By: Linda Amiel Burns … The New York Pops at Carnegie Hall pays tribute to the music of composer Stephen Schwartz "The Wizard And I: The Musical Journey of Stephen Schwartz"
For music lovers, can there be anything better than to be in Carnegie Hall listening to the remarkable NY Pops Orchestra led by Steven Reineke? The Pops will be celebrating their 30th Birthday with a Gala Star-Studded Concert on April 29th at the Hall. The concert that I attended on April 12 "The Wizard and I: The Musical Journey of Stephen Schwartz" was the last in a sold-out season and it was an evening of glorious music and song. On stage was Judith Clurman’s Essential Voices USA, one of NY’s preeminent choral ensembles, and four of Broadway’s finest singers, Jeremy Jordan, Norm Lewis, Julia Murney and Jennifer Laura Thompson.
Stephen Schwartz was celebrating his 65th Birthday as well as the 10-year anniversary of The Broadway opening of Wicked, his musical masterpiece that has companies playing around the world. Stephen has won many accolades over the years, including three Academy Awards, four Grammys, and even a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame!
The evening began with the Pops performing "Wicked: A Fable for Orchestra" and then the cast entered and joined in to sing "The Spark of Creation" from Children of Eden. Julia sang a great rendition of "Meadowlark" from The Baker’s Wife and Jennifer soared with "West End Avenue" from The Magic Show. Norm has one of the finest voices today and shined on "Magic to Do" from Pippin, a new revival is about to open on Broadway. The first act ended with a medley from Godspell, Schwartz’s first hit that opened off-Broadway in 1971, Broadway in 1976 and was revived again last year.
The Second Act opened with the Orchestral Suite from "Séance on a Wet Afternoon" and then selections from Schwartz’s songs from Disney’s animated films. Jeremy’s beautiful voice was perfect for "Out There" from The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Julia sang the popular "Colors of the Wind" from Pocahontas, Norm performed "Through Heaven’s Eyes (The Prince of Egypt) and Jennifer "When you Believe" from the same film.
Stephen Schwartz entered to great applause and sat down at the piano and talked about trying to compose a song for Elphaba in Wicked and played various versions. The one that was finally used, "The Wizard and I" was beautifully sung by Julia who played the part on tour and on Broadway.
Jennifer had played Glinda and the two sang the duet "For Good" when the two witches acknowledge what they meant in each other’s lives.
The concert ended with Stephen performing a song from a new show he is working on about Hans Christian Anderson,
"Can You Imagine That?" The audience rose to give a standing ovation to the amazing Pops, and outstanding cast of singers and also to pay tribute to one of our most beloved, versatile and prolific composers, Stephen Schwartz.
Happy Birthday to Stephen and to The New York Pops and many, many more!
For more information:
Visit: newyorkpops.org or carnegiehall.org
Carnegie Charge 212 247-7800
Photo: Richard Termine Follow Us On Facebook