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Born to Swing

Two Distinct Jazz Eras about a Piano Legend and a Musical Chameleon

Born To Swing is a Broadway-style musical that exposes an unknown event in music history to the world. This story is based on the life of Harlem born, Lillette Jenkins-Wisner who was a renowned Concert Pianist. She rose to fame during the 1940s through the 1980s as Lillette Harris but was later known as Lillette Jenkins-Wisner.

The musical BORN TO SWING tells the story of her 85-year career as a concert pianist, composer/arranger, entertainer, and philanthropist. The story tells how she and her husband, Actor & Comedian Bud Harris in1945 were the first Blacks to own Lillette’s Rhythm Club, a Nightclub, Casino, and Hotel in Sparks-Reno Nevada during the racially charged Jim Crow era. While performing concerts around the world she and her husband entertained the troops for four years in the USO during World War II. Lillette later recorded five separate jazz and gospel albums that are still selling. Films, TV, Broadway, and Off-Broadway shows as Musical Director are also part of her legendary career.

Lillette has shared the stage with music legends who were friends like Nat “King” Cole, who after recording the song “Lillette” dedicated it in her honor. Just to name a few she also shared the stage with greats like Cab Calloway, Lena Horne, Billy Joel, Ray Charles, and Duke Ellington who nicknamed her “Queen of the Keys.” BORN TO SWING is penned by her daughter, Publicist & Producer Adrienne Lillette Harris, as a love letter to her mother who died from Alzheimer’s disease at the age of 96 in 2020. Adrienne remarks: “In spite of her diagnosis, my mother could play the piano for up to three days before she passed away.” Lillette spent her final years in Columbia, Md with her two daughters and family.

Song Stylist and Actress MzChele Harris is cast as Lillette’s alter ego in the Jazz Revue and narrates the story brilliantly through visuals, music, and dance. She is accompanied by some of the best musicians directed by Musical Director and Pianist Jeanine McAdams. Don’t miss this awesome tribute going on the road with previews in 2024-2025!

The “Born To Swing” musical is exciting. It depicts the Rhythm Club events while introducing 18 of Lillette Harris'Jazz arrangements from a variety of Broadway Shows along with choreographed dance moves and more…. It’s a show not to be missed.  

 Lillette passed away on August 25, 2020, but her work and legacy still live on…

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