Sunset Playhouse
Press Release

Award-winning singers pay tribute to Jazz greats

Music of Fitzgerald & Torme comes to Sunset Playhouse in May

By - Apr 26th, 2017 07:02 pm

Milwaukee based musicians, Johnny Rodgers and Ellen Winters, will return to the stage to perform their critically acclaimed Jazz cabaret “Ella Meets Mel” May 18-21 at Sunset Playhouse in Elm Grove. The two, who met in the 90’s at Western Michigan University, take turns whipping through dramatic scat solos, iconic standards, some rare duets and even create a “wish list” of songs that Fitzgerald and Torme never got to sing together. 2017 is the Centennial of Ella Fitzgerald’s birthday, April 25, 1917, and tributes to the First Lady of Jazz are circling the globe.

Winters, raised in Milwaukee, is a mainstay on the Milwaukee/Chicago Jazz scene and an active voice teacher in both cities. She has won “Best of Milwaukee” Shepherd Express awards and has been nominated for several WAMI awards (including 2017 as Best Jazz Artist.) Ellen has been featured in performances in New York City, Minneapolis, Chicago – all to critical acclaim. She continues to travel throughout the U.S. as a performer, teacher and clinician.

Rodgers, a new Milwaukee resident, is an internationally celebrated singer-songwriter, recording artist, pianist, Broadway veteran (serving as performer, piano player and Music Director for Liza Minelli’s Tony Award winning “Liza’s At The Palace.”)  Johnny is described by Stephen Holden from The New York Times as an entertainer: “who has show-business in his bones [with] fused elements of Billy Joel, Peter Allen and Johnny Mercer.” Johnny tours world-wide for the U.S. Department of State, including performances with the Moscow Symphony Orchestra, Igor Butman and his Jazz Orchestra, as well as the US Embassy’s Independence Day Celebration and Grodno Jazz Festival in Minsk, Belarus.  He has earned New York’s Nightlife, Bistro and MAC awards for performances at Carnegie Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Oak Room at the Algonquin Hotel, Feinstein’s at Loews Regency, and other premiere clubs. His songwriting has been recognized with Billboard and ASCAP Foundation awards.

Winters and Rodgers opened this show in 2014 to rave reviews in the Chicago Tribune and are represented by LML Music Presents, out of Los Angeles. Tickets to “Ella Meets Mel” are available at the Sunset Playhouse Box Office: 262-782-4430 or by visiting

NOTE: This press release was submitted to Urban Milwaukee and was not written by an Urban Milwaukee writer. It has not been verified for its accuracy or completeness.

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