The sounds of Billy Strayhorn captivated the residents of Pittsburgh the second he sat down at a piano. Decades later, his hit-studded career with the Duke Ellington Orchestra, alongside Gene Kelly’s Hollywood trajectory as a dancer, singer, actor, choreographer, and director, inspired the naming of the Kelly Strayhorn Theater. Today, many artists from many artistic disciplines present their work to admiring Pittsburghers in this beautiful space. In order to continue and strengthen their program, the Kelly Strayhorn Theater holds a theatrical jazz concert titled Suite Life in honor of these two renowned creatives.
Pittsburghers at Heart
Both Strayhorn and Kelly were Pittsburgh residents. Billy Strayhorn, born in 1915, lived in Homewood while Gene Kelly, born in 1912, grew up in East Liberty. Their ability to add their own creativity to their disciplines to create new, intriguing styles is the stuff of legend.
On November 25th, don’t miss the opportunity to experience the Kelly Strayhorn Theater Suite Life concert featuring jazz singer and Billy Strayhorn aficionado Joshua Banbury. Joshua is joined by music director and pianist Dr. Alton Merrell, and band members Dwayne Dolphin (bass), James Johnson III (drums), and Colter Harper (guitar).
Many Suite Life veterans such as Kelsey Jumper and Treasure Treasure return to the stage as well for another year of unforgettable guests.
A Jazzy Night Out
The evening kicks off for VIP guests at Duolingo Headquarters with specialty cocktails and hors d’oeuvres as a way to bring together the arts community of Pittsburgh.
Then, head to the theater for a night filled with jaw-dropping visual displays by media artist Scott Andrew and lighting designer Madeleine Steineck. Both Scott and Madeline have worked on previous projects for the theater as a team.
The concert is a performance of dance, live music, monologue, and storytelling all dedicated to the lives of Billy Strayhorn and Gene Kelly. Learn what makes these two such huge figures in Pittsburgh history and get a look at how their creativity inspires generations of incredible entertainers.
Story by Kylie Thomas
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