American Pops Orchestra Opens COLE PORTER AFTER DARK With Betty Who, Liz Callaway, Mo Rocca, and More
Maestro Luke Frazier and THE AMERICAN POPS ORCHESTRA - Washington, DC's innovative hometown orchestra - will conclude their star-studded third season with Let's Misbehave: Cole Porter After Dark at the Orchestra's new home, Arena Stage at The Mead Center for American Theater (1101 Sixth Street SW) on Saturday, May 19 at 8:00 PM. Let's Misbehave will feature guest stars Betty Who (the pop star making her orchestra debut), Liz Callaway (Tony Award nominee, voice of Disney's Princess Jasmine and Anastasia), Ali Ewoldt ((Phantom of the Opera on Broadway), Helen Hayes Awards Winner), Vishal Vaidya (Groundhog Day on Broadway), and Mo Rocca ("CBS Sunday Morning," NPR's "Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!"). Conductor Luke Frazier will lead a 20-piece orchestra in an evening directed by Kelly Crandall d'Amboise. Tickets are on sale now at www.TheAmericanPops.org.
It's no secret that Cole Porter loved to be mischievous. Join the APO and misbehave to the timeless songs of Cole Porter paired with some of the funniest personal ads from the era of online dating. Musical highlights include "Anything Goes," "So in Love," "You're the Top" and "Love for Sale."
Luke Frazier comments, "Cole Porter's music is often presented in an old-fashioned, traditional way, which is not what Porter was all about. His songs were written to be witty, fun and always with a bawdy twist. We're presenting top-notch artists to put the naughty back in Porter's saucy selections. From Betty Who to Liz Callaway, audiences are in for an incredible new perspective on this familiar music. In addition to incredible vocals and original arrangements, we're pairing these songs with dating app messages and personal ads. We wanna ask the audience the classic question, 'You up'?"
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. Over the first three seasons, The American Pops has featured top performers from Broadway, Film and Television in critically acclaimed world premiere performances. The American Pops presents six main-stage concerts per season, and twenty-four additional free community outreach concerts. The American Pops is proud to make music accessible for every resident of the DMV region.
In addition to self presented programming, other high-profile performances include the Hispanic Heritage Awards, which is 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 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."
Luke Frazier - recently named among "40 Under 40" by The Washingtonian - is a rapidly rising star in the Pops world, has proven himself 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 demonstrated his versatility and range by conducting in venues both grand 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 Patti LaBelle, Angela Lansbury, 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. Twitter: @LSFConductor www.LukeFrazierMusic.com
BETTY WHO, casting a striking presence as a performer, emanating confidence as a writer, and inspiring as an independent force, is an Australia-born and Los Angeles-based pop star has quietly elevated herself to a worldwide phenomenon on her own terms. Acclaimed by Entertainment Weekly, Vogue, Rolling Stone, Buzzfeed, Elle, and more, Betty's sophomore album, The Valley, yielded a string of international hits, including "I Love You Always Forever" - certified double-platinum in Australia - and "Human Touch." Total Spotify streams exceed 150 million as she regularly averages over 3.3 million monthly listeners on the platform. Beyond countless sold out headline tours, she's delivered knockout television appearances on "The Today Show," "Late Night With Seth Meyers," "The View," and many more. Betty's commitment to charity, health, and wellness matches her passion for music. She has given performances to benefit UNICEF, ACLU, Planned Parenthood, The Trevor Project, Human Rights Campaign, and many more. She joined forces with Lululemon and Soul Cycle to launch the acoustic "Beats Per Moment" tour, ran a Nike marathon on the entertainment team, and partnered with a personal favorite workout app, Aaptiv, for playlisting. www.BettyWhoMusic.com
Liz Callaway is a Tony nominee and Emmy winner who made her Broadway debut in Stephen Sondheim's Merrily We Roll Along, received a Tony Award nomination for her performance in Baby, and for five years, won acclaim as Grizabella in Cats. She also starred in the original casts of Miss Saigon, The Three Musketeers, and The Look of Love. Off-Broadway appearances include The Spitfire Grill (Drama Desk nomination), No Way to Treat a Lady, Marry Me a Little, Godspell and Brownstone. Other New York appearances include the legendary Follies in Concert at Lincoln Center, A Stephen Sondheim Evening, Fiorello (Encores!) and Hair in Concert. Regional credits include Dot in Sunday in the Park with George, Eva Peron in Evita and Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard. Liz sang the Academy Award-nominated song "Journey to the Past" in the animated feature Anastasia, Other film work includes Jasmine in the two Aladdin sequels, The Swan Princess, and The Rewrite with Hugh Grant. She received an Emmy Award for hosting "Ready to Go," a daily, live children's program on CBS in Boston. Other TV credits include "In Performance at the White House," "Inside the Actor's Studio: Stephen Sondheim," "Late Night with David Letterman" and "Senior Trip" (CBS Movie of the Week.) Her extensive concert and symphony career has included appearances in London, Paris, Iceland, Vietnam, Australia, China and nearly every major city in the U.S. She performs regularly with her sister Ann Hampton Callaway, as well as composer Stephen Schwartz, and has had the great pleasure of singing with Jimmy Webb, Paul Williams and the legendary Johnny Mathis. Liz has six solo albums: The Essential Liz Callaway, Passage of Time, The Beat Goes On, The Story Goes On: Liz Callaway On and Off- Broadway, Anywhere I Wander: Liz Callaway Sings Frank Loesser, and her Christmas CD Merry and Bright. Her numerous other recordings include Sibling Revelry, Boom! Live at Birdland, The Maury Yeston Songbook, A Stephen Sondheim Evening, the complete recording of Allegro produced by the Rodgers and Hammerstein Organization and the original cast album of A Christmas Story. www.LizCallaway.com
Mo Rocca is a correspondent for "CBS Sunday Morning" and host of "The Henry Ford's Innovation Nation Saturday mornings on CBS. He's a frequent panelist on NPR's Wait Wait ... Don't Tell Me! and the host and creator of My Grandmother's Ravioli on Cooking Channel. Mo was a Correspondent for four seasons on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and is the author of the historical thriller All The Presidents' Pets: The Story of One Reporter Who Refused to Roll Over. Mo starred on Broadway as Panch in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and played Doody in the Southeast Asian tour of Grease. @MoRocca
Ali Ewoldt is currently starring as Christine The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway. She made her Broadway debut as Cosette in Les Miserables, appeared in Lincoln Center's recent Tony Award Winning revival of The King and I and has played Maria in numerous productions of West Side Story across the nation and the world. Her other credits include The Fantasticks (Luisa) Off-Broadway, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (Philia) at The Muny in St. Louis, Lyric Opera of Chicago's The King and I (Tuptim), McCarter Theatre's A Christmas Carol (Fan/Mrs. Bonds) and concerts at Feinstein's/54 Below, Alice Tully Hall, Carnegie Hall with the NY Pops and The Town Hall. TV/Film: The Michael J. Fox Show, Yield and Drama: The Web Series. Ali has a BA in psychology from Yale University. www.AliEwoldt.com
Vishal Vaidya is a South Asian American actor, singer and writer originally from the DC area. He made his Broadway debut this past season as Larry the cameraman in Groundhog Day. Recent credits include The Shakespeare Theater, Cincinnati Playhouse, and New York City Center's Encores! Vishal is passionate about new musicals and has helped develop work with ART, Second Stage, and The Public Theater. Education: American University Instagram: @vishgram Twitter: @TweetsByVish
Kelly Crandall D'AMBOISE (Director) is thrilled to be the Resident Director of The American Pops Orchestra this season. Recent work includes choreography for the APO, Newsies at Connecticut Repertory Theatre, Urinetown at Next Stop Theatre and Tick,Tick... Boom! at Convergence. Upcoming: Jesus Christ Superstar at CRT. As an Associate Director and/or Choreographer, Kelly has worked on numerous productions including Cabaret, La Cage aux Folles, The Studio, and the upcoming Crazy for You at Signature Theatre, The Lincoln Center Hall of Fame 2017 and Babes in Toyland at Lincoln Center, the Broadway workshop of Cheer, and productions at South Coast Rep., North Shore Music Theatre, Westport County Playhouse, Trinity Rep, and Busch Gardens Entertainment. Broadway performance credits include the original company of The Boy from Oz with Hugh Jackman, Chicago, Susan Stroman's A Christmas Carol at MSG, and the national tour of The Producers. Film and TV credits include A Christmas Carol starring Jim Carrey and directed by Robert Zemeckis, What Women Want, Penn & Teller's Sin City Spectacular, the Tony Awards, and The Academy Awards with Robin Williams. Kelly is an Artistic Associate and Resident Casting Director at Signature Theatre.