Meet the Cast & Creative Team of Ella

Conceived By Rob Ruggiero and Dyke Garrison

Book by Jeffrey Hatcher

Starring Tina Fabrique

Tina created this role in the world premiere at Hartford TheatreWorks and has portrayed Ella at over 20 theaters across the country. She has been honored with the Carbonell Award, the Kevin Kline Award, the Acclaim Award and a Helen Hayes Award nomination for her performance. Her Broadway credits include Dessa Rose at Lincoln Center; Ragtime; Bring in ‘Da Noise, Bring in ‘Da Funk; Truly Blessed; How to Succeed…; The Gospel at Colonus and Harlem Song. Her national tours include The Wiz, Bubbling Brown Sugar, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Once on This Island, South Pacific, and How to Succeed…. Other New York credits include 70, Girls, 70 for City Center Encores! and Angel Levine at Jewish Repertory. Regionally, her many credits include Trouble in Mind, The Women of Brewster Place, Crowns (Helen Hayes nomination), Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and Constant Star (Helen Hayes nomination) at Arena Stage; The Old Settler at Westport Theater; The Comedy of Errors at Repertory Theater of St Louis; and The Glass Menagerie at Cleveland Play House. Ms. Fabrique was a featured soloist with The Duke Ellington Orchestra for several years touring in Europe and the United States. She recently performed with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra for their presentation of The Cole Porter Songbook, with original arrangements done by Ella Fitzgerald. Tina sang the theme songs to “Reading Rainbow” and the documentary “Mad Hot Ballroom.” Her television credits include “Law & Order: Criminal Intent,” “When I Grow Up,” “The Today Show,” “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” “Mike Mulligan’s Steam Shovel,” “All My Children” and “One Life to Live.” Her latest CD, Tina Fabrique Sings the Great Composers, is available at
Mr. Caldwell is a veteran of Broadway having worked on Black and Blue and Play On!, as well as having served in orchestra pits for Bring In ‘Da Noise, Bring In ‘Da Funk, The Full Monty, etc. In addition to providing musical direction for the European tour of Black and Blue and serving as associate conductor for the tour of Body and Soul in Europe, Caldwell has toured regionally, including serving as musical director for the original musicals Thunder Knocking on the Door, Golden Boy at Long Wharf, and productions of Cookin’ at the Cookery. Caldwell also played for three years with the Duke Ellington orchestra, and seven years with the Count Basie orchestra. The Basie Orchestra received a Grammy award with Caldwell at the piano for the recording ‘The Count Basie Orchestra Live at the Manchestra Craftsman’s Guild (with the New York Voices). He has performed with many artists, performers as diverse as George Benson, Savion Glover, Lou Rawls, Elvis Costello, Art Blakey, Shirley Bassey, Freda Payne, Wynton Marsalis, Lionel Hampton, the Manhattan Transfer, Bobby McFerrin, Al Jarreau, The Coasters, Cab Calloway, Quincy Jones, Gregory Hines, Dizzy Gillespie and Brenda Lee. Caldwell has played and conducted Ella since it’s inception in 2005.
Mr. Harper comes to Capital Repertory from Chicago, where he began playing jazz and rhythm and blues on the South Side nightclub scene. Those who are hip to the jazz scene will recognize the arts he has accompanied, including tours with Grammy Award winners Billy Eckstein and Della Reese. Mr. Harper has worked with Dakota Staton (of “Late Late Show” album fame), jazz instrumentalist Richard “Groove” Holmes, Jimmy McGriff, Hank Crawford, Charles Earland and saxophone giants Sonny Stitt and Frank Foster. Beginning in 2005, he has backed the very swinging Marlena Shaw. In the theatre world his credits include Ain’t Misbehavin’ (first national and world tours); Bubbling Brown Sugar (European tour). Rodney has also played the national and European tours of Blackbirds of Broadway and Cookin’ at the Cookery. Finally, his drumming has helped propel the Dells, the Impressions, the Coasters, the Drifters and the Marvellettes in rock and roll revival shows.
Ron Haynes began his career as a trumpeter while in his teens, gigging with various blues artists. He studied at Shaw University in N.C., and North Carolina Central University, studying under jazz great Donald Byrd. Ron was the horn section leader for Bernie Mac’s HBO show Midnight Mac with Bernie Mac, later joining the Ohio Players. While playing with Liquid Soul, their cd Here’s the Deal was grammy-nominated for Best Contemporary Jazz Album in 2001. Ron has also worked with Ramsey Lewis, being featured on Urban Knights IV and The Chicago Project, and in 2005, participated in a world tour as a member of Lenny Kravitz’s band. In 2007, Ron began his acting career in Northlight Theater and Dallas Theater Center’s production of Ella, and has since been involved with the production at various other theaters. In 2008, he was the trumpeter and an understudy for Drury Lane’s production of The Buddy Holly Story. Ron has released three solo CD’s (Cool Work, Can You Hear Me and recently released Journeyman.)
Derick Polk is a retired Navy Musician. He has performed with the following artists and musicians, Ernestine Anderson, Fred Anderson, Rosemary Clooney, Lou Donaldson, Von Freeman, Dizzy Gillespie, Eddie Harris, Bunky Green, Milt Jackson, Henry Johnson, Delfeayo Marsailas, Ronnie Matthews, Hilton Ruiz and Clark Terry. Derick has performed in the national tour of Ain’t Misbehavin and in productions of Anything Goes, Chorus Line, Godspell, The King and I, My Fair Lady and Oklahoma. He has also performed with the Bremerton Symphony, Ravenswood Community Orchestra and Lake Shore Symphony Orchestra. You can see Derick performing with various musicians at various venues in the greater Chicago area.
Off Broadway: 92nd St Y, Theatre Row. National tour: Ella (Norman Granz). Regional: Ella at 20 theatres, including the Guthrie, Long Wharf, Pittsburgh Public, Hartford Stage, Cincinnati Playhouse, Arena Stage, Actors Theatre of Louisville, and Arizona Theatre Company. Other shows at: Gloucester Stage (Israel Horovitz’s My Old Lady and The Secret of Mme Bonnard’s Bath – world premiere), Phoenix Theatre (A Christmas Story), Arizona Theatre Company (Much Ado About Nothing), Shakespeare Sedona, Arizona Repertory Theatre (King Lear), and Invisible Theatre, Tucson. Film: Born To Ride, The Back of Beyond (narrator), and several indie shorts. Television: “Rescue 911,” “The Highwayman,” “Enola Gay.” Harold is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of the School of Theatre, Film, & Television at the University of Arizona, where the Dixon Directing Studio is named for him. Member of Actors Equity
Michael Schweikardt
Scenic Design
John Lasiter+
Lighting Design
Alejo Vietti+
Costume Design
Michael Miceli+
Sound Design
Charles LaPointe
Hair & Wig Design
Ashley Dumas*
Production Stage Manager
Danny Holgate
Music Supervision and Arrangements
George Caldwell
Musical Director

Directed by
Rob Ruggiero++

Originally produced as Ella - Off the Record at TheaterWorks, Hartford, CT. The World Premiere of Ella was produced by Florida Stage, Manalapan, FL., in June of 2006.