The “Echoes of the Cotton Club” spring radio show re-creation at Western Carolina University will start preproduction Wednesday, Feb. 26, with a visit to campus by Ellington. President of the Duke Ellington Center for the Arts in New York City, Mercedes is the granddaughter of music legend Duke Ellington, a bandleader at the Cotton Club nightclub in Harlem on which the show, an original production written by WCU’s Don Connelly, is based.
She will be on campus working with singers, dancers and musicians preparing for the radio show. The presentation will also feature performances of Duke Ellington’s greatest hits by the Catamount Singers and Electric Soul.
“Echoes of the Cotton Club” is the sixth in a series of academic-based entertainment projects mounted in collaboration with four departments and three colleges at WCU. Each of the shows in the series hearkens back to the golden age of radio, featuring a live orchestra and sound effects, and performed only once before a live audience. “Echoes of the Cotton Club” will be at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 24, in the John C. Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $10 and proceeds will benefit scholarships in participating academic departments. The group’s first five shows have raised nearly $25,000 for student scholarships.
Tickets for “Echoes of the Cotton Club” are available by calling 828.227.2479 or at www.bardoartscenter.wcu.edu. The Feb. 28 presentation is free and open to the public.