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    The Duke Ellington School of the Arts Presents: EARTH WIND&FIRE 40TH ANNIVERSARY CONCERT CELEBRATION


    January 17, 2011


    The Aba Agency


    Washington, DC (January 17, 2011)

    The Duke Ellington School of the Arts is pleased to announce the 40th Anniversary Concert Celebration of Earth Wind & Fire on Thursday February 24, 2011 at 7:30pm in the concert hall of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

    The legendary band Earth, Wind, & Fire is one of the most important, innovative, and commercially invincible contemporary Pop / R&B music forces of the 20th century. The group has had a remarkable and celebrated career spanning over four decades. Their signature sound is not easily categorized and since its inception has been profoundly influential, musically, socially and spiritually.

    This presentation is the next installment in the Performance Series of Legends that has featured David Chappelle, Denyce Graves, and Stevie Wonder. “These artists’ willingness to give back their time, resources, and inspiration through this Performance Series provides Duke Ellington students valuable exposure and customized artistic direction. Their contributions have provided a source of revenue that allows us to continue our important mission of providing excellence in arts education to deserving students who wouldn’t otherwise have this opportunity”, states Rory Pullens, Head of School and CEO of the Duke Ellington School of the Arts.

    The Duke Ellington School of the Arts was founded in 1974 and is the only DC high school that provides pre-professional arts training and college preparation to more than 500 talented area students. With a mission to “nurture and inspire passion for arts and learning in talented students who might not otherwise have an opportunity to develop their artistic skills,” the Duke Ellington School of the Arts over the past thirty-five years has continued to maintain a 98% graduation rate with 95% of its seniors being accepted into colleges, universities and conservatories.

    VIP tickets are immediately available for pre-sale for $250 at the office of the Ellington Fund. Benefit sponsorship packages are available from $1000 to $50,000. Contact the Ellington Fund at 202-333-2555 or for both. General ticket sales will be available starting on Friday, January 21st at the Kennedy Center Box Office or at from $50 to $250.

    Please visit for further details.

    For media inquiries, please contact The Aba Agency at 202-625-8370 or


    One night only!... Jennifer Holliday steals the show, inspires the stars, at Duke Ellington School's "Dreamgirls"

    Jennifer Holliday joins Ellington students Victoria Ellington, Jumohny Walker and India Reynolds on stage Thursday night. (Brian Nielson for Duke Ellington School of the Arts)

    Ellington School's Dreamgirls a must see

    December 12, 2010 | by Wendy Gordon - The Georgetown Dish

    Recently I was privileged to be among the audience in house at the Duke Ellington School’s theater to see their production of Dreamgirls. This is in no way similar to any of the high school productions I witnessed or took part in as a kid. No. (Photo by: Bill Nielsen for Duke Ellington School) Jennifer Holliday talks with Ellington performers before the show My surprise stemmed from the caliber of talent represented. What I experienced on the stage of THIS high school was just about equal to Broadway. Really. One could easily forget those in the pit; the costume builders; the set and tech creators, and most importantly the actors and their footwork and voices were around 16 to 18 years of age. Suddenly my sophomoric productions of My Fair Lady, Camelot, South Pacific and Bye Bye Birdie seemed …well… sophomoric.

    Anonymous asked: Who do I contact if I want to buy a CD or DVD recording of the production? Are such recordings available?

    The DVD of the actual performance has just been recored. We will update you once it is available for sale. The “making of Dreamgirls” documentary from the Literary Media & Communications is available for sale in the lobby of the Ellington theatre during all shows.

    Original ‘Dreamgirl’ advises Duke Ellington cast

    Jennifer Holliday, who originated the role of Effie in “Dreamgirls” on Broadway, advised and performed for students in the musical at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts. (Hamil Harris/The Washington Post)

    Anonymous asked: Where can I see which cast is performing on a certain night?

    The best way is to visit the box office online. Here is the link. 

    Davis wows in ‘Dream Girls
     - Washington Post

    Dreamgirls Rocks

    The Dreamettess singing back-up for Jimmy Thunder.  Credit Daniel Elliott

    Seventeen year-old Victoria Davis, playing Effie, deserves special mention for her fantastic individual performance. Ms. Davis oozes talent, with a vocal range and power that should have Jennifer Hudson looking over her shoulder. The closing song of the first set “(And I’m Telling You) I’m Not Going,” had everyone in the crowd on their feet, hooting and hollering their praise, some with teary eyes; it was obvious that we were witnessing something special.

    Washington Post Show Review

    Victoria Ellington, from left, Amber Jones and Victoria Davis play the lead roles in "Dreamgirls." (Hamil R. Harris)The play was a theatrical coming-out party for many students, whether they were acting onstage, playing in the orchestra or operating lights backstage. Everyone seemed to enjoy being part of something that was much bigger than themselves.

    Opening Night: A night of a Thousand Young Stars...

    A scene from Duke Ellington School of the Arts production of Dreamgirls. Courtesy PhotoThe Magic Begins.

    The music starts, actors appear on stage and the performance gets underway. The audience is magically transported back in time with song, dance and of course, elaborate costume changes. The center stage rotates and portrays both the front and back stage. The performers masterfully glide with this moving stage thanks to well-choreographed fluid movements that create one continuous motion. The pace of the performance was like that of an express train that makes only a few stops along the way with no delays. If you looked away for a second, you could miss something visually spectacular.

    Principal Rory Pullens at 93.9  WKYS Radio station promoting the show.

    Washingtonian | Showtime! Students at Duke Ellington are pulling out all the stops for their production of Dreamgirls. A lot is at stake—including the school’s future.

    The Duke Ellington production has plenty of glitz and glamour, and a lot is at stake. “There’s a million-dollar shortfall in our budget,” says head of school Rory Pullens. “Rather than waiting for someone to rescue us, we decided to use our large-scale production to create some revenue.”

    "Next week a new generation of aspiring youngsters will show Washington how they have tirelessly created a production that defines all aspects of the unique school they attend. As head of the Duke Ellington School, Rory Pullens said he is proud of his outstanding staff and the gifted students who willingly devote their energies to an intensive curriculum designed to help them reach their own dreams."

    Washington Examiner - Emily Cary

    Doing The Dream!

    As of this hour (10:18 PM Wednesday night and again, the night is not over),  we reached 5,343!!!!!  Wow!….

    It has nothing to do with revenue.  It has nothing to do with promotions or marketing.  It has nothing to do with visibility in the broader community.  It has EVERYTHING to do with these kids that YOUR blood, sweat, and hard work has molded, has shaped, has developed into the fine representation of Duke Ellington opening Dreamgirls tonight.  I am not fooled.  You were charged to take students who basically knew nothing; you were given no time, not enough personnel, too little money, and you have pulled off a miracle!  I already know this.

    Yes, I am proud of the students.  But I am equally as proud of the adults behind these students.  You have continued the legacy of this fine institution.  I didn’t mean for you to work quite like this to achieve it :), but I just want to say thank you for extending yourselves FAR beyond what you were expected to.  We are indebted to you in ways I cannot explain.

    But, just know this —- YOU DID THE DREAM!  You didn’t talk it, you didn’t just think about it, you didn’t leave it to someone else.  YOU DID THE THING!!  And that’s what it is all about!

    Rory Pullens
    Head of School / CEO
    Duke Ellington School of the Arts