Queenie Pie
Composer: Duke and Maurice Peress Ellington
Librettist: George C. Wolfe
Other Artistic Personnel: Mercer Ellington, Conductor
Original Cast: Original Cast: Queenie, Teresa Burrell; Lil Daddy, Larry Marshall; Cafe O'Lay/Wife No. 1, Patty Lolley; LaVerne/Madame Bouffant/Sun Siren, Lillias White; La Grille/Madame Frenchi Bob/Sentimental Isle Siren, Teresa Bowers; LaRue/Madame Marcell/Island Girl/Sea Siren, Melodee Savage; Mayor/Chief, Ken Prymus; Judge Willie Bo Bo Brown/Sailor/Warrior, Andre Montgomery; others
Premiere Date: September 18, 1986
Producing Company: American Music Theater Festival
Description: After 13 consecutive years as reigning queen of a Harlem beauty contest, Queenie Pie finds herself challenged by the younger, leggier, Cafe O'Lay. Faced with the possibility of defeat, Queenie searches for eternal youth, in an extended dream sequence on a mythical island. On this island, she comes to terms with aging and opens her heart to love. The opera ends with Queenie happily abdicating her crown and going off with Lil Daddy.
Reviews: The New York Times, Jeremy Gerard, 10-1-86; Time, Michael Walsh, 9-29-86; The New York Times, Robert Palmer, 9-22-86; The New York Times, Edward Rothstein, 9-19-86; The New York Times, Robert Palmer, 9-13-86
Comments: Conceived as a one-hour television opera with Ellington as narrator; composed in 1971-74; unfinished; recast, completed, and expanded as a "street opera" by Maurice Peress; other authors are George David Weiss, who supplemented Ellington's lyrics, and Mercer Ellington, the composer's son, who led the orchestra at the premiere. The work was commissioned by WNET's Opera Program; two acts, 16 scenes; set in The Mythical Kingdom of Harlem in Yesteryear; contains comic elements; Ellington is said to have dictated parts of the work as early as 1962; an NEA grant was awarded to Mercer Ellington in 1983 to complete the work.
Length: Length is not available.
Total Acts: Not Available
Orchestration: Duke Ellington-style jazz orchestra
Ballet/Dance: 6 Dancers
Musical Style: Jazz-based; tonal; heartfelt ballads; American recitative-in the form of operatic, scat, and rap styles; some non-Western musical influences
Contact: Famous Music Corporation (or Duke Ellington Archive at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC 202-357-4478)
Address: 10635 Santa Monica Blvd., Suite 300
Los Angeles, CA 90025
Phone: 310-441-1300
Schedule of Performances Listings
Queenie Pie (Ellington)
Saturday, February 15, 2014 - Chicago Opera Theater
Queenie Pie (Ellington)
Sunday, January 26, 2014 - Long Beach Opera
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