Tina Fabrique as Ella Fitzgerald in “Ella.”
Review by Susan Brink
Photographs by Joe Schuyler
It was an easy and uneventful weekday ride from the North Country to make the 7:30pm curtain for Ella at Capital Repertory in Albany. Zipped into a parking spot on the street, strolled into the theater and into my comfortable seat. I was ready for some entertainment.
I should say that Ella Fitzgerald is part of the soundtrack of my childhood, and I know her story. My mother played her records, my grandparents would see her in concert, and we would watch her on television. I sing her songs while I’m cooking. You could say I’m a fan of her repertoire. So I was a bit concerned – there’s a danger of becoming a caricature when recreating someone of living memory.
No need to worry – Tina Fabrique as Ella had the entire audience spellbound within ten seconds of hitting the stage. She captures Ellas’s essence and tells her story with honesty and clarity. She doesn’t shy from the difficult and painful parts, but deftly wends through them before reaching for the light in song – much as Ella did in life. It’s a nuanced performance, each facet of emotion brought forward like a diamond in the sun.