Broadway's Leslie Odom, Jr., Audra McDonald, Ashley Brown and More to Headline Milwaukee Symphony Pops' 2017-18 Season

The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra announced plans today for the 2017.18 Pops Season.

The season includes six subscription concerts: Under the Streetlamp with the cast of Chicago's Jersey Boys; Holiday Pops with Andreas Delfs; a semi-staged production of the beloved musical My Fair Lady; Great Balls of Fire! with pianist Tony DeSare; Patriotic Pops with Stuart Chafetz and Broadway star Capathia Jenkins; and Great American Songbook with Jeff Tyzik and vocalist Ashley Brown.

The season will also include three one-night-only concerts: A Canadian Brass Holiday with the Milwaukee Symphony Brass; Hamilton's Leslie Odom, Jr.; and Broadway legend Audra McDonald.

The MSO will ring in the New Year with the movie E.T., The Extra-Terrestrial, Steven Spielberg's sci-fi family classic, projected on a giant screen as the orchestra performs John Williams's Academy Award-winning score.

The MSO is also announcing plans today for its 2017.18 Family Series. Included on the schedule are the return of The Snowman: Film with Orchestra in December; Stravinsky's The Firebird with guest artists Enchantment Theatre Company in January; and in March, the MSO will present The Music of John Williams for families.


October 13-15, 2017
Under the Streetlamp

Yaniv Dinur, conductor
Michael Ingersoll, vocalist
Christopher Kale Jones, vocalist
Brandon Wardell, vocalist
Shonn Wiley, vocalist

Under the Streetlamp, Chicago's own cast of Jersey Boys comes to Milwaukee following two top-rated PBS specials. The program includes Doo-Wop, Motown, classic rock and more. Hits of The Drifters, The Beach Boys, The Beatles, and their "Four Seasons" mentors Frankie Valli and Bob Gaudio.

December 1-3, 2017
Holiday Pops

Andreas Delfs, conductor
MSO Chorus
Milwaukee Handbell Ensemble

Season after season, this is Milwaukee's holiday tradition. A sparkling holiday celebration with carols, sing-alongs and more, with the Milwaukee Symphony Pops under Andreas Delfs. And jolly old Saint Nick is the special guest!

February 9-11, 2018
My Fair Lady

Yaniv Dinur, conductor

The elegance and enchantment of Lerner and Loewe's My Fair Lady. The classic Broadway hit, in a semi-staged performance in Uihlein Hall. "I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face," "I Could Have Danced All Night," "On the Street Where You Live."

March 23-25, 2018
Great Balls of Fire!

Yaniv Dinur, conductor
Tony DeSare, piano and vocals

Ray Charles. Billy Joel. Elton John. Jerry Lee Lewis. The keyboard crashing songs that have energized generations. Nine decades. Twenty hits. And 88 keys! Tony DeSare is there to play and sing every note!

May 25-27, 2018
Patriotic Pops

Stuart Chafetz, conductor
Capathia Jenkins, vocalist

Let freedom ring! Celebrate America with Stuart Chafetz and the Milwaukee Symphony. Stirring Sousa spectaculars, favorite toe-tappers, and inspiring anthems. Broadway's Capathia Jenkins returns to the Pops to perform your favorite red, white and blue melodies.

June 22-24, 2018
Great American Songbook

Jeff Tyzik, conductor
Ashley Brown, vocalist

Her silver voice floated over Broadway as Mary Poppins. Now, Ashley Brown joins the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and Jeff Tyzik for great American songs. Irving Berlin. Jerome Kern. Cole Porter. George Gershwin. Richard Rodgers. The names that built the Great American Songbook. The music that made memories.

Pops Specials

Wednesday, November 29, 2017
A Canadian Brass Holiday

Canadian Brass
MSO Brass

Matthew Annin, horn
Matthew Ernst, trumpet
David Cohen, trumpet
Megumi Kanda, trombone
John Thevenet, bass trombone
TBD, percussion

Deck the halls - with Holiday Brass! Canadian Brass joins the Milwaukee Symphony brass for a holiday celebration. Favorite carols, holiday hits, and more. All with the verve and virtuosity of Canadian Brass.

December 30-31, 2017
E.T., The Extra-Terrestrial in Concert

Yaniv Dinur, conductor

The movie classic - Steven Spielberg's beloved E.T., The Extra-Terrestrial with John Williams's magical music performed live by the Milwaukee Symphony, as the film is projected on a giant screen. Perfect for the holidays, introduce the next generation to E.T.!

Friday, January 19, 2018
Leslie Odom, Jr.

Broadway's Hamilton: An American Musical star comes to Milwaukee! Direct from his Tony Award-winning role as Aaron Burr in Broadway's hottest hit, Leslie Odom, Jr. joins the Milwaukee Symphony for one performance only.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018
Audra McDonald

She electrified Broadway in Ragtime and Master Class. Now, the Tony award-winning Audra McDonald joins the Milwaukee Symphony for an evening of American song. From pop to standards and from Hollywood to Broadway. The Chicago Sun-Times raves, "...she is vocal beauty, with blazing emotional fire."

Family Series

Saturday, December 2, 2017
The Snowman: Film with Orchestra
and holiday carols
Yaniv Dinur, conductor

Sunday, January 28, 2018
The Firebird with Enchantment Theatre Company
Yaniv Dinur, conductor
Enchantment Theatre Company, guest artists

Sunday, March 11, 2018
The Music of John Williams
Yaniv Dinur, conductor


Stuart Chafetz, increasingly in demand with orchestras across the continent, will be on the podium in Seattle, Detroit, Naples, Phoenix, Cincinnati, Milwaukee, Vancouver and many more. He previously held posts as resident conductor of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and associate conductor of the Louisville Orchestra. As principal timpanist of the Honolulu Symphony for 20 years, Chafetz would also conduct the annual Nutcracker performances with Ballet Hawaii and principals from the American Ballet Theatre. It was during that time that Chafetz led numerous concerts with the Maui Symphony and Pops. He annually leads the Spring Ballet at the world-renownEd Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University. In the summers, Chafetz spends his time at the Chautauqua Institution, where he conducts the annual Fourth of July and Opera Pops.

Andreas Delfs, former music director of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and Staatstheater Hannover, keeps an active guest conducting schedule, including Tonkünstler-Orchester Wien, RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, Palm Beach Opera, Copenhagen Philharmonic, NCPA Orchestra China, NHK Symphony Orchestra Tokyo, Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, Staatsorchester Rheinische Philharmonie, the Phoenix and Alabama symphonies, and National Symphony Orchestra Washington. Among Andreas Delfs's most notable operatic achievements have been a production of the uncut version of Hans Werner Henze's monumental König Hirsch for the Württemberg State Theatre and a highly acclaimed production of Ariadne auf Naxos with Washington National Opera.

Yaniv Dinur has performed with orchestras in Israel, Europe, The United States, Canada and Mexico. He is a winner of numerous conducting awards, among them the 2nd Prize at the 2009 Mata International Conducting Competition in Mexico, and the Yuri Ahronovitch 1st Prize in the 2005 Aviv Conducting Competitions in Israel. He was chosen by the League of American Orchestras to be a featured conductor in the 2011 Bruno Walter Conducting Preview, and he is a recipient of the America-Israel Cultural Foundation and the Zubin Mehta Scholarship Endowment. Dinur started his conducting career at the age of 19, performing with the Israel Camerata, making him the youngest conductor ever to conduct an orchestra in Israel. Since then, he also conducted the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Jerusalem Symphony, Louisiana Philharmonic, New World Symphony, San Antonio Symphony, Tallahassee Symphony, Orchestra Giovanile Italiana, Orchestra di Padova e del Veneto, Orchestra Sinfonica Abruzzese, Pomeriggi Musicali in Milan, Solisti di Perugia, Torino Philharmonic, Portugal Symphony Orchestra, Sofia Festival Orchestra, State Orchestra of St. Petersburg, Orquesta Filarmónica de la UNAM in Mexico, and the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa.

GRAMMY Award-winner Jeff Tyzik holds The Dot and Paul Mason Principal Pops Conductor's Podium at the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and also serves as principal pops conductor of the Seattle Symphony, the Detroit Symphony, the Oregon Symphony, and The Florida Orchestra. This season, Tyzik will celebrate his 23rd season as principal pops conductor of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. Tyzik has appeared with the Boston Pops, Cincinnati Pops, Milwaukee Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, Toronto Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. Committed to performing music of all genres, Tyzik has collaborated with such diverse artists as Megan Hilty, Chris Botti, Matthew Morrison, Wynonna Judd,Tony Bennett, Art Garfunkel, Dawn Upshaw, Marilyn Horne, Arturo Sandoval, The Chieftains, Mark O'Connor, Doc Severinsen and John Pizzarelli. He has created numerous original programs that include the greatest music from jazz and classical to Motown, Broadway, film, dance, Latin, and swing.


Ashley Brown originated the title role in Mary Poppins on Broadway for which she received Outer Critics, Drama League and Drama Desk nominations for Best Actress. Brown also starred as Mary Poppins in the national tour of Mary Poppins where she garnered a 2010 Garland award for "Best Performance in a Musical." Brown's other Broadway credits include Belle in The Beauty and The Beast, and she has starred in the national tour of Disney's On The Record. Ashley recently returned to the Lyric Opera of Chicago to star in the role of Laurey in Oklahoma. She previously played Magnolia opposite Nathan Gunn in Francesca Zembello's Showboat at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Other projects include a star turn at the La Jolla Playhouse in a production of Limelight; The Sound of Music at the St. Louis MUNY which garnered her a Kevin Kline award; and her own PBS special called Ashley Brown: Call Me Irresponsible which received a PBS Telly AwarD. Brown's long-awaited album of Broadway and American Songbook standards is available on Ghostlight/Sony.

Canadian Brass has been a formidable force in the world of chamber music since its inception. The group has been hailed as the "Kings of Brass" by the press as it singlehandedly established brass as a major influence on the classical music scene at this moment in history. Masters of concert presentations, Canadian Brass has developed a uniquely engaging stage presence and rapport with audiences. Each of their concerts will show the full range from trademark Baroque and Dixieland tunes to new compositions and arrangements created especially for them - from formal classical presentation to music served up with lively dialogue and theatrical effects.

Capathia Jenkins recently starred as Medda in the hit Disney production of Newsies on Broadway. She made her Broadway debut in The Civil War, where she created the role of Harriet Jackson. She then starred in the Off-Broadway 2000 revival of Godspell, where she wowed audiences with her stirring rendition of "Turn Back, O Man" which can still be heard on the original cast recording. She returned to Broadway in The Look of Love and was critically acclaimed for her performances of the Bacharach/David hits. Jenkins then created the roles of The Washing Machine in Caroline, Or Change and Frieda May in Martin Short-Fame Becomes Me, where she sang "Stop the Show" and brought the house down every night. Her television credits include 30 Rock, The Practice, Law & Order:SVU, The Sopranos, and Law & Order. She can be seen in the 2012 film Musical Chairs directed by Susan Seidelman. She can be heard on the following film soundtracks: Nine, Chicago, Legally Blonde 2.

Named a Rising Star Male Vocalist in Downbeat magazine, Tony DeSare has lived up to this distinction by winning critical and popular acclaim for his concert performances throughout North America and abroad. From jazz clubs to Carnegie Hall to Las Vegas headlining with Don Rickles and major symphony orchestras, DeSare has brought his fresh take on old school class around the globe. DeSare has three top ten Billboard jazz albums under his belt and has been featured on the CBS Early Show, NPR, A Prairie Home Companion, the Today Show and his music has been posted by social media celebrity juggernaut, George Takei. Notwithstanding his critically acclaimed turns as a singer/pianist, DeSare is also an accomplished award-winning composer. He not only won first place in the USA Songwriting Contest, but has written the theme song for the motion picture, My Date With Drew, along with several broadcast commercials. DeSare releases new recordings, videos of standards and new originals every few weeks on his YouTube channel, iTunes, and Spotify.

Enchantment Theatre Company has produced original theater for school groups and families since 2000, when it was established as a non-profit arts organization in Philadelphia. The company presents only original work based on classic stories from children's literature, using its signature blend of masked actors, pantomime, magic, large-scale puppets, and original music. Building on the more than 30 years of theatrical experience of its artistic directors, Enchantment has quickly become known for high quality imaginative productions, not only in its home city but throughout the United States and the Far East. Enchantment has toured its original productions all over the world, appearing each year in more than 30-40 states. It has performed in such sophisticated urban arts venues as Lincoln Center in New York and the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington, as well as in small town high school auditoriums and even performance tents. In Philadelphia, Enchantment has appeared at the Kimmel Center and the Annenberg Center. The company has also toured the Far East six times, performing in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore. Enchantment has also shared the stage with more than 65 orchestras nationwide in its special symphonic works that pair great stories with great music for the benefit of school and family audiences.

Audra McDonald is unparalleled in the breadth and versatility of her artistry, as both a singer and an actress. The winner of a record-breaking six Tony Awards, two Grammy Awards, and an Emmy Award, she was named one of Time magazine's 100 most influential people of 2015 and received a 2015 National Medal of Arts - America's highest honor for achievement in the arts - from President Barack Obama. Blessed with a luminous soprano and an incomparable gift for dramatic truth telling, she is as much at home on Broadway and opera stages as she is in roles on film and television. In addition to her theatrical work, she maintains a major career as a concert and recording artist, regularly appearing on the great stages of the world. McDonald's other accolades include five Drama Desk Awards, five Outer Critics Circle Awards, four NAACP Image Awards nominations, an Ovation Award, a Theatre World Award, the Drama League's 2000 Distinguished Achievement in Musical Theatre and 2012 Distinguished Performance Award, a 2015 Rockefeller Award for Creativity, and Roundabout Theatre's 2016 Jason Robards Award for Excellence in Theatre. In 2015, and in 2013 she was honored as Musical America's "Musician of the Year," joining the esteemed company of previous winners such as Leonard Bernstein, Leontyne Price, Beverly Sills, and Yo-Yo Ma. Besides her six Tony wins, she has received nominations for her performances in Marie Christine and 110 in the Shade. In 2016, McDonald received an honorary doctorate from Yale University.

Multifaceted performer Leslie Odom, Jr. was the original Aaron Burr in the blockbuster hit musical Hamilton, for which he won a 2016 Tony for Lead Actor in A Musical. He is also a Grammy Award-winner as a principal soloist on Hamilton's Original Broadway Cast Recording, which won the 2015 award for Best Musical Theater Album. Odom, Jr. made his Broadway debut at the age of 17 in Rent, before heading to Carnegie Mellon University's prestigious School of Drama. On the small screen, Odom, Jr. is best-known for his roles in Smash and Law & Order: SVU. He's also appeared in episodes of Gotham, Person of Interest, Grey's Anatomy, House of Lies, Vanished, and CSI: Miami. On the big screen he starred in Red Tails, opposite Terrence Howard and Cuba Gooding Jr. Odom Jr. was raised in Philadelphia, and currently resides in New York City.

Under the Streetlamp, America's favorite vocal group with two PBS top specials and legions of faithful fans, performs an electrifying evening of classic hits from the American radio songbook. Exuding the irresistible rapport of a modern day Rat Pack, the quartet recent leading cast members of the Tony Award-winning musical Jersey Boys deliver an evening of unforgettable entertainment. You'll hear Doo Wop, Motown, old time Rock 'n' Roll and all of your favorite songs from The Drifters, The Beach Boys, The Beatles, and more. Plus a "show stopping" salute to Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.

The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, under the dynamic leadership of Music Director Edo de Waart, is among the finest orchestras in the nation and the largest cultural institution in Wisconsin. Now in his eighth and final season with the MSO, Maestro de Waart has led sold-out concerts, elicited critical acclaim, and conducted a celebrated performance at Carnegie Hall on May 11, 2012. The MSO's full-time professional musicians perform over 135 classics, pops, family, education, and community concerts each season in venues throughout the state. Since its inception in 1959, the MSO has found innovative ways to give music a home in the region, develop music appreciation and talent among area youth, and raise the national reputation of Milwaukee.

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