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Ella, Meet Marilyn - One4Review

Bonnie Greer’s play is set in 1955 as the civil rights struggle is gaining momentum in breaking down segregation but there is still massive discrimination against blacks. This is the background to this brief meeting and friendship between Marilyn Monroe and Ella Fitzgerald, which is told most effectively in words and song. Despite Fitzgerald’s fame and popularity, she could not get bookings in the most prestigious venues because of her colour. Marilyn was a huge fan of Ella’s music and was influential in getting her a booking at the Mocambo Club in Los Angeles. This was an historic breakthrough. The acting sequences bring out the mutual respect they had for each other and their insecurities despite fame and adulation. Rain Pryor has a powerful singing voice as she performs several of Ella’s best-known songs. Sally Lindsay gives a life-like re-creation of Marilyn. Their interpretation of ‘My Funny Valentine’ is most moving. Pianist Tom Scott provides a subtle musical background to the action. This is an original and most enjoyable show.


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