Erik Altemus and More to Join American Pops Orchestra in 'MAKE SOMEONE HAPPY' This May
Maestro Luke Frazier and The American Pops Orchestra - Washington, DC's innovative hometown orchestra - are proud to present the closing concert of their successful inaugural season. MAKE SOMEONE HAPPY: A 60s Cocktail Party will debut at the George Washington University's Lisner Auditorium on Friday, May 6th at 8:00 PM.
Their special guests include theater and screen stars Erik Altemus (Pippin on Broadway), Nova Y. Payton (Helen Hayes Award winner for Hairspray), Nicholas Rodriquez ("One Life to Live" on ABC-TV, Helen Hayes Award winner) and Hayley Travers (Children of Eden at the Kennedy Center), in addition to dancers, choreography and full costumes.
MAKE SOMEONE HAPPY: A 60s Cocktail Party invites you to raise your glass to the fabulous music of the 1960s, from the Rat Pack and Motown to Gilberto and Soul. The American Pops and friends offer a glimpse into the glamorous era of the cocktail party: a time of social refinement, artful conversation, and face-to-face flirtation, fueled by a little alcohol and physical attraction. The evening offers music from Broadway ("People" from Funny Girl) and the Brill Building ("Will You Love Me Tomorrow"), to sensitive singer/songwriters ("Both Sides Now"), the smooth calm of the Brazilian coast ("The Girl from Ipanema") and the frenzy of stateside dance crazes ("The Twist").
"The songs of the 60's are timeless in their meaningful lyrics and musical diversity," says Frazier. "The variety of the decade's music is a great representation of many cultures coming together for the first time, a trend as relevant now as it was then. This music continues to serve as a rallying point to unify people in joy and self-expression."
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 has presented six original orchestral programs in its opening 2015-2016 season, featuring leading Broadway singers, dancers, and actors. The orchestra's October 2015 performance of "Stairway to Paradise: A Gershwin Spectacular" - featuring two-time Tony Award winner Christine Ebersole - 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." Another season highlight was "A Broadway Christmas" featuring Elaine Paige, the first Lady of the British Musical Stage. Other high-profile performances in the last year 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 aired nationally on PBS; the DC Standing Ovation Awards; and The Giving Pledge at the Smithsonian Institute's National Museum of American History. They also premiered non-traditional entertainment including "You Spin Me Round: an 80s Prom," which paired the orchestra with a DJ in a nightclub setting. The APO recently made its New York debut at the all-star Edith Piaf Centennial Celebration at The Town Hall and was praised for its "sumptuous lilt" by The New York Times. For more, visit www.TheAmericanPops.org.
LUKE FRAZIER has quickly established him as a dynamic force across the music community. Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Marvin Hamlisch put it best, calling Frazier "so talented, and sensitive to every nuance." Committed to re-envisioning pops programming, he has proven himself among musical heavyweights as both an accomplished conductor and a sensitive pianist. Frazier has worked with artists Renée Fleming, Kevin Spacey, Denyce Graves, Darren Criss, Lea Salonga, Laura Osnes, Eric Owens, Liza Minnelli, Chita Rivera, Rita Moreno, Norm Lewis, Christine Ebersole, and Michael Feinstein, among others.
In addition to the APO, Mr. Frazier founded the National Broadway Chorus in Washington DC, which has toured through Indianapolis and Chicago, and was featured at the Great American Songbook Foundation Gala, where Mr. Frazier serves on the Board. Mr. Frazier completed a second season as the Principal Pops Conductor of the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra, where he has conducted 10 programs of his own creation, at venues including George Mason's Center for the Arts, The Shenandoah Valley Music Festival, and the Angelika Film Center. He has also made guest appearances with orchestras in New York City, Miami, Indianapolis, Chicago, and West Virginia, and continues to serve as Artist-in-Residence with Washington DC Youth Orchestra. www.LukeFrazierMusic.com
Performances play The George Washington University's Lisner Auditorium, 730 21st Street, NW, Washington, DC; 3 blocks from Foggy Bottom/GWU Metro. Tickets: $35-$65, discount for GW Students - (202) 994-6800 or www.gwutickets.com.
ERIK ALTEMUS is best known for his role as Lewis in the 2013 Tony Award-winning Broadway revival of Pippin. He has been performing onstage since he was eight years old. Favorite credits include: Matt (the boy) in the Off-Broadway production of The Fantasticks, Rocky in The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Jesus in Godspell, Young Ebeneezer in The Actors Fund production of Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol. He has performed in theaters around the country as well as in Tokyo, Amsterdam, and Switzerland. In New York City he has performed at classic venues such as Birdland Jazz Club, 54 Below, Radio City Music Hall, The New York Stock Exchange and Joe's Pub. He holds a BFA in Musical Theatre from the University of Cincinnati's College-Conservatory of Music. Go to www.erikaltemus.com for more.
NOVA Y. PAYTON has shared the stage with well-known artists including Yolanda Adams, Anthony Hamilton, Freddie Jackson, The Chi-Lites, The Dramatics, Will Downing, Stephanie Mills, Melba Moore, Ashford and Simpson, and the legendary Stevie Wonder. Nova has been on national tours in 3 Mo' Divas, Smokey Joe's Café, and If This Hat Could Talk. DC theatre credits include The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Hairspray, Xanadu, Ain't Misbehavin', Black Nativity, Malik Yoba's Acoustic Chocolate, 8-Track-The Sounds of the '70s, and J's Jook Joint. Nova's soul-stirring portrayal of Effie White in Dreamgirls earned her the 2006 Barrymore nomination for "Outstanding Leading Actress in a Musical." The DVD/CD for 3 Mo' Divas received a 2010 NAACP nomination. In 2012, Nova was honored as the Helen Hayes Award recipient for her portrayal of MotorMouth Mabelle in Hairspray. Nova has also appeared on the Jimmy Fallon late-night talk show accompanying artist Glen Hansard. Visit www.simply-nova.com.
NICHOLAS RODRIGUEZ is perhaps best known for the role of Nick Chavez on ABC's "One Life to Live" for which he received the GLAAD Media Award. He recently performed his solo show, "The First Time..." at the Signature Theatre in Washington DC to rave reviews. Nicholas made his Broadway debut in Disney's production of Tarzan. Prior to that, Nicholas originated the role of Aaron, starring opposite Val Kilmer in the U.S Premiere of The Ten Commandments at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles. Off-Broadway he starred in The Toxic Avenger: The Musical, Almost Heaven: Songs of John Denver, Colette Collage, and Bajour. Recently he starred opposite Kathleen Turner in Mother Courage and Her Children at Arena Stage in Washington DC where he previously played Freddy in My Fair Lady and Fabrizio in Light in the Piazza. He also portrayed Curly in Oklahoma! at Arena Stage, for which he received a 2011 Helen Hayes Award for "Best Actor in a Musical" and was named among the "Top 10 Performers of 2010" by The New Yorker. On the big screen, Rodriguez was seen in Sex and the City 2. He made his Carnegie Hall debut in a concert version of Guys and Dolls with Nathan Lane, Megan Mullally and Len Cariou. Go to www.thenickrod.com.
HAYLEY TRAVERS has quickly established herself as one of the region's brightest up-and-coming talents since moving to Washington DC four years ago. Hayley made her New York City debut performing in concert with Broadway's Norm Lewis, Ron Raines and Christine Pedi. She has had the honor of performing on every stage at the Kennedy Center and made her Kennedy Center debut in Children of Eden. She went on to perform in concert with Michael Feinstein at the Great American Songbook Hall of Fame gala in both 2014 and 2015. Hayley headlined her first symphony show at the age of 21 in I'll Be Seeing You with the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra. Under the musical direction of Luke Frazier, Hayley has performed as a featured soloist of the National Broadway Chorus at numerous events including the Kennedy Center Honors Chairman's Luncheon and Kevin Spacey in Concert at the Harman Center in Washington DC. After graduating from American University in May 2015 Hayley starred in Silence: The Musical at Studio Theatre, which received nine Helen Hayes Award nominations. Visit www.hayleytravers.com for more information.