André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang

André De Shields to Helm Duke Ellington’s SOPHISTICATED LADIES at NJPAC, March 21 – 24

Crossroads Theatre Company and New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) are presenting a co-production of Duke Ellington’s Sophisticated Ladies at NJPAC, 1 Center Street in Newark, Thursday, March 21 – Sunday, March 24, 2019. Click here to purchase tickets.

André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang
André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang

The high-style music of “The Duke” is the heart and soul of this 1981 Tony-winning Broadway hit, directed with dazzle by André De Shields (The Wiz, Ain’t Misbehavin’, Play On, The Full Monty) and choreographed by Kimberly Schafer.

According to legend, the great bandleader and composer Duke Ellington once told his musicians that they had to play their best because they were about to open in Newark. All those glorious numbers – “Satin Doll,” “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing),” “Cotton Tail,” “Take the A Train” and “Mood Indigo” – return to the city in full swing with the arrival of Duke Ellington’s Sophisticated Ladies, a co-production of NJPAC and Crossroads Theatre Company.

Presented in the year marking the 120th anniversary of Ellington’s birth, Sophisticated Ladies is a first-class excursion back to the heyday of Harlem’s swanky Cotton Club. For this revival, a glamorous cast of singers and dancers performs with an onstage band versed in the tradition of the orchestras of Duke Ellington and his son, Mercer.

The New York Times described the original Sophisticated Ladies as “the only Broadway revue of recent vintage that operates on a truly grand scale.”

Actor and director André De Shields, an Emmy winner and two-time Tony Award nominee, returns to NJPAC, where he directed the successful Ain’t Misbehavin’ in February 2018. In the past, he directed Play On!, another musical celebration of Ellingtonia, at Crossroads Theatre Company. De Shields heads back to Broadway in March as Hermes in Anais Mitchell’s Hadestown at the Walter Kerr.

Performances for Sophisticated Ladies are on Thursday, March 21st @ 7pm, Friday, March 22 @ 7pm, Saturday, March 23rd @ 2pm and 7pm and Sunday, March 24 @ 2pm. Click here to purchase tickets.

Lia Chang
Lia Chang

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers,  musicians and corporations. Lia is also an internationally published and exhibited photographer, a multi-platform journalist, and a publicist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Jade Magazine and

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