American Pops to Present AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS in Concert
Maestro Luke Frazier and The American Pops Orchestra - Washington, DC's innovative hometown orchestra - will continue their star-studded third season with Around the World in 80 Days, the world premiere of a new family-oriented musical written by Claybourne Elder ("Gossip Girl," Broadway's Sunday in the Park...) and directed by Kelly Crandall d'Amboise.
Told through timeless songs from the Great American Songbook, this world premiere production revisits Jules Verne's classic Around the World in 80 Days in a musical adventure for all ages.
The cast features Benjamin Lurye (Diner at Signature Theatre; Hello, Dolly! at Ford's Theatre), Nurney Mason (DC's The Color Purple, The Wiz), Hilary Morrow (APO's Cinderella, Birdland Jazz Club), and Tiara Whaley (Caroline or Change, Helen Hayes Award winner).
Around the World in 80 Days was conceived by the APO's Founder and conductor Luke Frazier - who will lead chamber ensemble comprised of the orchestra's finest players - and will be performed at the Orchestra's new home, Arena Stage at The Mead Center for American Theater (1101 Sixth Street SW) on Saturday, January 6, 2018 at 2:00 PM and 5:00 PM. The second show was added after the APO's family-oriented show last season sold out. Tickets are on sale now at www.TheAmericanPops.org.
In Around the World in 80 Days, 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.
Luke Frazier comments, "Jules Verne's classic tale Around the World in 80 Days is a great fit for the APO and our new adaptation has everything: comedy, music, action and adventure. Since our family-oriented show last season was a sold-out success, we're happy to introduce this new musical concert production with two performances. It's wonderful that Claybourne Elder, who is quickly becoming an APO favorite, could write such a terrific script for us."
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.
Luke Frazier, 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 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
Claybourne Elder (Writer) returns to the American Pops after co-starring in last season's opening concert, I'll Be Seeing You: A World War II Love Story. He is a Drama Desk, Lucille Lortel Award nominee and a Theatre World Award winner. He starred on Broadway in Bonnie and Clyde (Buck, original cast) and Sunday in the Park with George (starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Soldier/George understudy). Off-Broadway he appeared in the original companies of Stephen Sondheim's Road Show (Hollis), One Arm (Ollie, Drama Desk Nomination Best Actor), and in the revivals of Allegro (Joe, Lucille Lortel Nomination, Best Actor), Two by Two (Japheth, with Jason Alexander), and Do I Hear a Waltz? (Eddie). He has premiered works by Stephen Sondheim, Frank Wildhorn, William Finn, and Richard Maltby & David Shire, and has appeared on five cast albums. His regional credits include George in the Helen Hayes Award winning Signature Theatre revival of Sunday in the Park with George, Wolf/Prince in Moises Kaufman's revival of Into the Woods, Angels in America (KC Rep, dir. David Cromer), Oklahoma (Curly, MTW), West Side Story (Tony, Tuacahn), Cinderella (Prince, KC Starlight). His film and television credits include Pete O'Malley on "The Carrie Diaries," Flatbush Luck, and It Could Be Worse. He made his cabaret debut at 54 Below and his solo show "You and Me and Sondheim" has played to sold out houses around the country and in London. www.ClaybourneElder.com
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: You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown at Imagination Stage and 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 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.
BENJAMIN LURYE is a proud to make his debut with the American Pops. This past season, his performance as Freddy Eynsford-Hill in Olney Theatre's My Fair Lady was called "the production's musical high point... sung in soaring tones" by The Washington Post. In the DC area, he has appeared at Signature Theatre in A Little Night Music and the world premiere of Sheryl Crow and Barry Levinson's Diner; at Ford's Theatre in Hello, Dolly!; at Olney Theatre in Sweeney Todd, Mary Poppins, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and Forever Plaid; with the contemporary opera company UrbanArias in the world premiere of Hilliard and Boresi's Blue Viola and their trademark "Craigslist Cabaret"; and at 1st Stage in Floyd Collins and Parfumerie. Additionally, he has been seen at Toby's Dinner Theatre, Studio Theatre, and Adventure Theatre MTC, where he is also a teaching artist for young musical theatre performers. Benjamin holds a BM from the University of Maryland, College Park and can be followed online at www.BenLurye.com.
NURNEY MASON is an actor born and raised in the DC area. He trained at the Baltimore School for the Arts, Dance Theatre of Harlem, and received a B.S. in Communication Studies from Towson University in 2013. Since then, he has been performing throughout the area. Olney Theatre Center: Evita, Mary Poppins (Neleus), Carmen: An Afro Cuban Jazz Musical, Guys & Dolls (Rusty Charlie), The Producers, Disney's The Little Mermaid (Flotsam); THEARC Theater: Truth: The Musical (Popple); Toby's Dinner Theatre: Spamalot (Helen Hayes nomination, Outstanding Ensemble), The Wiz, The Color Purple (Helen Hayes nomination, Outstanding Resident Musical); Monumental Theatre Company: Sex Swap: A Gender Bender Cabaret (1st & 3rd renditions), Day by Day: A Musical Revue of Composer Stephen Schwartz.
HILARY MORROW returns to the American Pops after appearing in Cinderella: A Magical Musical Tale this year after her premiere performance with the group as a featured soloist in She Did it Her Way last season. She is an acclaimed musical theatre performer and soloist who most recently she appeared in the 2017 Source Festival as Empress Drusilla in a quirky 10-minute play. Hilary recently performed at the famed jazz club, Birdland in New York City. She has performed alongside such luminaries as Brian Stokes Mitchell, Norm Lewis, Renee Fleming, Tommy Tune, Laura Osnes, Lea Salonga, Jeremy Jordan, Lindsay Mendez and Ashley Brown. Last winter, she toured a musical theatre master class series for underserved school children in Maine with Maestro Luke Frazier. Other credits include: Storyteller in Children of Eden at the Kennedy Center, Brünnhilde in Hugo Ball: a Dada puppet AdveNTurE!!/?1!!//, Snowella Mistletoe in A Very Pointless Holiday Spectacular, Charlotte Stackhouse in Let Trump Be Trump and Isabella Andreini in a one-woman show entitled, Oh, What Can't A Woman Do?. She received her BA in musical theatre from American University and is a member of the National Broadway Chorus. www.HilaryMorrow.com
Tiara Whaley is thrilled to be performing with The American Pops Orchestra. Tiara studied Musical Theatre and English Writing at West Chester University of Pennsylvania. Her favorite roles include Ti Moune (Once on This Island), Emmie Thibodeaux (Caroline or Change, Helen Hayes Award, Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Musical, Helen), Lorraine (All Shook Up), and Lil' Inez (Hairspray).