Jazz in a Brooklyn Lighthouse: A tribute to the great Ella Fitzgerald
When Friday rolls around and the clock strikes 5 p.m., there’s only one thing on everyone’s mind: the weekend.
But instead of going to the same local bar this Friday, there is the option to spend the evening attending a unique, one-of-a-kind jazz tribute to the legendary Ella Fitzgerald in a modern lighthouse, featuring scenic floor-to-ceiling views of the sea.
The event, dubbed “Ella!”, is part of On Stage at Kingsborough, a performance series that brings world-class artists to southern Brooklyn at an affordable price on the campus of Kingsborough Community College.
On Stage at Kingsborough, which operates year-round, strives to bring in artists who are leaders in their particular discipline, including dance, theater, music and family entertainment. Recent performances include dance companies from Russia and Spain, a children’s theater from London and a plethora of Broadway stars.
“Ultimately, we’re the only major performing art center in southern Brooklyn and our aim is to present world-class artists at very affordable prices for the community,” said Bay Ridge resident and Executive Director of On Stage at Kingsborough Anna Becker. “It’s often the same show or the same artist that you can see in Manhattan, only we charge a fraction of the price you might otherwise pay.”
This Friday’s event will feature award-winning vocalist and Croatian-American jazz singer Thana Alexa and the acclaimed Israeli 12th Night Jazz Quartet. The performance will highlight Fitzgerald’s journey from her debut performance at the Apollo Theater’s Amateur Night to her groundbreaking career as one of the most celebrated jazz artists of the 20th century. Alexa’s specialty, like Fitzgerald’s, is scat singing.
The event will be hosted by MusicTalks founder and award-winning musician Elad Kabilio. MusicTalks is an organization that attempts to break down barriers between musicians and the audience by taking advantage of the intimacy that music provides and hosting performances in intimate settings.
“One of the reasons why we thought this was a great idea is because there isn’t a jazz venue, certainly not in the lower half of Brooklyn, not one that is dedicated to jazz and doing world-class jazz where you have award-winning artists,” Becker told the Brooklyn Eagle. “We just had Winard Harper here who’s just world-renowned.
“Also in the more local area, it’s a Friday evening, 7 p.m., it’s a great way to relax from your week and go somewhere in the neighborhood,” she continued. “It’s not a big effort. You’re not trekking into Manhattan. You can come to your neighborhood place and be in an elegant surrounding, relaxing and listening to great music. Along [with] those two things, we thought it was very Brooklyn and it was a void that needed to be filled in this part of Brooklyn.”
On Stage at Kingsborough has three venues: a fully equipped main stage venue, a 1,100-seat outdoor band shell where free summer concerts are held and the lighthouse venue.
In addition to world-class jazz and sweeping sea views, attendees will receive wine and a cheese plate with admission.
“It is a modern working lighthouse,” said Becker. “Sometimes people think they’re going to come to some quaint New England old white lighthouse, but it’s a modern building. It does have an actual light on the top and it is a working lighthouse that works as a beacon.
“It’s not uncommon when you’re sitting and listening to the music to see a little ship go by and the lights twinkling in the distance of the evening.”
The performance starts at 7 p.m. and tickets cost $40. Kingsborough Community College is located in Manhattan Beach at 2001 Oriental Blvd. Contact the On Stage at Kingsborough box office for information on ticket availability.
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