‘Queen of the Keys’: Lillette Jenkins-Wisner’s story to hit St. Petersburg stage

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – In February, we introduced you to world-renowned concert pianist Lillette Jenkins-Wisner—a woman who made a name for herself for decades as the amazing ‘Queen of the Keys.’

In her heyday, Lillette Jenkins-Wisner was in high demand.

“My mom is 93-years-old and there’s not a star she hasn’t played for from Frank Sinatra to Lena Horne to Ray Charles… I mean you name it,” said her daughter, Adrienne Harris, a publicist.

“I mean Duke Ellington named her ‘Queen of the Keys,’” Harris continued.

Next week, concertgoers will have the opportunity to see the part of Harris’ life involving her late husband, Bud Harris, an actor and her biggest champion.

Harris was a star in his own right—he could be seen in feature films like the 1939 movie “Moon Over Harlem.”

Her family is honoring the couple’s legacy through a stage production called “Lillette’s Rhythm Club,” which is based on the club they opened 72 years ago.

“They had their own nightclub, casino and hotel in 1945,” Harris said.

The couple was African-American royalty, and the musical is a tribute to the king and “Queen of the Keys.”

“It’s just an exciting story, I want everyone to come out and just have fun.”

Jade Simmons plays Jenkins-Wisner in the musical, and she’s a force on the keys as well.

Adrienne says no one should miss this production.

“Lillette’s been a pillar in this community she’s raised a lot of money for a lot of people and lot of organizations as well as just sharing her talent so I’m just excited that people want to come out and see the story.”

The production will be held at the Palladium in St. Petersburg, Sunday, June 18 at 3 pm Eastern time.

Click here for ticket information.

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