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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

‘Freda Payne: A Tribute to Ella Fitzgerald’ at Centenary Stage

Freda Payne- from web

Centenary Stage Company kicks off the New Year and the annual January Thaw Music Festival on Sunday, January 14 at 2 pm in the Lackland Performing Arts Center with Freda Payne: A Tribute to Ella Fitzgerald.

The multi-talented Freda Payne best known for her singing career, as well as, her No. 1 hit 1970 pop anthem, “Band of Gold” has toured the world in concerts, theater performances, one – woman shows, as well as, appearances in films and television, briefly hosting her own TV talk show.  Freda Payne: A Tribute to Ella Fitzgerald, celebrates Ella Fitzgerald’s 60+ year career from her 1934 award – winning Apollo Theater debut and through her celebrated career as a vocalist.

Payne developed an appreciation of music at an early age due to such sultry jazz singers as Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan and Billie Holiday.  Payne’s own musical career blossomed soon after, as she began early singing radio commercial jingles, which brought the young vocalist to the attention of several music-biz heavyweights.  Further albums followed throughout the ’70’s, including such titles as Contact, Reaching Out, Payne & Pleasure, Out of Payne Comes Love, Stares & Whispers, Supernatural High, and Red Hot. Payne also worked with legend artist Sammy Davis, Jr. during much of the 1970’s.

Payne then switched her attention from music to TV, as she hosted her very own talk show in 1981, Today’s Black Woman. The ’90s saw Payne return to music, as such albums as An Evening with Freda Payne and Christmas with Freda & Friends were issued, while Payne also landed roles in such movies as Private Obsession, Sprung and Ragdoll. Payne continued to balance an acting and music career during the early 21st century, as she appeared in the 2000 Eddie Murphy comedy Nutty Professor II: The Klumps and the made-for-TV movie Fire & Ice, plus issuing an all-new album in 2001, Come See About Me on the Volt label.

In 2009 she appeared on American Idol, performing her most iconic song. In June 2014, she released a jazz-influenced studio album entitled Come Back to Me Love, on the Mack Avenue label, which was produced by Bill Cunliffe and was a highly acclaimed jazz album which featured big band arrangements and strings.

Payne also has Broadway credits including: Hallelujah Baby, Duke Ellington’s Sophisticated Ladies, Ain’t Misbehaving, The Blues in the Night, Jelly’s Last Jam as well as plays: A Change Is Gonna Come, The Divorce written and directed by Donald B. Welch, which is also on DVD.  Payne also landed an appearance on the film Kinky set to release in 2017.

Freda Payne: A Tribute to Ella Fitzgerald will be held on Sunday, January 14 at 2 pm in the Sitnik Theatre of the Lackland Performing Arts Center.  Tickets are $30.00 for all seats in advance.  As with all jazz, concerts and special events ticket prices increase $5.00 day of the performance.

Centenary Stage Company’s January Thaw Music Festival continues of Sunday, January 21 at 2 PM with Danny Bacher in Swing that Music! A Jazz Tribute to the Three Louis at the Lackland Performing Arts Center.

1007LacklandBldgFor more information or to purchase tickets visit centenarystageco.org or call the Centenary Stage Company box office at (908) 979 – 0900.  The box office is open Mondaythrough Friday from 1 – 5 PM and two hours prior to every performance.  The box office is located in the Lackland Performing Arts Center at 715 Grand Ave. Hackettstown, NJ.  Centenary Stage Company can also be found across social media platforms; Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.  Like and follow to receive the latest in CSC news and offers.

The 2017-2018 season of performing arts events at the Centenary Stage Company is made possible through the generous support of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the NJ State Council on the Arts, the Shubert Foundation, the Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation, the Sandra Kupperman Foundation, and CSC corporate sponsors, including Premier Season Sponsor Heath Village Retirement Community, The House of the Good Shepherd Silver Sponsors Hackettstown Medical Center, Home Instead Senior Care (Washington),  and Fulton Bank of New Jersey, and Centenary Stage Company members and supporters.

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