Tribute to Diana Ross coming to Lone Tree center stage

Mary Louise Lee and her orchestra bring iconic music to life


Diana Ross’ powerful musical career is the focus for a new show developed by Mary Louise Lee and the Mary Louise Lee Orchestra — and it’s booked for Sept. 21 at Lone Tree Arts Center. Lee will lend her strong voice to recreate this story of Ross, the Supremes and Motown for a 2019 audience.

Lee’s “Tribute to Diana Ross” program will bring a focus to the lead singer of the Supremes, a Detroit native, who continued an active role as a performer after she left the Supremes in 1970 and launched into a solo career with million-plus-selling albums/gold records.

Other members of the Supremes were Mary Wilson and Florence Bullard, whom she met as a young member of a Baptist church gospel choir. The group was increasingly popular in the 1960s across the nation and internationally. Ross is still active at 75.

Since 2006, when the Mary Louise Lee Band was formed, Lee has delivered R&B, soul, contemporary jazz, traditional jazz and Top 40 music to many audiences — as a trio, a quartet, the band and the orchestra, which will perform “A Diana Ross Tribute” at Lone Tree Arts Center.

Lee, who plays another distinctive role as Denver’s first lady, started performing at an early age — as a senior at Thomas Jefferson High School in Denver, she was cast in a show at the Garner Galleria at Denver Center for the Performing Arts.

She has since performed for overseas troops, in countries around the world and at home in Colorado: for the Governor’s Inaugural Gala, Democratic National Convention, First Ladies of Jazz concert with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, Winter Park Jazz Festival, Capitol Hill People’s Fair, Cherry Creek Art Festival, the Clock Tower in Denver and in many, many more venues.

Audiences at Town Hall Arts Center in Littleton enjoyed her presence in the cast of “Ain’t Misbehavin’” in the spring of 2018, which brought us music by Fats Waller and others.

In July 2019, Lee received the Henry Award as Outstanding Actress in a Musical from the Colorado Theatre Guild for her performance as Caroline, a black maid who worked for a Jewish family in 1963 Louisiana, in the play, “Caroline, or Change” at the Aurora Fox. The role required considerable acting skills as well as a fine singing voice. Lee’s involvement undoubtedly brought extra attention to the play and to the Aurora Fox.

“Caroline, or Change” was written by Tony Kushner, with music by Jeanine Tesori. The director was Kenny Moten.

Lee actively supports the Bringing Back the Arts Foundation in Denver, which offers added opportunities for schoolchildren and others to experience a wide variety of art forms in the area. Art programs for Denver Public Schools are a particular foundation focus.


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