If You Love Ella, You’ll Love Ella!
At the Capital Rep,Albany, NY
“If it’s at the Capital Rep, it’s got to be good.”
“The asked me if I could sing the blues.
Of course I could sing the blues.
I lived the blues.
I just didn’t want to wallow in them.”
Ella. A name so familiar, we really don’t even have to add the last name. There can be only one.
Ella, the music medley of Ella Fitzgerald, the First Lady of Song, debuted at the Capital Rep July 24th to a sold out crowd. The crowd came to see one dynamo by the name of Ms. Tina Fabrique, a veteran Broadway singer, and to hear her pour her heart and soul into our collective memory of one of America’s most iconic female jazz and blues performers. And Ms. Tina, as she likes to be called, brought the crowd to not one—but three--standing ovations, in what promises to be one of the leading bio plays of the year. She did not act alone, of course, and was accompanied by an extremely competent quartet of musicians, including Ron Haynes, one of the best trumpeters we’ve ever heard. Haynes also co-counsels as Louis Armstrong in a duet with Ms. Tina, adding his own touch of deep and guttural bass to the performance.
Ms. Tina Fabrique celebrating post performance
opening night at Capital Rep.
Photo by Richard DiMaggio
Ella Fitzgerald was born April 25, 1917, in Newport News, Virginia. She had a voice that could climb all octaves like a staircase, and bring it together with the blues, jazz, scatting, and any type of sultry romantic music they’d give her. She recorded over 200 albums and 2,000 songs, and worked with such greats as Louis Armstrong, Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, Duke Ellington and more, earning 13 Grammy awards along the way. She was always self conscious of her appearance and her weight, but always overcame the insecurities once on stage. Her life from humble beginnings was not without difficulty, and Ms. Tina switches from monologue to song at the drop of a hat, matching song to story, sadness to happiness, with such accuracy and inflection, you hope the real Ella is sitting in the back row listening.
All was not peace and happiness in the life of this star, as fame and fortune took her far away from home and family. Having a career of stardom did take its toll. Ella wanted a child, but couldn’t have one, so her sister let her raise Ray, Jr. But parenthood, like relationships, did not come easy for Ella. “I had trouble. What came so naturally to some mothers remained a mystery to me.” Ella was gone so much, Ray, Jr., was raised by a nanny and would say, “Look, mom, there’s Aunt Ella on t.v.”.
Her complete and official biography can be found here:
Ella ultimately succumbed to diabetes in 1996.
Ella Fitzgerald was a legend, long before the world accepted her as one. Ms. Tina brings her life and music to Capital Rep. This woman can sing—good heavens, can this woman sing. She sings all the greats, including How High the Moon, Love and Kisses, A-Tisket, A-Tasket, Old Black Magic and more. Each showcase song, complete with glorious scatting, is tightly intertwined with scenes and monologues about Ella’s life.
I’ve always said, “If it’s at the Capital Rep, it’s got to be good.” Ella is no exception. If you love Ella, you’ll love Ella.
–by Richard DiMaggio
Book by Jeffrey Hatcher
Conceived by Rob Ruggiero and Dyke Garrison