The Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation visited the Museum for a tour on Wednesday and graciously donated priceless artifacts from Ella’s archives to our collection— items including sheet music, concert programs, and music albums. For example, pictured below is a piece of sheet music from Ella’s collection for the popular wartime song “Comin’ in on a Wing and a Prayer” (an audience favorite for the Victory Belles in their recent “Songs that Won the War” revue). The Foundation made an additional contribution that will help fund school Title 1 field trips to the Museum.
WWII-era sheet music donated in memory of Miss Ella Fitzgerald from the Estate of Ella Fitzgerald.
While on campus, the group visited an item related to Fitzgerald, “First Lady of Song,” displayed in BB’s Stage Door Canteen, the Museum’s tribute to wartime USO entertainment venues. Pictured at the M-1 helmet liner, worn by Fitzgerald at a USO camp show, are (left to right), Richard Rosman, Fran Morris Rosman, Randal Rosman, and Irene Romero.
Pictured at the M-1 helmet liner, worn by Fitzgerald at a USO camp show, are (left to right), Richard Rosman, Fran Morris Rosman, Randal Rosman, and Irene Romero.
Ella Fitzgerald’s voice is featured prominently on the 1940s musical soundtrack heard throughout the Museum, as befits one of the superstars of the era and an all-time music great. As Bing Crosby— a pretty good singer himself— once said: “Man, woman or child, Ella is the greatest of them all.”
M-1helmet worn by Ella Fitzgerald on display in BB’s Stage Door Canteen at The National WWII Museum.
Founded by the singer in 1993, the Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation is dedicated “to use the fruits of her success to help people of all races, cultures and beliefs,” according to the foundation’s website. “Ella hoped to make their lives more rewarding, and she wanted to foster a love of reading, as well as a love of music. In addition, she hoped to provide assistance to the at-risk and disadvantaged members of our communities—assistance that would enable them to achieve a better quality of life.”
Thanks for visiting, foundation friends, and thanks for your generous support!
Check out the foundation’s Facebook page for more information.
Escape into a 1940s whirlwind of murder, mystery, and mischief played out by dubious detectives, glamorous starlets, stealthy spies, wisecrack reporters, and scatterbrained chorus girls in the live production of The Mysterious Wisterias.
Gracing the Stage Door Canteen at The National WWII Museum, this war era spectacle will open Friday, Oct. 3 and run through Sunday, Nov. 23. Leading this zany cast of eight is local favorite Ricky Graham, who is also co-writer and co-mastermind of this comedic thriller.
“We wanted the show to have the feel of a 1940s B-movie comedy/mystery — the kind of thing Bob Hope, or Abbot and Costello would have done,” Graham explains.
“These movies were made during wartime and were pure escapism for the American audience,” he says. “We wanted to capture that sense of silliness on the stage.”
Working alongside director and long-time pal Sean Patterson, Graham explains how it was a delight to write a drama so period and stylistically specific.
The Mysterious Wisterias, which refers to a supposedly haunted Louisiana plantation home called “The Wisterias,” offers audiences an intriguing, murderous plot filled with silly and outlandish excitement. While on a journey of discovery, showgoers are carried to a state of hilarity.
“Playing comedy for a New Orleans audience is an absolute joy!” Ricky Graham says, “They come in and want to laugh and have a good time. They’re always more than willing to meet you more than halfway.”
Excited to hit the stage this weekend, Graham anticipates the adrenaline rush, and the magical moments played out in front of a live audience.
“There’s nothing like sharing in the laughter that a live performance generates.” He says. “When you and the audience are both in agreement that what’s happening is funny, it’s the closest thing to heaven on earth that I can possibly imagine!”
Judging from Ricky Graham’s and Sean Patterson’s previous comical chemistry and reputation for staging a truly captivating performance, locals can be sure this production at The National WWII Museum will be a must-see.
“I hope the audience will get caught up in the stylish silliness — we’re all shameless hams and playing right out to them!” Graham says.
For showtimes and tickets, visit us here.