Sophisticated Ladies, the Duke Ellington musical
by Zach Theatre

Jul. 15 - Aug. 23, 2015


Sophisticated Ladies is a musical revue based on the music of Duke Ellington. The musical ran on Broadway in 1981.

In his review for The New York Times, Frank Rich wrote that " ...the new musical revue at the Lunt-Fontanne, is an Ellington celebration that just won't quit until it has won over the audience with dynamic showmanship. It's not a perfect entertainment - let's save the flaws for later - but 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."[2]

image from the RCA Victor cast recording

ZACH Theatre announces the full cast of Sophisticated Ladies the Duke Ellington musical review starring Broadway’s original Dreamgirl, Jennifer Holliday.

ZACH Theatre Associate Artistic Director ABE REYBOLD will direct the musical in the Topfer Theatre on the Karen Kuykendall stage July 15, 2015 – August 23, 2015. A full onstage orchestra backs superb jazz vocalists, extraordinary tap dancers, dazzling deco costumes, and unforgettable torch singers who bring classics like “Mood Indigo,” Take the A Train,” “It Don’t Mean A Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)” to vivid life in this grand Tony Award-winning Broadway musical.

Joining Jennifer Holliday (Dreamgirls) will be KENNY WILLIAMS (A Christmas Carol, The Gospel At Colonus) as The Raconteur; BRIAN WHITTED as The Hipster; CHANEL HAYNES-SCHWARTZ as The Soubrette; J.P. QUalters as The Jazzbo; BRANDON O’NEAL as The Danseur; AFRA HINES as The Danseuse.

Ensemble members include Jennifer Young Mahlstedt (The Who’s Tommy), Alana Maderal (The King and I) Christa Oliver (The Gospel At Colonus), Karly Powell, Jackie Strubberg, Leslie Hethcox, Michael J. Love, Tony Merriwether, Matthew Shields, Phil Young, Tommieleee Crutcher, and Dainique Jones.

ZACH Theatre’s Associate Artistic Director, Abe Reybold (The King and I, The Three Little Pigs) will direct Sophisticated Ladies with choreography by tapper and dancer Dominique Kelley of Broadway shows Wicked; Hot Feet; Bring in ‘da Noise, Bring in ‘da Funk; and Wild Women Blues.

Musical Director will be Allen Robertson (A Christmas Carol, The Gospel At Colonus, Peter and the Starcatcher) and will be joined by Set Designer J. Aaron Bell (The Three Little Pigs), Properties Designer Scott Groh (Peter and the Starcatcher, In The Next Room, The Who’s Tommy)

 Lighting Designer Michelle Habeck, Sound Designer Craig Brock, Costume Designer Susan Branch Towne (The Who’s Tommy, The Gospel At Colonus, A Christmas Carol), and Stage Managers Cate Tucker and Shannon Richey.

Sophisticated Ladies features a concept by Donald McKayle, based on the music of Duke Ellington with music and dance arrangements by Lloyd Mayers and vocal arrangements by Malcolm Dodds and Lloyd Mayers. VISA and Documation are the Title Sponsor’s of ZACH’s production of Sophisticated Ladies. Executive Producers are Carla Tyson and Bill Dickson, and the Producer is Annette Renaud.

Sophisticated Ladies, the Duke Ellington musical
by Donald McKayle
Zach Theatre

July 15 - August 23, 2015
Zach Theatre
1510 Toomey Road
Austin, TX, 78704

Tuesdays or Wednesdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., Sundays at 2:30 p.m.


Special events in celebration of Sophisticated Ladies include:

• Press Night: Saturday, July 18, 2015. Please RSVP to 

• GLBT Wilde Party Night: Thursday, July 16, 2015

• Champagne Opening Night: Thursday, July 23, 2015 

• Z Lounge: Pre-show musical entertainment in the Topfer Theatre’s Main Lounge.

Tickets start at $25 and are available online at, by phone at 512-476-0541 ext. 1, or in person at the ZACH Theatre Box Office, in the Topfer Theatre, 202 South Lamar Blvd. (corner of Riverside Drive and South Lamar Blvd.) Monday through Saturday, 12 noon – 7 p.m. 

ZACH Theatre is wheelchair accessible. Discounts are available for groups of 8 or more. 

Student Rush Tickets are $18 one hour before show time (with valid ID).