American Pops Orchestra to Feature Michelle Williams
Maestro LUKE FRAZIER and THE AMERICAN POPS ORCHESTRA - Washington, DC's innovative hometown orchestra - have announced their all-star 2017-2018 season. The diverse line-up will include a tribute to legendary soul singer Aretha Franklin, a special evening combining yoga with the APO's favorite standards, a new family show based on the classic tale Around the World in 80 Days, and a program celebrating the wit of iconic songwriter Cole Porter. Unless otherwise noted, all shows are at the Orchestra's new home, Arena Stage at The Mead Center for American Theater (1101 Sixth Street SW). Tickets to all shows are now on sale at www.TheAmericanPops.org.
The APO will launch the season with a benefit event featuring a rare DC-area appearance of vocalist Marilyn Maye on Sunday, August 20 at 3:00 PM at Arena Stage at The Mead Center for American Theater. Tickets are $120 and include a concert by Ms. Maye, the Grammy Award nominated singer who performed 76 times on "The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson." She will be joined by renowned pianist Tedd Firth. The two hour event with include hors d'oeuvres, champagne, drinks and dessert.
"This will prove to be our best season yet, with musical selections and styles for everyone," says Luke Frazier. "I am thrilled to be moving to the beautiful facilities of Arena Stage at The Mead Center for American Theater. We are dedicated to sharing the best American music highlighting our own homegrown ideals of inclusivity. The APO is partnering with Victory Heights and Sunrise Retirement Community to provide high quality music to seniors around the region. We are also continuing our community partnerships providing free and reduced tickets to those in need."
Respect: The Music of Aretha Franklin
featuring Moya Angela, Ariana DeBose, Nova Payton, Bria Skonberg
and Michelle Williams of Destiny's Child
Saturday, September 16, 2017, 8:00 PM
18 Grammys, 75-million records sold, one incomparable artist - Aretha Franklin. Celebrate the music of Ms. Franklin in a concert that highlights some of the greatest hits of her career, including "A Natural Woman," "Chain of Fools," "Spanish Harlem," and "Since You've Been Gone." Featuring Michelle Williams (Destiny's Child), Ariana Debose (Hamilton, A Bronx Tale), Bria Skonberg (Sony Records Jazz Recording Artist, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center), Moya Angela ("America's Got Talent," In Transit, Dreamgirls), and Nova Payton (Helen Hayes Award winner, Carnegie Hall).
Tranquility: Yoga with the American Pops Orchestra
with yoga teacher Michael Peterson
Saturday, November 12, 2017, 6:30 PM
Music. Movement. Mindfulness. Enjoy a tranquil 70-minute yoga practice accompanied by members of The American Pops Orchestra. Songs from the greatest American singer songwriters will be combined in a fresh 70-minute composition designed to marry music and movement. This performance is presented in partnership with the IMF and held at the IMF headquarters at 1900 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Around the World in 80 Days
featuring Hilary Morrow, Tiara Whaley, Nurney Mason and more
written by Broadway's Claybourne Elder
Saturday, January 6, 2018, 2:00 PM and 5:00 PM - Two Performances
No one thinks Phileas Fogg can do it, but this eccentric adventurer won't be stopped! He believes he can achieve the unthinkable and sets out on a daring race against time. Phileas must travel around the globe and return to London in just 80 days, with Detective Fix hot on his heels trying to stop him. In this hilarious and epic adventure, Phileas leaves the solitary life he loves and must learn to rely on newfound friends. Told through songs from the Great American Songbook, this world premiere production revisits Jules Verne's timeless classic Around the World in 80 Days in a musical adventure for all ages. After last season's family show sold out, a second performance has been added for this year.
Let's Misbehave: Cole Porter After Dark
featuring Liz Callaway, Kevin McAllister, Mary Michael Patterson, Mo Rocca and more
Saturday, May 19, 2018, 8:00 PM
It's no secret that Cole Porter loved to be mischievous. Misbehave to his timeless songs, paired with some of the funniest personal ads from the era of online dating. Musical selections include "Anything Goes," "So in Love," "You're the Top," and "Love for Sale." Featuring Mo Rocca ("CBS Sunday Morning," NPR's "Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!"); Kevin McAllister (Helen Hayes Award winner); Liz Callaway (voice of Anastasia, Tony Award nominee); and Mary Michael Patterson (Phantom of the Opera, Anything Goes).
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. Highlights of the first season included the orchestra's performance of "Stairway to Paradise: A Gershwin Spectacular" featuring two-time Tony Award winner Christine Ebersole - which 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" - and "A Broadway Christmas" featuring Elaine Paige, the first Lady of the British Musical Stage. APO's second season included a 75th birthday concert for Barbra Streisand, hosted by Fran Drescher; a celebration of the 80s, hosted by Olympic champion Greg Louganis; and a special World War II-era evening commemorating Veterans Day.
Other high-profile performances include a special event at The Kennedy Center hosted by Tommy Tune; the Hispanic Heritage Awards with Presidential Medal of Freedom winner Arturo Sandoval, which was nationally broadcast on PBS; theatreWashington's Helen Hayes Awards; The Giving Pledge at the Smithsonian Institute's National Museum of American History; the Beacon Prize, given by Human Rights First to honor commitment to the American ideals of freedom and human dignity; and the DC Standing Ovation Awards, celebrating excellence in the DC Public Schools.
The APO made its New York debut in December 2015 at the all-star Edith Piaf Centennial Celebration at The Town Hall. According to The New York Times, "As much as any individual singer, what warmed the evening was the sumptuous lilt of the American Pops Orchestra, conducted by Luke Frazier." www.TheAmericanPops.org
LUKE FRAZIER, a rapidly rising star in the Pops world, has proven himself among musical heavyweights as both an innately musical conductor and a sensitive pianist. His commitment to re-envisioning pops programming has quickly established him as a dynamic force across the music community. Frazier has proved his versatility and range by conducting in venues both major and intimate, from Lincoln Center to Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center to the Rainbow Room. Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Marvin Hamlisch put it best, calling Frazier "so talented, and sensitive to every nuance."
As a testament to his mission to reimagine pops programming, Frazier founded the American Pops Orchestra in 2015 presenting all original programming. His commitment to the American Songbook is also evident through his involvement on the Board of the Great American Songbook Foundation. 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. In addition to founding the National Broadway Chorus in Washington DC, he presented an original program honoring the 100th anniversary of Ella Fitzgerald's birth with the DC Youth Orchestra in Spring 2017.
Mr. Frazier has worked with artists such as Kevin Spacey, Darren Criss, Vanessa Williams, Liz Callaway, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Mo Rocca, Lea Salonga, Laura Osnes, Eric Owens, Liza Minnelli, Chita Rivera, Rita Moreno, Lindsay Mendez, Renée Fleming, Michael Feinstein, Christine Ebersole, Elaine Paige, Arturo Sandoval, and Norm Lewis, among many others.