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Play On! (1997)

Album cover for Play On! Original Cast Recording1997

Cheryl West (Book)
Duke Ellington (Music Source Material)

20 March – 11 May, 1997

           Play On! is a musical adaptation of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, set in 1940s Harlem, featuring the music of Duke Ellington. Vy comes to swinging 1940s Harlem to write songs for the Duke, Harlem's greatest band leader. To overcome the sexist barriers of the time against women songwriters, she disguises herself as a man, Vy-man. She finds the Duke in tears over his loss of Lady Liv, Harlem’s “queen of the blues”. The Duke likes Vy-man's music, so he instructs the songwriter to go to the Cotton Club and present one of her songs as if it were a new song written by the Duke for Lady Liv. Lady Liv finds Vy-man charming, and a series of mistaken pairings results. Meanwhile, several of the performers at the Cotton Club are rebelling against the overly serious and tyrannical club manager, Rev. Since Rev has a crush on Lady Liv, the performers persuade him that he should woo her by learning to swing and scat, giving up his old fashioned ballads. More confusion results before the truth is revealed, and the couples are appropriately united. (Source: Wikipedia)

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