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PLAY ON! A Musical in 2 Acts. Book by Cheryl L. West. (Based loosely on Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare.) Songs (music) by Duke Ellington. Conceived and directed by Sheldon Epps. Choreographed by Mercedes Ellington. Arrangements, musical supervision, orchestrations by Luther Henderson. Originally produced at the Old Globe Theatre, San Diego, California. Brooks Atkinson Theatre, Broadway: Opened 20th March, 1997; closed 11th May, 1997 (61 performances). SYNOPSIS There is a fresh approach in moving the story and the major characters of Twekfth Night from the magical kingdom of Illyria to the swinging kingdom of Harlem in the 1940s. And who better to provide the score than Duke Ellington himself. For Count Orsino, music was the food of love. For Duke, music was his mistress - a perfect match. Vy, who comes to Harlem, not to sing, but to write songs and to work with the Duke, the greatest band leader in Harlem. She quickly learns from her Uncle Jester, hoofer at the Cotton Club, that in Harlem a wornan will never be accepted or taken seriousliy as a writer. But like many a strong hero in musical comedy, she refuses to accept defeat. The answer? If it takes looking like a man to enter this world then show me the way to the tailor shop, and call me Vy-man! Fitted out in her new pinstripe suit she is taken to meet the Duke. He is found a prisoner in his penthouse apartment, sighing and crying over his lost love, Lady Liv, Harlem's queen of the blues (just as Shakespeare's Count Orsino sighed and cried over his heart's passion, Lady Olivia). Impressed with Vy-man's music, he sends this young talent to the Cotton Club to woo his lady, using one of Vy's songs as if newly composed by the Duke especially for Lady Liv that afternoon. At the club she greets the great diva, who is immediately smitten with this charming, though slightly different young man, and the whole chain of events that has everybody falling for the wrong person is set into motion. Concurrently, the employees of the club, Jester, Sweets, and Miss Mary, are out to teach the pompous and dictatorial club manager, Rev, a lesson. Rev gained his name and reputation because he is the most serious man in Harlem and he smiles even less frequently than Twelfth Night's Malvolio. Knowing that Rev is also infatuated with Lady Liv, the comic trio convinces him that the only way to win her heart is to learn to swing, give up his stiff ballads and learn the joys of scat. In time all of the illusions and disguises that are put on create only havoc and distress, and it is only by dropping the shams and cover-ups that all of the lovers can come together as they should and celebrate the foods of love. CAST (in order of appearance) • Vy • Jeste • Sweets • Miss Mary • CC • Duke • Rev • Lady Liv Denizens of Harlem