The Cleveland POPS Orchestra with Carl Topilow pays tribute to the musical genius of Marvin Hamlisch in a special concert at 8:00 p.m. tonight, February 21st in Severance Hall. The concert will feature three of the performers who worked with Hamlisch and knew him well. Broadway legends Donna McKechnie, Jodi Benson, Doug LaBrecque, along with POPS conductor Topilow, will share behind-the-scenes experiences and personal conversations they had with Marvin.
The concert will consist of a generous selection of some of the best known and loved music written by the late composer for stage and screen, like "What I Did for Love," and "At the Ballet" from A Chorus Line; "The Way We Were," from the movie of the same name, "Sunshine, Lollypops and Rainbows" from the film Ski Party, "Through the Eyes of Love," from the movie Ice Castles, and many more.
Cleveland POPS Orchestra selections will include Overture from A Chorus Line, "Nobody Does It Better," from The Spy Who Loved Me, The Theme from the movie Sophie’s Choice, "The Entertainer" from the film The Sting, and the title song from the musical They’re Playing Our Song.
What: One Singular Sensation: A Tribute to Marvin Hamlisch
When: Friday, February 21, 2014 – Concert at 8:00 p.m.
Where: Severance Hall
Who: Cleveland POPS Orchestra – Carl Topilow, conductor
Guest Artists – Vocalists Donna McKechnie, Jodi Benson, Doug LaBrecque, and
members of the Cleveland POPS Chorus
Tickets: $20, $29, $40, $60, $82. Tickets for concerts at Severance Hall are available for purchase at the Severance Hall box-office, by calling 216-231-1111 or toll-free 800-686-1141 or online at www.clevelandpops.com. Group discounts are available by calling (216) 765-7677.
About the Cleveland POPS Orchestra
The Cleveland POPS with Carl Topilow has been entertaining audiences throughout greater Cleveland and Northeast Ohio for eighteen years. They are renowned for their exciting and innovative blend of popular music, standards, Broadway, show tunes, movie scores, swing and jazz performances. Each year they perform a five concert subscription series, a holiday concert and a special New Year’s Eve show. The Cleveland POPS is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization, supported in part by grants from Ohio Arts Council and the residents of Cuyahoga County through a public grant from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture. The Cleveland Pops office is located at 24000 Mercantile Blvd., Unit 8, and Cleveland, Ohio 44122. They can be reached at 216-765-7677 or on the web at www.clevelandpops.com.
GUEST ARTISTS BIOS
Donna McKechnie, the Tony Award winning star of A Chorus Line, is regarded internationally as one of Broadway’s foremost singing and dancing leading ladies. Last season she co-starred in John Doyle’s Ten Cents A Dance at The McCarter Theatre and Williamstown Theatre Festival.
Some of Ms. McKechnie’s Broadway credits include How To Succeed…, The Education of H*Y*M*A*N-K*A*P*L*A*N, Sondheim: A Musical Tribute (which she also choreographed), On The Town, Promises Promises, Company, and State Fair(Fred Astaire Award). She has starred in numerous regional plays and musicals, including Follies, Mack & Mabel, Gypsy, Love, Loss, and What I Wore, and productions in London’s West End, Tokyo, and Paris. Bob Fosse invited Donna to play the lead in his last production, a National tour of Sweet Charity, for which she was nominated for a Helen Hayes Award.
Donna has also performed extensively on the concert stage and with symphony orchestras, as well as numerous TV Specials and dramatic series, including Fame, Cheers, and Dark Shadows. One of the highlights of her recent professional life was to choreograph the highly acclaimed Guys and Dolls at the Hollywood Bowl, and to star in The Glass Menagerie and The Subject Was Roses for the River City Rep.
Ms. McKechnie’s memoir, Time Steps: My Musical Comedy Life was published by Simon and Schuster. She teaches a class in Musical Theatre Performance at HB Studios in New York, when time permits and is in constant motion with her one woman musical, My Musical Comedy Life.
She was featured in the documentary film, Every Little Step and was also featured in the film, 36 Saints, which was released in November 2012
Jodi Benson is honored and blessed to be a recipient of The Disney Legends Award having served the company for over 27 amazing years. Jodi has received worldwide recognition as the beloved, original voice of Ariel in the Academy Award winning Disney film The Little Mermaid. She continues to bring Ariel to life as well as the bubbly voice of Barbie in Disney/Pixar’s Golden Globe winner Toy Story 2 and Oscar winning Toy Story 3. Other films: Flubber (Weebo), Thumbelina, Tinkerbell: Secret of the Wings, The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Beginning, The Little Mermaid 2: Return to the Sea, Lady and the Tramp II (Lady) and as Patrick Dempsey’s assistant Sam, in Disney’s Enchanted– as a real person with legs!
Ms. Benson received nominations for the Tony Award and Helen Hayes Award for Best Actress in a Musical for originating Polly Baker in the Tony Award winning Gershwin musical Crazy For You. Other Broadway credits include creating the starring role of Doria Hudson in the Howard Ashman-Marvin Hamlisch musical Smile and others.
Her animated TV series include the Emmy winning "Camp Lazlo", "The Little Mermaid", "Sofia The First"(Disney) and many others.
As a concert soloist, Jodi has performed with symphonies all over the world, including The Boston Pops, The Philly Pops (conductor: Peter Nero), The Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, The National Symphony (conductor: Marvin Hamlisch), Tokyo, San Francisco and Chicago Symphonies, to name a few.
Jodi gives thanks to God for her loving husband, Ray, and amazing children, son, McKinley and daughter, Delaney.
Doug LaBrecque thrilled theatre audiences as The Phantom and Raoul in the Harold Prince production of The Phantom of the Opera. In addition, Mr. LaBrecque has starred on Broadway as Ravenal in the Hal Prince revival of Showboat, a role he also performed in Canada and Chicago. He was featured in Oscar Hammerstein’s 100th Birthday Celebration on Broadway at The Gershwin Theatre, and toured nationally with Les Miserables. Regionally, Mr. LaBrecque has performed leading roles in Candide, A Chorus Line, Man of LaMancha among many others. A graduate of University of Michigan he was also featured in the world premiere of A Wonderful Life, written by Sheldon Harnick and Joe Raposo, and starred in the premiere revival of Kurt Weill and Alan Jay Lerner’s Love Life.
One of the most prolific concert performers of his generation, Mr. LaBrecque has been a soloist with some of the world’s finest symphony orchestras including The National Symphony, The Israel Philharmonic (Tel Aviv), The Chicago Symphony, The Cleveland Orchestra, The Atlanta Symphony, The San Francisco Symphony, among many others. In the last few years, Mr. LaBrecque’s U.S. appearances have included Minnesota Orchestra, Detroit Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, Houston Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, New Jersey Symphony, Dallas Symphony, San Diego Symphony, Rochester Philharmonic, The Utah Symphony and with Marvin Hamlisch both at the Ravinia Festival with The Chicago Symphony, and with The Pittsburgh Symphony.
In a tribute to Richard Rodgers, Mr. LaBrecque recently made his Carnegie Hall debut as a soloist with the New York Pops, the same season he debuted with The Boston Pops. Alongside Jeff Tyzik, he appeared with both the St. Louis and Seattle Symphony’s for their Holiday Celebrations as well as numerous performances with The Naples Philharmonic. With Peter Nero he was featured in "Broadway Showstoppers" a live recording with Mr. Nero’s Philly Pops. Other special engagements have included singing with Carole Bayer-Sager at Feinsteins’s in Manhattan and the Cinegrill in Los Angeles, performing alongside broadway legend Jerry Herman with the Naples Philharmonic, and appearing onstage with Senators Ted Kennedy and Orrin Hatch (singing together!) at Hickory Hill, the legendary home of Ethel Kennedy.
International engagements have included The Korean National Symphony in Seoul, Korea, The Shanghai Radio Orchestra in China, The Hong Kong Philharmonic, The Vancouver and Calgary Symphonies in Canada, The Brazilian Symphony Orchestra in Rio De Janeiro, The Jerusalem Symphony, and numerous return engagements with the Israel Philharmonic. Mr. LaBrecque recently appeared in Alba Italy as the guest soloist in an all Bernstein concert and returned to the International Music Festival in The Czech Republic.