Donald Saddler
Donald Saddler
Tony Award winning choreographer and performer Donald Saddler will receive the 1st Annual Duke Ellington "Beyond Category" Award at a black-tie cocktail reception and dance ceremony to be held on April 24 at 7pm at Dance Times Square Studio. The prize recognizes an individual who has demonstrated impact beyond category in his or her career. The ceremony will begin a week's worth of special events sponsored by The Duke Ellington Center for the Arts celebrating Duke Ellington Week.

In addition, Mercedes Ellington, Ty Stephens, Adrian Bailey, P.J. Benjamin, Hinton Battle, Val Pettiford, Terri Klausner, Wynonna Smith, Ken Hanson, Priscilla Baskerville, Michael Lichtefeld, Faruma ("Woody") Williams, Paula-Lynn Wagner and Bruce Heath are expected to perform in the previously announced concert celebrating the 35th anniversary of the Ellington-musical Sophisticated Ladies, to be held on April 25 at 7:30pm at Birdland. Frank Owens will head the on-stage orchestra for this concert.

Other events to be offered during the week include a performance at Swing 46 Jazz & Supper Club on April 28 at 9pm that will feature The Blue Millennium Orchestra, which includes Ellington alumni Patience Higgins and James Zollar, under the direction of Christopher Cherney. The orchestra, along with Darby Dizard, and the Dance Times Square Jitterbuggers, and others will offer a free concert on what would have been Ellington's 112th birthday 29 at 1pm at the Duke Ellington Statue at Fifth Avenue & 110th Street.

The Duke Ellington Week celebration will conclude on April 30 with Duke Ellington at Woodlawn, a concert to be hosted by Mercedes Ellington and held in the Woolworth Chapel at Woodlawn Cemetary, where Ellington is buried. Reservations for this event are required. For more information, call 718-920-1470.