Mercedes Ellington is a renowned director, choreographer and model whose work is seen throughout the United States and abroad. Shortly after graduating from the Juilliard School of Music, Ellington became a June Taylor Dancer on the "Jackie Gleason Show," the first and only woman of color to fill that position. In her native New York she has been involved with more than 10 Broadway shows, including "No, No, Nanette," "Hello Dolly!" and "Sophisticated Ladies" in which she performed as the feature dancer, assistant choreographer and dance captain. Her latest project, which opened on Broadway, is "Play On." It is an original adaptation of Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night," set in 1940s Harlem. This new musical features a score comprised of the music of Duke Ellington. Its West Coast premiere, prior to its Broadway opening garnered Ms. Ellington the prestigious Dramalogue Award for Best Choreography.
Through Ellington's varied career she has worked with many show business legends including Jerry Lewis, Dom DeLuise, Phyllis Diller, Della Reese and Eartha Kitt. Working with such great dance artists as Maurice and Gregory Hines, "Honi" Coles and Graciela Daniele inspired Ellington to form her own theatrical tap dance company, DancEllington. The company was well-received around the world and provided Ellington with a career transition from full-time performing to directing and choreographing. Other recent credits include co-directing "Music AIDS Harlem" at Lincoln Center and choreographing "Duke Ellington's Sacred Concert Music" at the Manhattan School of Music, featuring Wynton Marsalis. She has also directed and choreographed "Sonheim & Company," "Tuxedo Junction," "The Wizard of Oz," "L'Histoire Du Soldat" with the New York City Opera and "Yultide Celebration" with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.
To learn more about Mercedes visit: www.mercedesellington.com