Jacksonville Symphony to honor American Songbird icons in ‘Frank and Ella’

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The Jacksonville Symphony will be joined by singers Tony DeSare and Capathia Jenkins on March 29 and 30 at 8 p.m. for the performance of "Frank and Ella" at the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts’ Jacoby Symphony Hall.

DeSare and Jenkins will take on the legendary roles of Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald and more. This will be Tony DeSare’s second time performing Sinatra songs for the Jacksonville audience, while Jenkins has rousingly performed Motown favorites in previous seasons.  

Ol’ Blue Eyes, The Voice and Swoonatra were all names that appeared at the height of Frank Sinatra’s popularity. He was an icon, a legend that transformed the music industry in America. With over 150 million records sold worldwide, Sinatra is still one of the best-selling artists of all time. From record sales to an acting career, the country was smitten with the “Come Fly With Me” singer.

Sinatra held respect for one other singer in his era, Ella Fitzgerald.

“Ella Fitzgerald is the only performer with whom I’ve ever worked who made me nervous,” Sinatra once said. “Because I try to work up to what she does. You know, try to pull myself up to that height, because I believe she is the greatest popular singer in the world, barring none—male or female.” 

The American jazz singer had her fair share of nicknames as well, such as the First Lady of Song, Queen of Jazz and Lady Ella. With 14 Grammy awards, the National Medal of Arts and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Fitzgerald clearly made just as much of an impact in and out of the music industry.

With duets “Can’t We Be Friends” and “The Lady is a Tramp,” not including their own individual successes, it is more than fair to say that these two icons redefined music in America. 

More on DeSare and Jenkins

Named a rising-star male vocalist in Downbeat magazine, Tony DeSare has lived up to this distinction by winning critical and popular acclaim for his concert performances in North America and abroad. From jazz clubs to Carnegie Hall to Las Vegas headlining with Don Rickles and major symphony orchestras, DeSare has brought his fresh take on old school class around the globe. DeSare has three top-10 Billboard jazz albums under his belt and was featured on the CBS Early Show, NPR, A Prairie Home Companion and the Today Show. His music has been posted by social media celebrity juggernaut, George Takei. DeSare has also collaborated with YouTube icons, Postmodern Jukebox.

DeSare is an accomplished award-winning composer. He not only won first place in the USA Songwriting Contest, but has also written the theme song for the motion picture, "My Date With Drew," along with several broadcast commercials and has recently composed the full soundtracks for the Hallmark Channel's "Love Always, Santa" and Lifetime's "Nanny Nightmare."

The Brooklyn-born and raised singer and actress, Capathia Jenkins recently released the critically-acclaimed CD, "Phenomenal Woman: The Maya Angelou Songs," with her collaborator Louis Rosen. The pair sold out the world-famous Birdland Theatre in New York City for three nights. She also starred as Medda in the hit Disney production of "Newsies" on Broadway. Jenkins made her Broadway debut in "The Civil War," where she created the role of Harriet Jackson. She then starred in the off-Broadway 2000 revival of "Godspell," where she wowed audiences with her stirring rendition of “Turn Back, O Man” which can still be heard on the original cast recording. Jenkins then created the roles of The Washing Machine in "Caroline, Or Change" and Frieda May in "Martin Short-Fame Becomes Me," where she sang “Stop the Show." In 2007, she went back to off-Broadway and starred in "(mis) Understanding Mammy-The Hattie McDaniel Story," for which she was nominated for a Drama Desk Award. She was also seen in Nora Ephron’s "Love, Loss, and What I Wore." 

An active concert artist, Jenkins has appeared with numerous orchestras around the world, including the Cleveland Orchestra, Houston Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, National Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, Seattle Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, Toronto Symphony, the Hong Kong Philharmonic and many others. She was a soloist with the Festival Cesky Krumlov in the Czech Republic multiple times. Jenkins had the honor of performing in the Broadway Ambassadors to Cuba concert as part of the Festival De Teatro De La Habana. She has appeared several times at Carnegie Hall with the New York Pops and also sang in a Tribute to Marvin Hamlisch at the Library of Congress. 

Her television credits include "30 Rock," "The Practice," "Law & Order SVU" and "The Sopranos." She can be seen in the film "Musical Chairs" directed by Susan Seidelman. Jenkins was also seen in "The Wiz" in a live performance on NBC. She can be heard on the film soundtracks for "Nine," "Chicago" and "Legally Blonde 2." 

"Frank and Ella" is a part of the Fidelity National Financial Pops Series and is presented by David and Linda Stein in honor of the Stein Scholars from Jacksonville University and The University of North Florida.

For more information or to purchase tickets, call the ticket office at (904)354-5547 or visit www.JaxSymphony.org.

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