pm for the Midnight Jam will be charged $10.

Friday, April 29, at 1:00 PM
Duke Ellington Day Concert at The Duke Ellington Memorial
Fifth Avenue and 110th Street
Focusing public attention on the importance of music and arts programs in public schools, the highlight of Duke Ellington Week is a FREE musical Tribute Concert in front of the Duke Ellington Memorial Statue at the northeast corner of Central Park (110th Street and 5th Avenue)—the Gateway to Harlem.

Several school jazz bands, including The Middle School Jazz Academy of Jazz at Lincoln Center, and the PS 345 Concert Band from Brooklyn, as well as Christopher Cherney’s Blue Millenium Orchestra will perform. Guest artists, including Darby Dizard and the Dance Times Square Jitterbuggers will round out the program featuring Ellington favorites. During a rousing Finale, all 60 participating musicians will join together to perform the Duke Ellington standard, “Satin Doll.” FREE: No Admission Charge

Saturday, April 30, at 5:00 PM
Duke Ellington at Woodlawn
The Woolworth Chapel • Woodlawn Cemetery • The Bronx
Duke Ellington died on May 24, 1974, and—like most of New York’s Jazz Greats—was laid to rest at Woodlawn Cemetery in The Bronx. To commemorate his birthday, Woodlawn and The Duke Ellington Center will present a special concert of all-Ellington music. The concert will take place in The Woolworth Chapel at Woodlawn, and feature two vocalists and a four piece band under the direction of Tommy James. The concert will be introduced by Mercedes Ellington who will also present excerpts from Duke Ellington’s vast repertoire of moving poetry.

Admission: $20
Reservations required.
Please contact Woodlawn at 718-920-1470.

Other Articles by Lia Chang:
Multimedia: Mine Eyes Have Seen The Glory: From Douglass to Deliverance Opening Night Photos: Andre De Shields, Mercedes Ellington
House of Payne’s Denise Burse on the 2011 NAACP Image Awards & Season 7; “Shout Out” Episode airs on TBS
Marva Hicks and the Columbus Jazz Orchestra light up the Southern Theatre with “A Night at the Apollo”
Photos: David Duchovny, John Earl Jelks, Amanda Peet,Tracee Chimo opening night of Neil LaBute’s The Break of Noon
Ruby Dee, Alicia Keys, Sidney Poitier among honorees at Woodie King, Jr.’s New Federal Theatre’s 40th Anniversary Gala at Edison Ballroom on May 22
André De Shields stars in Chicago Premiere of Charles Smith’s The Gospel According to James at Victory Gardens 5/14-6/12
32nd Annual Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Festival at Union Square Park in NYC on May 8, 2011
Vikas Khanna’s Holy Kitchens Karma to Nirvana premieres at New York Indian Film Festival on 5/7 at Tribeca Cinemas
11th Annual New York Indian Film Festival (NYIFF), May 4-8, 2011
Video: Aroon Shivdasani interviews The Waiting City’s Samrat Chakrabarti at the 10th Annual Mahindra Indo-American Arts Council (MIAAC) Film Festival
Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s 30th Annual Sakura Matsuri Cherry Blossom Festival: April 30 and May 1, 2011
Will Calhoun to Interview Bernie Worrell at ASCAP’s “I Create Music” Expo on April 30 in L.A.
KPFK 90.7: Inaugural Hero Awards & Tribute Benefit Awards Series Honoring Jazz Musician Billy Higgins on 5/1
Foremost American Taiko Artist, Kenny Endo, to perform in Tokyo on April 24 and April 30
Video: Denise Burse as Claretha Jenkins on House of Payne
Up Close and Personal with Darren Pettie, Star of The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore
Vikas Khanna’s Holy Kitchens Karma to Nirvana premieres at New York Indian Film Festival on 5/7 at Tribeca Cinemas
32nd Annual Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Festival at Union Square Park in NYC on May 8, 2011
11th Annual New York Indian Film Festival (NYIFF), May 4-8, 2011
Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s 30th Annual Sakura Matsuri Cherry Blossom Festival: April 30 and May 1, 2011
Join Minami Tamaki LLP & Inspirational Opportunities for Youth and Seniors (IOYS) in Helping Victims of Japan Earthquake
The Dish on Susur Lee and Shang
Photos and Video of Kenny Endo’s TAIKO THUNDER at Skirball Center in NYC
Photos & Video Disney’s The Lion King Las Vegas-In the Makeup Chair with Thom Sesma
Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive.


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All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2011 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2011 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com.

Lia Chang Photo by Brianne Michelle Photography

Lia Chang Photo by Brianne Michelle Photography


Lia Chang is an actor, performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multimedia journalist.

As a photographer and videographer, Lia collaborates with artists, organizations and companies in establishing their documentary photo archive and social media presence. She has been documenting her colleagues and contemporaries in the arts, fashion and journalism since making her stage debut as Liat in the National Tour of South Pacific, with Robert Goulet and Barbara Eden. Lia currently plays Nurse Lia on “One Life to Live”. She has appeared in Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and “New York Undercover”.

Selections of Lia’s archive of Asian Pacific Americans in the arts, fashion, journalism, politics and space are now in the newly created LIA CHANG THEATER PHOTOGRAPHY PORTFOLIO in the ASIAN PACIFIC AMERICAN PERFORMING ARTS COLLECTION housed in the Library of Congress Asian Division’s Asian American Pacific Islander Collection.

Lia’s portraits and performance photos have appeared in Vanity Fair, Gourmet, German Elle, Women’s Wear Daily, The Paris Review, TV Guide, Daily Variety, Interior Design, American Theatre, Broadwayworld.com, Life & Style, OUT, New York Magazine, InStyle, Timeout.com, Villagevoice.com, Playbill.com, Theatermania.com, thelmagazine.com, The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, USA Today, The Boston Globe, New York Times and Washington Post. A former syndicated arts and entertainment columnist for KYODO News, Lia is the New York Bureau Chief for AsianConnections.com. She writes about culture, style and Asian American issues for a variety of publications and this Backstage Pass with Lia Chang blog.

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