Mar 20, 2014
11:55 AMArts & Entertainment
Ella Fitzgerald to Grace Marlborough Arts Center, as Interpreted by Ashly Cruz
She could be called a modern day musical Renaissance woman. There is hardly a style Connecticut-native Ashly Cruz hasn't tried – from the unique sound of French songstress Edith Piaf to her fast-paced rock band Cruz Machine.
She has moved fluidly between styles over the years because, above everything, Cruz considers herself a performer. The bug got into her young – joining the Hartford Ballet Company at age 7 – and she hasn't been able to shake it yet. She doesn't want to.
The vivacious 43-year-old is never more alive than when she is in front of an audience.
On March 28, her audience will be at the Marlborough Arts Center as part of its “4th Friday @ the Arts Café” – a monthly event at the nonprofit organization that brings together entertainers and those looking to be entertained.
The mission of the arts center is to "foster creativity appreciation and enjoyment of fine arts, performing arts, fine crafts and regional history through educational programs, exhibitions and performances."
This is not Cruz’s first time performing for the arts center's audience. During her last stop she offered up an international cabaret show combining her love of French, Spanish and Broadway music.
See Cruz in the music video for her single "My Tango Baby" from her solo album "A Bailer (Let's Dance)."
“I was blown away by the support from the area,” Cruz says of her first performance. “It’s a beautiful, mini museum. I felt like I was transported to Europe. There was that kind of intimacy. It was wonderful to connect with an audience from this area who appreciated all the diversity I threw at them.”
This time, the Coventry-based Cruz promises something new for audiences. They will get Ella – Ella Fitzgerald that is. The veteran performer has been working on a new act featuring the catalogue of the jazz legend.
“It’s a pleasure to do her music and have an audience that appreciates it,” says Cruz. "I've started to have a look about myself of that time period. I don't want to be her but incorporate her beautiful music. She was the queen of jazz and she touched many people."
The show combines the classics of Fitzgerald with the charisma that is uniquely Cruz's. Years as a cabaret performer have perfected her interaction with an audience.
Until the venue closed in 2004, she performed her act, which combined merengue, salsa, cumbia, bachata, disco and rock music, every Friday and Saturday night at La Vie En Rose Bistro in New London.
“It will be a lot of fun,” Cruz says of her upcoming performance. She admits she won’t be able to avoid adding a little French and Spanish music into the mix, and she promises there will be something for everyone.
The show begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $8 each or $15 for a couple. Attendees can bring their own wine, but other refreshments will be available. Visit the Marlborough Arts Center website for more information.