'Lena Horne Songbook' premieres Feb. 16 in Federal Way
By MAUREEN HATHAWAY
Federal Way Mirror contributor
January 31, 2013 · Updated 1:56 PM
Lena Horne is a legend who endears herself in the world of music. She has rousing and fantastic renditions such as “The Lady Is A Tramp,” “Just One of Those Things” and “Love Me Or Leave Me.”
Purple Phoenix Productions is proud to announce the world premiere of “Believe In Yourself: The Lena Horne Songbook.” This one night only event pays tribute to one of America’s icons and features popular Seattle-based entertainers Stacie Calkins, Laurie Clothier and LaVon Hardison.
Backed by David Duvall’s eight piece orchestra this tribute is staged in the style of the 1960’s Las Vegas/Atlantic City showrooms in their heyday.
It’s actually somewhat easier to capture the essence and magnitude of Lena Horne with three performers collectively than to try and heap all of that responsibility on just one.
In an interview, David Duvall (a composer, arranger and musical director who has also earned two Emmy nominations) said that instead of having one being “prominent” and the others doing in essence “background vocal work” it just made sense to let them share the concert evenly.
Only at the Centerstage Theatre can you see a debut performance of “Believe In Yourself: The Lena Horne Songbook” — one night only at 8 p.m. Feb. 16.
Lena Horne was a groundbreaking performer.
The first African –American pin-up girl (during World War II) defied stereotypes during her early career in Hollywood, and became a key public figure in the entertainment world during the Civil Rights movement with a uniquely eclectic mix of music from a wide variety of sources.
Unwilling to be limited in any aspect of her life, Lena sang songs that moved her, which included material written by the Beatles, Kris Kristofferson, and Jim Croce.
While never far from a big band and coming to popularity performing standards by the likes of Cole Porter, Rodgers and Hart and other Broadway composers, she recorded rock, blues funk, R & B and some gospel during her stellar career.
Horne’s career began in the famed Cotton Club in Harlem where she worked as a dancer. This led to touring as a vocalist with orchestras, and ultimately brought her to Hollywood, where she achieved success portraying herself in many MGM musicals.
“Believe In Yourself” is performed by three women who have been lifelong fans of Horne. Stacie Calkins has played some of the great roles in musical theatre including “Dreamgirls,” “Aida,” “Ragtime,” “The Color Purple,” “Hairspray” and “The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas.”
Laurie Clothier is an established nightclub, concert and musical theatre performer whose career spans over 30 years. “Kiss Me Kate,” “A Chorus Line” and “Grease” are many fan favorites.
LaVon Hardison’s theatrical credits range from “The Full Monty,” “Ain’t Misbehavin’” and “Jesus Christ Superstar.”
The all new tantalizing arrangements and orchestrations created by David Duvall was written specifically for Lena over her career. Dial in to “The Silent Spring” which was written for Lena after the 1963 bombing in Birmingham that killed four African-American girls. Many people remember “Being Green” as the song that was sung by Kermit the Frog, but most people have forgotten that it was first sung as a duet with Lena and Kermit.
Check it out
“Believe In Yourself: The Lena Horne Songbook” plays for one night only at 8 p.m. Feb. 16 at Knutzen Family Theatre, 3200 SW Dash Point Road. Visit www.centerstagetheatre.com for tickets and information.