Fran Drescher Will Host The American Pops Orchestra's '75 YEARS OF BARBRA STREISAND' Concert
Fran Drescher - the Emmy and Golden Globe-nominated actress and noted Barbra Streisand fan - will serve as celebrity host when Maestro Luke Frazier and The American Pops Orchestra present Don't Rain on My Parade: 75 Years of Barbra Streisand on Friday, January 13, 2017 at 8:00 PM.
The APO, Washington DC's innovative hometown orchestra, continues its all-star 2016-2017 season at The George Washington University's Lisner Auditorium (730 21st Street NW, Washington, DC). Streisand marks her landmark 75th birthday in 2017 and the APO will lead the way in honoring this legendary star with the lush sound of its 28-piece orchestra and special guests from stage and screen. This new evening celebrates the ten-time Grammy Award-winning actress and singer with career highlights ranging from Broadway standards and Hollywood hits to the Great Amercian Songbook and her pop chart-toppers.
Don't Rain on My Parade: 75 Years of Barbra Streisand will feature Broadway and concert stars Laura Osnes (Two time Tony Award nominee; Cinderella, Bandstand), Amber Iman (Shuffle Along, Soul Doctor), Will & Anthony Nunziata (Carnegie Hall, New York Pops), and Lindsay Mendez (Wicked, Significant Other). Recent additions to the cast include Lucia Spina (Broadway's Legally Blonde) and Bayla Whitten (Girlstar at the Signature Theater). The show is directed by Nathan Brewer.
"Streisand recorded so many extraordinary hits in so many styles," says Frazier, "and the American Pops Orchestra is thrilled to explore the diverse repertoire of this iconic artist. Barbra has been lauded as a political activist, as a pioneer for women and a force in comedy, but above all it's her lifetime of great songs that made their mark. The APO has created an exciting musical portrait with our diverse array of guest artists, each of whom capture the unique shades that truly makes Barbra 'the greatest star'."
The APO's 2016-2017 season will continue with a new family-oriented Cinderella (March 11) and You Spin Me 'Round: An 80s Dance Party (April 7). Tickets to the show are on sale now at www.TheAmericanPops.org.
The orchestra will continue their free monthly lunchtime concert series "Third Thursdays" - hosted by and featuring Luke Frazier - on Thursday, January 19 at 12:15 PM - with the APO's principal cellist, Sean Neidlinger. These events highlight members of the acclaimed ensemble at Live! at 10th and G (First Congregational UCC, 945 G Street NW, WDC 20001), while also supporting the DC Youth Orchestra Program, where Frazier is an Artist-in-Residence.
In addition to the regular concerts of the season, Frazier and the American Pops Orchestra recently performed at the Hispanic Heritage Awards in September 2016, which was nationally broadcast on PBS. Also this season, they appeared at the Beacon Prize, given by Human Rights First to honor commitment to the American ideals of freedom and human dignity, in December 2016; and the DC Standing Ovation Awards, celebrating excellence in the DC Public Schools, in February 2017.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS:
THE AMERICAN POPS ORCHESTRA founded by Luke Frazier presents innovative orchestral programming, featuring groundbreaking concepts to develop and inspire a new audience for the 21st century. This professional orchestra boasts outstanding musicians from New York and Washington DC. The American Pops presented six original orchestral programs in its opening 2015-2016 season, featuring leading Broadway singers, dancers, and actors. The orchestra's October 2015 performance of "Stairway to Paradise: A Gershwin Spectacular" - featuring two-time Tony Award winner Christine Ebersole - was hailed by DC Metro Theater Arts for "inspired arrangements of beloved Gershwin songs that reinvigorate the material and highlight the skill of his musicians." Another season highlight was "A Broadway Christmas" featuring Elaine Paige, the first Lady of the British Musical Stage. Other high-profile performances in the last year include a special event at The Kennedy Center hosted by Tommy Tune, the Hispanic Heritage Awards with Presidential Medal of Freedom winner Arturo Sandoval, the DC Standing Ovation Awards, theatreWashington's Helen Hayes Awards, and The Giving Pledge at the Smithsonian Institute's National Museum of American History. The APO made its New York debut in December 2015 at the all-star Edith Piaf Centennial Celebration at The Town Hall and was praised for its "sumptuous lilt" by The New York Times.
Luke Frazier has quickly established him as a dynamic force across the music community. Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Marvin Hamlisch put it best, calling Frazier "so talented, and sensitive to every nuance." Committed to re-envisioning pops programming, he has proven himself among musical heavyweights as both an accomplished conductor and a sensitive pianist. Frazier has worked with artists Renée Fleming, Kevin Spacey, Denyce Graves, Darren Criss, Lea Salonga, Laura Osnes, Eric Owens, Liza Minnelli, Chita Rivera, Rita Moreno, Christine Ebersole, and Michael Feinstein, among others.
He has the distinction of conducting in all three of the largest venues at the Kennedy Center. In addition to the APO, Mr. Frazier founded the National Broadway Chorus in Washington DC, which has toured through Indianapolis and Chicago, and was featured at the Great American Songbook Foundation Gala, where Mr. Frazier serves on the Board. Mr. Frazier also enjoys an active schedule as a guest conductor. He has recently appeared with the West Virginia Symphony, the Northwestern University Symphony Orchestra, and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis.
In demand as a clinician, adjudicator, and speaker, Luke recently addressed the National Symphony Orchestra's "Summer Music Institute" students. He appeared as the Keynote Speaker for the National Society of Arts and Letters (NSAL) Award for Excellence in the Arts at the Kennedy Center and also addressed the VSA, an international organization for the arts and disability. Luke returned to his alma mater, Ohio University, for a third year of master classes with Broadway talent as part of "Broadway at Ohio" in September 2016. He will also present an original program honoring the 100th anniversary of Ella Fitzgerald's birth with the DC Youth Orchestra in Spring 2017. Twitter: @LSFConductor - www.LukeFrazierMusic.com.
Fran Drescher has a reputation for passion and commitment. Her portrayal as the lovable "Miss Fine" on CBS's hit series "The Nanny," which she created and executive produced, earned her two Emmy and two Golden Globe nominations. An accomplished author, Fran received the prestigious NCCS writer's award for Cancer Schmancer, which was a New York Times bestseller as was her autobiography Enter Whining. A 16-year uterine cancer survivor, Fran turns pain into purpose through her leadership as a cancer advocate. Her mission is to shift America's focus toward proactive healthcare. As Founder, President and Visionary of the non-profit Cancer Schmancer Movement, she focuses on three prongs to fight the disease: Early Detection, Prevention and Advocacy. Fran uses her unique voice on Capitol Hill to advocate for a range of health issues and has won countless awards for her leadership in the health space, including the John Wayne Institute Woman of Achievement Award, the Gilda Award, and the City of Hope Woman of the Year Award.
Amber Iman starred on Broadway in Shuffle Along (Eva/Mattie Wilkes), and Soul Doctor (Nina Simone), in addition to roles Off-Broadway in A Civil War Christmas (NYTW), and Rent (New World Stages). Her regional theater credits include Man of La Mancha (Shakespeare Theatre Company; Helen Hayes Award Nominee, Best Actress in a Musical), Into the Woods (ALLIANCE THEATRE), and Stick Fly (Arena Stage/Huntington Theatre, IRNE Award Nominee, Best Supporting Actress). She has a BFA from Howard University and was a 2013 Clive Barnes Award nominee. Most recently, Amber produced "Broadway for Black Lives Matter" and is a proud founding member of the Broadway Advocacy Coalition. www.AmberIman.com.
Lindsay Mendez will be seen this spring on Broadway starring in Joshua Harmon's highly-acclaimed new play, Significant Other. On Broadway, she also starred as Elphaba in the smash hit, Wicked. Her time there included performances on "The Today Show" and "The Katie Couric Show," in celebration of the 10th Anniversary of the production. She received a Drama Desk nomination, Outer Critics Circle nomination, and a Drama League nomination for Outstanding Actress in a Musical for her performance as Rose Fenny in the Off-Broadway musical Dogfight. Lindsay was one of the stars of the Broadway revival of Godspell at the Circle in the Square Theatre. In 2010, she was seen on Broadway as a Mennonette to Sherie Rene Scott in Roundabout's Tony-nominated production of Everyday Rapture. She made her Broadway debut as Jan in the 2007 revival of Grease, directed by Kathleen Marshall. Off-Broadway, she has appeared in Dogfight (Second Stage), Everyday Rapture (Second Stage), Significant Other (Roundabout), and The Marvelous Wonderettes (West Side Theatre). Other favorite credits include: The Rose Tattoo (Williamstown Theater Festival), The Winter's Tale (Shakespeare in the Park, Delacorte), and 21 Chump Street as part of This American Life LIVE (BAM). She has performed in concert with the Lincoln Center American Songbook, Annapolis Symphony, and the Hartford Symphony. Notable New York venues include Feinstein's, Birdland, Subculture, the Delacorte, Joe's Pub and 54 Below. Last year, she was a featured singer inducting Marvin Hamlisch's music into the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. Lindsay is a renowned voice and acting coach for artists around the country. With composer Ryan Scott Oliver, she co-owns and runs Actor Therapy, an NYC based musical theater master-class series that mentors artists navigating the performing arts industry. www.actortherapynyc.com. Her debut album with jazz pianist Marco Paguia entitled This Time, is available for purchase on iTunes. @lindsaymendez
WILL & Anthony Nunziata are entertainers, recording artists, funny-men and advocates of arts in education. The Brooklyn-born, classically trained singing and comedy brother duo were hailed by The Huffington Post as "a nearly impossible pairing of talent, stage presence and charisma." This month the brothers make their Carnegie Hall debuts headlining alongside Liz & Ann Hampton Callaway and the New York Pops, under the baton of Steven Reineke. Will & Anthony have brought their distinct take on classic and contemporary songs to numerous performing arts centers and theaters, as well as symphony concerts with orchestras such as the Detroit Symphony, Cleveland Symphony, Colorado Symphony, Lancaster Symphony, Annapolis Symphony, Cape Cod Symphony, Toledo Symphony, and Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, to name a few. Featured on "Good Morning America" and "The Rachael Ray Show," Will & Anthony are extremely proud to have created their Arts in Education Outreach Program "Arts Matter!" in which they visit schools and conduct master classes with students, providing education and inspiration in supporting the arts as a significant component of young peoples' lives. Separately, Will is an acclaimed stage director and is the concert director for many of Broadway's Leading Ladies, including Tony Award winner LiLlias White. Anthony is an emerging songwriter whose songs are featured on the brothers' Christmas EP - The Gift Is You - which is available for purchase at iTunes, Amazon, and CD Baby. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @willandanthony. www.WillandAnthony.com.
Laura Osnes will return to Broadway this spring in the new musical Bandstand after creating the role of Julia Trojan in the Paper Mill Playhouse production. Her other Broadway credits include the title role in Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella (Drama Desk Award; Tony, Outer Critics Circle, Drama League and Astaire Award nominations), Bonnie in Bonnie and Clyde (Tony Award nomination), after creating the role at Asolo Repertory Theatre and La Jolla Playhouse (San Diego Theatre Critics Circle Award), Hope Harcourt in the Tony Award winning revival of Anything Goes (Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, and Astaire Award nominations), Nellie Forbush in Lincoln Center Theater's production of South Pacific, and Sandy in the most recent revival of Grease. Other New York/regional credits include The Threepenny Opera (Drama Desk Award nomination) at the Atlantic Theater Company; City Center Encores! productions of The Band Wagon, Randy Newman's Faust, and Pipe Dream; The Sound of Music in concert at Carnegie Hall; Carousel opposite Steven Pasquale at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, and Broadway: Three Generations at the Kennedy Center. On television, she has been seen on the CBS series "Elementary," the HBO pilot "The Miraculous Year," Sondheim: The Birthday Concert at Avery Fisher Hall, HBO's documentary Six By Sondheim, and the Kennedy Center Honors salutes to Barbara Cook (2011) and Dustin Hoffman (2012). Her many concerts and cabarets include performing with Michael Feinstein, the New York Philharmonic, the New York Pops, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, the Boston Pops, and the Pasadena Pops, as well as appearing in such venues as Carnegie Hall, The Café Carlyle, 54 Below, Lincoln Center, NJPAC, The Smith Center in Las Vegas, and MN Orchestra Hall. In addition to being heard on several cast recordings, Laura has two solo albums, Dream A Little Dream: Live at The Café Carlyle and If I Tell You: The Songs of Maury Yeston.
Lucia Spina was named "Best Female Vocalist" for BroadwayWorld's 2015 Cabaret Awards for her appearances at Joe's Pub, Town Hall, and most notably Feinstein's/54 Below, where she is a regular of the series Sondheim Unplugged, 54 Sings, and Simply Streisand to name a few. Her Broadway credits include Rona in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Enid in Legally Blonde, Les Miserables, South Pacific and the original cast of Kinky Boots. Off-Broadway credits include the original casts of Miller & Tysen's Fugitive Songs, as well as Silence! The Musical (Catherine Martin/Senator Martin) and its original cast album. Regional appearances include the Venticelli in Kwame Kwei-Armah's production of Amadeus at Centerstage, Nurse/Mrs. & Harriett in Sunday In The Park With George, and Osgood in Anyone Can Whistle both at the Ravinia Festival directed by Lonny Price with musical direction by Paul Gemignani. Proud graduate of North Central College. www.luciaspina.com
Bayla Whitten won BroadwayWorld's "Best Actress In A Musical" for her role in Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris. Her favorite credits include: (London's West End) Les Miserables, No One in the World, The Lord of the Rings, promo; (Regional) Girlstar at the Signature Theater, Elmer Gantry, Beaches, Camelot, My Fair Lady, Two Gentlemen of Verona (a rock opera), Chess, Saturday Night, Merrily We Roll Along, Christmas Carol 1941, The Boy Detective Fails; New York: Lady, Hurricane, In The Ebb. Bayla trained at The Royal Academy of Music and London School of Musical Theatre. She released her first album Something Wonderful, the music of Carole King, which she recorded at the JCCNV last year. Bayla can also be seen around town singing with the band Bittersweet. www.baylawhitten.com