Amber Riley and Micah McLaurin Reimagine 'MacArthur Park' To Kick Off Pride Month

Amber Riley won the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical in 2017.

By: Jun. 04, 2024
Amber Riley and Micah McLaurin Reimagine 'MacArthur Park' To Kick Off Pride Month
Get Access To Every Broadway Story

Unlock access to every one of the hundreds of articles published daily on BroadwayWorld by logging in with one click.




Existing user? Just click login.

To kick off Pride month, actress and powerhouse vocalist Amber Riley has teamed up with virtuoso pianist and fast-rising pop artist Micah McLaurin to reimagine GRAMMY-winning songwriter Jimmy Webb’s hit single “MacArthur Park,” an enduring classic that has boasted chart-topping and GRAMMY-winning renditions sung by the likes of Donna Summer, Waylon Jennings, Richard Harris, Tony Bennett, and more. 

Basking in the disco ball glow of Donna Summer’s #1, multi-million selling live version, “MacArthur Park” sees Amber Riley and Micah McLaurin revarnish the dazzling megahit with a fresh sheen of retro gloss under the direction of producer Nick Patrick (Seal, The Beach Boys). A truly international collaboration, Amber Riley cut her vocals at LA’s historic Sunset Studios. The lavish, orchestral track features 60 musicians from The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, along with London’s top brass players, who recorded under the direction of GRAMMY-winning Steven Sidwell at London’s Abbey Road Studios and British Grove Studios. Bought together with a driving rhythm section recorded in Philadelphia, the pieces were assembled by Nick Patrick with the assistance of mixer Simon Hanhart (David Bowie, Elton John).

“I love the song and I thought it would be a fun collaboration moving into the summer,” shares Amber Riley on the single. “Not to mention, Micah’s arrangement is absolutely beautiful, adding a new flare to what is already a classic. I couldn't say no!”

“‘MacArthur Park’ is an iconic disco classic. When I heard it for the first time, I fell in love with it,” adds Micah McLaurin. “It’s so musical and complex, yet fabulous and fun. It’s the perfect combination of musical sophistication and accessibility without compromising on either. It piqued my curiosity into disco and pop music, and like other pieces I love, I just HAD to play it somehow. So, I started making the instrumental arrangement.”

“I am so happy with this next gen version of ‘MacArthur Park,’” concludes Jimmy Webb. “It is an absolutely super production. Amber’s vocal performance is stunning, I invite her to sing more of my songs. What Micah, Amber, Nick Patrick, and Larry Gold have done is exciting, full of life and style.  My original writing and arranging of this song was ambitious and this 2024 version is equally ambitious; listeners are sure to recognize their craftsmanship.”

About Amber Riley

Amber Riley is a multi-faceted entertainer who has accumulated various titles over the years including GRAMMY-nominated singer, SAG Award-winning actress and acclaimed theater performer. The Compton native rose to success for her portrayal of “Mercedes Jones” on FOX’s critically-acclaimed series, Glee, where she shined as the show’s powerhouse vocalist. Riley went on to star in live TV adaptations of The Wiz Live! & The Little Mermaid Live! She is also notably known for her stunning performance as “Effie White” in the West End debut of Dreamgirls in the fall of 2016, for which, she won the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical in 2017. 

In 2020, Amber released her debut EP, titled after her new moniker, RILEY, which received praise from outlets like Good Morning America, ESSENCE, Interview, ELLE, UPROXX, VIBE and Rated R&B. Riley made history in 2022, becoming the first celebrity ever to win both The Masked Singer and Dancing With The Stars. Most recently, she starred in the Lifetime original film, Single Black Female 2: Simone’s Revenge, which is the sequel to the 2022 film that brought in over 8 million total viewers and was the network’s No. 1 original non-holiday movie of 2022. This May, Amber is starring as “Julia Biggs” in the world premiere musical, THE PREACHER’S WIFE, featuring an original score by fellow acclaimed entertainer, Tituss Burgess, which is inspired by the 1996 hit holiday film of the same name starring Whitney Houston & Denzel Washington. Later, this year Riley will also voice the sea-witch nemesis “Ursula” on Disney Junior’s Ariel alongside Taye Diggs as well as release the follow-up to her 2020 debut EP.

About Micah McLaurin

Born in Charleston, South Carolina, Micah McLaurin trained at the Curtis Institute of Music and Juilliard. Micah has performed as soloist with major orchestras around the world, including the Cleveland Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Orquestra Filarmónica de Montevideo and the Charleston Symphony Orchestra. He is a winner of the Gilmore Young Artist Award, an award given biannually to the two most promising young pianists in the United States. Micah is a laureate of the Ettlingen International Competition for Young Pianists, Hilton Head International Competition, and Thomas and Evon Cooper International Piano Competition.

Developing his own artistry outside of the confines of classical music where he was left little opportunity for his own voice to flourish, Micah reimagined a collection of standards with deep personal meaning in his 2023 instrumental album Diamonds. Bridging classical and pop, Diamonds  was recorded with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra alongside an all-star team including Nick Patrick and GRAMMY-recognized arrangers and composers David Campbell (Elton John, Taylor Swift, Miley Cyrus, Adele), Chris Walden (Aretha Franklin, Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder), and Robin Smith (Andrea Bocelli, Tina Turner, Cher).

Receiving acclaim from Paper Magazine, V Magazine, Vanity Fair, WWD, Marie Claire, Page Six, Queerty, Pride.com, and more, Micah is embracing the full range of his artistry and artistic identity after suppressing who he really was. Finding respite in queer culture upon moving to New York, he harnessed his virtuosic talent to celebrate what makes him unique and in that process released his viral “Rhapsody in Gaga” piano medley and virtuosic “Madonna Medley” via Casa Doce Music. Now breaking into the pop world with his original singles “MOONS,” “Don’t Give Up On Love,” and “Let’s Go To France,” Micah is collaborating with some of the industry’s hottest producers to create music that connects with his true self. 

Photo credit: Alfredo Flores and Boyang Hu



Comments

To post a comment, you must register and login.



Videos