RICHMOND, Va. -- Desiree Roots is no stranger to the music of Ella Fitzgerald. In 2017, Roots wrote and performed a tribute show celebrating the singer’s 100th-birthday. So she’s right at home with this production.
"Ella and Her Fella Frank was written over 20 years by Randy Strawderman, who is no longer with us, and so it was re-written by Bo Wilson but the same concept off from Randy Strawderman," Roots said.
In the show, Ella and Frank meet in the afterlife and their reunion in heaven leads to a concert. Roots plays Ella and Frank Sinatra is played by a man who Desiree believes fits the role perfectly.
"The amazing Scott Wichmann. He embodies Frank Sinatra, I don’t think there’s anyone that could do this role but Scott," Roots said.
And the two will take audience members on a trip down memory lane
"They can expect 32 count songs that were made famous by Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra, some that did as duets, some that they did as solo artists," Roots said.
The storyline follows the singers and their friendship.
"It also incorporates the audience as a love letter to say welcome back to live theater and all of that is revealed in the show," Roots said.
There is also a full band live on stage. The show will be the first time on a theater stage since last year for Roots and many of the actors and she says it’s like being home.
"Because the arts are truly what we live, eat and breathe and having it shut down was like somebody kicked us out of our home so now we’re not evicted anymore we get to go back," Roots said.
As a safety precaution, seating for the performance will be in pods. Masks are required and no meet and greet will be available after a performance.
There are lots of opportunities to see Ella and Her Fella. The show opens on Friday, July 9 and runs through September 12 at Virginia Repertory Theatre.