Exclusive Coverage: Rehearsal with IRVING BERLIN: RAGS TO RITZES
The New York Pops orchestra - famous for presenting popular music with a symphony orchestra of the highest quality - celebrated the music of Irving Berlin in a stirring program entitled "Rags to Ritzes." Under the baton of guest director Jack Everly, the concert kicked off the orchestra's 29th season on October 14 with an evening of quintessentially American music.
The exciting performance featured guest artists Ashley Brown, Tony DeSare, James T. Lane, Hugh Panaro, and NaTasha Yvette Williams and includes Berlin classics such as "There's No Business Like Show Business," "Blue Skies," and "Puttin' on the Ritz", at Carnegie Hall's Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage.
Ashley Brown originated the title role of Disney's Mary Poppins on Broadway for which she received Outer Critics, Drama League and Drama Desk nominations for Best Actress. She has also starred on Broadway in The Beauty and The Beast and has performed with orchestras including the Boston Pops, the New York Philharmonic, The Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, The Pittsburgh Symphony, the New York Pops, the Cincinnati Pops, the Indianapolis Symphony, and the BBC orchestra opposite Josh Groban. Brown also recently made her cabaret debut at the renowned Feinstein's at the Regency in New York City. Brown released her debut album of American Songbook standards earlier this year.
Tony DeSare is a singer, pianist and songwriter. He was personally selected by Sam Arlen, son of Harold Arlen, the composer of classic songs like "Over The Rainbow" and "Stormy Weather," to perform with the Duke Ellington Orchestra at Birdland for the recent Harold Arlen Centennial. Desare also starred in the long running Off-Broadway musical smash, Our Sinatra, and has performed at the Café Carlyle and Feinstein's at the Regency, as well as with his quartet at major jazz rooms like Birdland and the Blue Note, and with his big band at Jazz at Lincoln Center. He has released three albums to date.
James T. Lane is an actor and dancer who made his Broadway debut in A Chorus Line in 2006. Lane has starred in many Broadway shows since then including Chicago and The Scottsboro Boys. He also appeared on "One Life to Live" as a James Brown impersonator.
Hugh Panaro is currently reprising his role as the Phantom in the iconic show The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway. Panaro's list of Broadway credits includes Les Miserables, The Red Shoes and Show Boat. He acted as Buddy Foster in the original production of Side Show, and David in the independent film, Broadway Damage. Panaro has also appeared in a number of concerts, including benefit shows at Joe's Pub, Birdland Jazz Club, and City Center.
NaTasha Yvette Williams is a psalmist, gospel singer, songwriter, and actress; she is the winner of the first annual Kraft Foods New Voices of Gospel Talent Search, which was held in New Orleans. Williams has played leading roles and performed in The Goodbye Girl, Cinderella, Seussical the Musical, Ain't Misbehavin', Joseph and Technicolor Dreamcoat, Little Shop of Horrors, Godspell, Boesman and Lena. Her television and movie credits include appearances on "One Life to Live", "Studio 54", and "Trippin".
Jack Everly is the Principal Pops Conductor of the Baltimore and Indianapolis Symphony Orchestras, Naples Philharmonic Orchestra and National Arts Centre Orchestra (Ottawa), and the Music Director of the National Memorial Day Concert and A Capitol Fourth on PBS. Originally appointed by Mikhail Baryshnikov, Everly was conductor of the American Ballet Theatre for 14 years, where he served as Music Director. In addition to his ABT tenure, he teamed with Marvin Hamlisch in Broadway shows that Hamlisch scored including, The Goodbye Girl, They're Playing Our Song, and A Chorus Line. Everly has also conducted the songs for Disney's animated classic, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and led the Czech Philharmonic on the CD "In the Presence".