My foot won’t stop tapping and the smile hasn’t left my face all day. I’m twirling around my kitchen, singing loudly to my favorite Christmas carols filling the room. After watching the fantastic Ella’s Swinging Christmas: A Tribute to Ella Fitzgerald, produced by WaterTower Theatre (WTT), I am filled with the sweets sounds of holiday cheer – and I can’t get it out of my head!
Ella’s Swinging Christmas stars Feleceia Wilson (Benton), with music supervision by Vonda K. Bowling, and music by Kwinton Gray, KJ Gray and Jackie Whitmill. This one-woman show is now streaming on demand through Jan. 3, 2021, and you don’t want to miss it!
WTT sweetheart and Dallas-native Wilson is wildly entertaining with her unique take on jazz vocalist Ella Fitzgerald’s Swinging Christmas album. She recorded all 18 holiday tracks, with a studio orchestra arranged and conducted by Frank DeVol, with Verve Records. Now, she performs 17 delightful Fitzgerald arrangements for WTT, in the studio’s third digitally captured theatrical piece.
“I’m delighted to present to you our gift of music and yet another program for you to enjoy in the comfort of your home,” said Shane Peterman, producing artistic director, in the introduction of Ella’s Swinging Christmas.
From there, the audience is taken straight to the performance, featuring Wilson glamorously dressed in a stunning purple formal dress in a room filled with holiday decorations, and accompanied by musicians Kwinton Gray on piano, KJ Gray on upright bass and Jackie Whitmall on percussion.
Songs like “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” “Jingle Bells” and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” just sound better with Wilson singing it, and Fitzgerald fans will also get a treat hearing a few of her other well-known hits. The performance also includes a beautiful duet with Peterman.
Ella’s Swinging Christmas features lighting design by Ryan Burkle and assistant lighting designer Cameron Casey, production and costume design by Ryan Matthieu Smith, sound engineer David Castell, production manager Kennedy Styron, and cinematography by Chris Duncan. WTT is also working with director of cinematography David Singer, the co-founder and CEO at Academy of Storytellers and Story & Heart, as well as music supervisor Vonda K. Bowling.
During the recording of the performance, WTT implemented strict social distancing and robust safety standards. Patrons can enjoy the show from the comfort of their homes, and all seasonal ticket holders will receive digital tickets as part of their 25th season ticket subscription. Tickets are $16 for 48-hour access for single viewers and $26 for 48-hour access for multiple viewers.
WaterTower Theatre has been deeply impacted by the current crisis, as have all arts organizations during recent months, but the organization is looking forward to the future. Until we can gather together at WTT, the theatre will continue to provide North Texas artists with safe work opportunities, and our patrons with safe ways to enjoy professional theater. In 2020, WTT plans to evolve from “Theatre that builds community” to “Community that builds theatre.”
Buy your tickets now by calling 972-450-6232 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.