The Philly POPS to Perform with Jennifer Hudson, Susan Egan in WAWA WELCOME AMERICA Performances

The Philly POPS to Perform with Jennifer Hudson, Susan Egan in WAWA WELCOME AMERICA Performances

The Philly POPS will give three performances during the annual Wawa Welcome America Festival, including POPS on Independence with Disney Princess Susan Egan and POPS on the Parkway with Academy and GRAMMY award-winning superstar Jennifer Hudson.

These concerts are free of charge, and open to all. These POPS Salute Series performances are presented by Comcast NBCUniversal.

July 3: POPS on Independence, 7 p.m.

The Philly POPS continues its 40-year tradition of performance in front of Independence Hall in POPS on Independence.

With the stunning backdrop of Independence Hall, Music Director Todd Ellison will conduct the 65-piece orchestra in a patriotic show, mixing Great American Songbook classics with today's popular music, along with a glimpse into the POPS 2019-2020 TOPS of the POPS Season.

This year, the POPS will be joined by Broadway sensation and Disney princess Susan Egan. Susan played Belle in the original Broadway production of Beauty and the Beast (for which she received Tony and Drama Desk Award nominations), was the voice of Megara in the movie Hercules, has appeared in many hit TV shows, and has released seven solo albums. Previously, Susan appeared with the POPS in 2018's Best of Broadway concert series.

July 4: POPS at the Celebration of Freedom, 10 a.m.

Music Director Todd Ellison and The Philly POPS BIG Band return to Independence Hall for POPS at the Celebration of Freedom. The BIG Band's swinging patriotic performance will accompany the City's Celebration of Freedom Ceremony, which will include a reading of the Declaration of Independence, the presentation of Mayor Jim Kenney's Magis Award, and the presentation of the Wawa Foundation Hero Award. To complement the City's recognition of Philadelphia music legend Patti LaBelle, The Philly POPS BIG Band will play a Patti LaBelle medley. Finally, frequent POPS collaborator Tiffany Jones will perform with four local high school students in an arrangement of "This Land is Your Land"/"My Country 'Tis of Thee."

The Celebration of Freedom begins at 10 a.m., followed by the annual July 4 Parade, routing from Independence Mall to Penn's Landing.

July 4: POPS on the Parkway, 7 p.m.

The Philly POPS BIG Band takes the Benjamin Franklin Parkway stage for a third year running-in its biggest performance yet. In POPS on the Parkway, The Philly POPS BIG Band + Strings, under the direction of Music Director Todd Ellison, will play alongside Academy and Grammy Award-winning international superstar Jennifer Hudson.

After an evening of performances, the city's grand finale fireworks show will bring the festivities to a close.

About Susan Egan

Susan Egan has made powerful impressions in theatre, film, television and music. As a Broadway actress, she received Tony Award® and Drama Desk® nominations for "Best Actress" as Broadway's original "Belle" in Disney's Beauty and the Beast, headlined as Thoroughly Modern Millie, won critical acclaim as "Sally Bowles" in Cabaret, originated the leading roles in Triumph of Love and State Fair, and starred alongside Carol Burnett in Putting It Together at the Mark Taper Forum and Tommy Tune in the national tour of Bye, Bye Birdie. She is best known to animation fans as "Rose Quartz/Pink Diamond" on Cartoon Network's hit Steven Universe, sassy "Megara" in Disney's Hercules, "Lin" in the Academy Award-winning Spirited Away, "Gina" in Porco Rosso, "Angel" in Lady and the Tramp II, and more. She's been seen on film in 13 Going on 30, Gotta Kick It Up for the Disney Channel, and many award-winning indies, and spent two seasons on WB's Nikki and guest-starred on Modern Family, House, Numbers, NYPD Blue, Arli$$, Drew Carey, Party of Five, Great Performances, and others.

Egan has over 400 solo concert credits with symphonies worldwide, including concerts at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and the Hollywood Bowl, and has more than 40 recordings credits with 7 solo CDs. In 2018, Egan formed a company with fellow Broadway stars Laura Osnes and Courtney Reed, and musical director Benjamin Rauhala - they are currently touring their award-winning concert, Broadway Princess Party, reaching theatre and cosplaying fans in kingdoms near and far.

Susan is an accomplished master teacher in music performance, obsessive gardener, happy wife, and mom to two daughters... who have no interest in princesses. @IAmSusanEgan, @BwayPrincessPty

About Jennifer Hudson

A two-time Grammy Award-winning recording artist, Academy Award-winning actress and best-selling author, Jennifer Hudson is an extraordinary talent. From humble beginnings, Hudson began singing in a small Chicago church where, week after week, she brought the congregation to its feet. From there, she's gone on to worldwide acclaim.

Hudson was most recently seen as a returning coach on ITV's eighth season of "The Voice UK" with fellow coaches Tom Jones,, and Olly Murs. This past year, she returned for her second time and winning coach to season 7 of "The Voice UK" and for her second time to season 15 of NBC's "The Voice" alongside Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, and Kelly Clarkson. Jennifer will soon be seen in Tom Hooper's upcoming film adaption of "CATS." Hudson's song, "I'll Fight," written by Grammy-winning songwriter Diane Warren for the critically acclaimed documentary, "RBG," was nominated for a 2019 Academy Award.

In 2016, Jennifer appeared in NBC's Emmy-nominated production of "Hairspray LIVE!", where she wowed audiences as powerhouse Motormouth Maybelle alongside co-stars Harvey Fierstein, Ariana Grande and Kristin Chenoweth. The same year, she was honored by the March of Dimes with their Grace Kelly Award.

Hudson made her Broadway debut as Shug Avery in 2015 in the Tony award-winning production of John Doyle's re-imagination of "The Color Purple." The show, produced by Scott Sanders and Oprah Winfrey, earned rave reviews and a Grammy win for Hudson. She was also nominated for a Drama League Award in the category of Distinguished Performance.

Hudson's 2008 self-titled debut won a Grammy Award for "Best R & B Album," which was presented by one of Hudson's idols, Whitney Houston. She received three additional nominations including "Best Female R&B Vocal Performance," "Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals" and "Best R&B Song." The album then went on to win three awards at the 2009 NAACP Image Awards including "Best Album."

In 2007, Hudson won an Academy Award for her role as "Effie" in the smash hit "Dreamgirls," an adaptation of the Broadway musical. Her breakout film performance also garnered a Golden Globe Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award, a BAFTA and an NAACP Image Award.

In 2009, Jennifer, along with her sister Julia, founded The Julian D. King Gift Foundation, as a catalyst for change in children's health, education and welfare. The Foundation exists to provide stability, support and positive experiences for children of all backgrounds so that they will become productive, confident and happy adults.

About The Philly POPS
The Philly POPS, the largest standalone pops orchestra in the United States, delights audiences with the inspired performance of American popular music. The POPS celebrates this distinctive musical heritage through an expanding repertoire of innovative concert performances and a robust set of educational and engagement initiatives.

As the official POPS orchestra of Pennsylvania and the City of Philadelphia's partner in civic celebration, The Philly POPS serves a consistently growing audience of over 200,000 annually. Music Director Todd Ellison and the 65-piece Philly POPS orchestra keep listeners tapping their toes to an impressive repertoire of songs from American traditional music up through to today's chart-toppers.

In addition to Subscription Series performances at The Kimmel Center, The Philly POPS presents innovative programming with contemporary artists at the Met Philadelphia in The Philly POPS at the Met Philadelphia series. Other ensembles that make up The Philly POPS are: The Philly POPS BIG Band, which plays a rock and rhythm and blues repertoire, and The Philly POPS Jazz Orchestra of Philadelphia, under the direction of Artistic Director for Jazz, Terell Stafford.

Outside the concert hall, free Salute Series performances - including Memorial Salute, July 3 POPS on Independence, July 4 POPS on the Parkway and the I'll Be Home for Christmas: A Salute to the Military and First Responders concert - celebrate the American tradition of service around important national holidays. POPS in Schools enhances music education for 3,000 Philadelphia School District students; and POPS Outside brings POPS music to local communities. The Philly POPS performs as a founding resident company of The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, as the Principal Orchestra of the Met Philadelphia, and at venues throughout the mid-Atlantic region.

The Salute Series, presented by Comcast NBCUniversal, is an expanding portfolio of programs performed on American holidays, which celebrates those who serve our country, its cities, and communities. Performances including Memorial Salute, POPS on Independence on July 3, POPS in Philadelphia on July 4, and Veterans Salute showcase the magic of the orchestra to diverse and enthusiastic crowds. The annual I'll Be Home for Christmas concert rings in the holiday season with a free concert for active military, police, and fire department families.

Comcast NBCUniversal is the Presenting Sponsor of the Salute Series. These free celebrations also rely on the generous support of Major Sponsors Bank of America, Archer Law, Macys, Visit Philly, and Drs. John* (Jack) and Pina Templeton as well as grants through partnership with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the City of Philadelphia.

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