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'Sophisticated Ladies' coming to CSUEB stage


Left to right: Ria Aberin, Reggie White, and Caitlin O'Leary.

  • February 19, 2009

Duke Ellington's high-stepping world of jazz and dance will come to life on the Hayward Campus of Cal State East Bay in March when the university's Theatre and Dance Department collaborates with the Music Department on a rousing, music lover's rendition of Sophisticated Ladies in the University Theatre, 25800 Carlos Bee Blvd.

The curtain rises at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, March 6-7 and 13-14, and 2 p.m. for Sunday matinees March 8 and 15.

The show will celebrate the musical legacy of "The Duke" in a stylish, brassy retrospective inspired by the glamorous nightlife and sensuous highlife of a man who lived to love.

Theatre and Dance faculty members Darryl V. Jones (director) and Laura Ellis (choreographer)
collaborate with musical director Daniel Lockhert and jazz director Johannes Wallmann, who are members of the Music Department faculty.

"I chose Sophisticated Ladies," said Jones, "because I wanted to celebrate and share the rich musical legacy left by Duke Ellington with a younger audience, and I wanted to collaborate with our university's strong jazz program and Wallmann, the head of the jazz ensembles."

Thomas Hird, chair of the Theatre and Dance Department, said: "While jazz has stormed the world in modern times, America is its birthplace. American musicians and composers, like Ellington, stand out on the family tree."

Jones noted that jazz grew from ring shouts, spirituals and the blues, and led to rock ‘n roll. In fact, without jazz, there would be no rock ‘n roll, according to the professor of theatre and dance..

Show songs include "I've Got It Bad (and That Ain't Good)," "Mood Indigo," "In a Sentimental Mood" and "I'm Beginning to See the Light." Dance numbers will feature the "Shuffle," the "Cake Walk," the "Charleston," the "Jitterbug" and "Hip-Hop."

Tickets are $14 general admission; $12 for youth, seniors and alumni; and $8 for CSUEB students. Tickets can be reserved online at or by calling (510) 885-3118.

The Friends of the Arts, a fundraising auxiliary to Cal State East Bay arts programs, invites the public to a Duke Ellington Jazz Reception at 6 p.m. in the University Theatre lobbyl on opening night, March 6. Tickets at $40 per person for the reception and show may be reserved by calling (510) 885-3118 before 1 p.m. weekdays. Proceeds will go towards scholarships for Cal State East Bay arts students.

CSUEB welcomes persons with disabilities and will provide reasonable accommodation upon request. Please notify event sponsor at (510) 885-3118 well in advance if accommodation is needed.

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