Celebrating the legends who changed the course of music and entertainment forever, Centaur Theatre is welcoming Ranee Lee back to perform DARK DIVAS, a musical journey honouring the lives of iconic black female entertainers of the jazz age, created and performed by this beloved Montreal jazz singer. Audiences will rediscover the worlds of the divas of an era, who captured the imagination of millions, and dazzled audiences decade after decade, through a series of spell-binding musical renditions.  

Featuring music and songs by Josephine Baker, Billie Holiday, Lena Horne, Pearl Bailey, Dinah Washington, Sarah Vaughan, and Ella Fitzgerald, DARK DIVAS commemorates the impact these bold women of colour had on show business and conventional ideals surrounding black womanhood. In their quests to discover who they were through their music, they led generations of women to discover themselves; pushing and shifting narratives and ideals surrounding sex and race relations. Joined by some of Montreal’s top musicians on this musical journey, Ranee puts her own special stamp on each classic, honouring and celebrating the divas who influenced her most in her career. 

One of Canada’s premiere jazz vocalists, Canadian / American Ranee Lee (Creator and Performer) is a multi-award winning jazz musician, songwriter, and actress, as well as a celebrated educator, and an author of the children’s book Nana What Do You Say?.

In 1994 and 1995, Ranee received the Top Canadian Female Jazz Vocalist Award presented by Jazz Report magazine. She has been nominated for several Juno Awards and in 2010, won the Juno for Vocal Jazz Album of the Year for her recording Ranee Lee Lives Upstairs. Her performance as Billie Holiday in the play Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill won her a Dora Mavor Moore Award. She has released 13 acclaimed albums the newest of which is 2022’s Because You Loved Me, her radical, innovative interpretations of songs made famous by another Quebec heroine, Celine Dion. 

For outstanding service to jazz education, at the twenty-first IAJE conference in 1994, Ranee received the International Association of Jazz Educators Award. As an educator, Ranee has been part of the University of Laval faculty in Quebec City and The Schulich School of Music of McGill University faculty for over twenty years. She was appointed as a Member Of The Order Of Canada and in 2007 was given an award for appreciation and contribution to the development of the McGill Jazz Program by the McGill Schulich School of Music. Ranee also won the 2022 Oscar Peterson Award at the Montreal Jazz Festival.

DARK DIVAS will be performed on Friday, December 16 and Saturday, December 17 at 8PM. Centaur Theatre is located at 453 St. Francois-Xavier in Old Montreal. Regular admission $48. Subscriber admission $43. Tickets can be purchased at https://centaurtheatre.com/box-office or by phone at (514) 288-3161.

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