Around The Town

The New York Pops Gala

On Monday, May 1, 2017, The New York Pops will celebrate its 34th birthday with a grand gala evening honoring Karen van Bergen, the CEO of Omnicom Public Relations Group, and Tony Award winners Kelli O’Hara and Bartlett Sher

On Monday, May 1, 2017, The New York Pops will celebrate its 34th birthday with a grand gala evening honoring Karen van Bergen, the CEO of Omnicom Public Relations Group, and Tony Award winners Kelli O’Hara and Bartlett Sher, whose collaborations over the last decade have won universal acclaim and whose individual careers represent pinnacles of achievement in the world of theatre. The concert will celebrate the multiyear partnership between the actress and stage director and will bring together artists from the stage and screen.

The event begins at 7:00 PM with a concert at Carnegie Hall, featuring a spectacular lineup of guest artists under the baton of Music Director Steven Reineke. Broadway stars Judy Kuhn, Rebecca Luker, and Marin Mazzie join the previously announced Matthew Broderick, Danny Burstein, Brian d’Arcy James, Adam Kantor, Ruthie Ann Miles, Laura Osnes, Steven Pasquale, Chris Sullivan, and Paulo Szot. The concert will also include compositions by Jason Robert Brown and Nico Muhly.

Following the concert, a black tie dinner dance will be held at the elegant Mandarin Oriental New York.


Tickets to the concert-only range from $68 to $160 and can be purchased at at the Carnegie Hall Box Office, at 57th Street and Seventh Avenue, or can be charged to major credit cards by calling CarnegieCharge at 212-247-7800 or by visiting the Carnegie Hall website,

Tickets to the full gala evening range from $1,350 (concert and dinner seating for one) to $50,000 (premier concert seating and dinner table for eight). For more information about the black-tie dinner and dance at the Mandarin Oriental New York, call 212-765-7677 or visit

THE NEW YORK POPS is the largest independent pops orchestra in the United States, and the only professional symphonic orchestra in New York City specializing in popular music. Under the leadership of dynamic Music Director and Conductor Steven Reineke, The New York Pops continues to re-imagine orchestral pops music. The orchestra performs an annual subscription series and birthday gala at Carnegie Hall, as well as a summer concert series at Forest Hills Stadium in Queens, NY. The New York Pops is dedicated to lifelong learning, and collaborates with public schools, community organizations, children’s hospitals, and senior centers throughout the five boroughs of New York City. PopsEd allows thousands of New Yorkers of all ages and backgrounds to participate in fully customizable music programs that blend traditional education with pure fun. Visit for more information. Follow The New York Pops on Facebook (, Instagram (@thenewyorkpops), and Twitter (@newyorkpops).

Steven Reineke is the Music Director of The New York Pops at Carnegie Hall, Principal Pops Conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Principal Pops Conductor of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and the Principal Pops Conductor Designate for the Houston Symphony, beginning in the 2017-2018 season. Mr. Reineke is a frequent guest conductor with The Philadelphia Orchestra and has been on the podium with the Boston Pops, The Cleveland Orchestra and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at Ravinia. His extensive North American conducting appearances include San Francisco, Houston, Seattle, Edmonton and Pittsburgh. As the creator of more than one hundred orchestral arrangements for the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, Mr. Reineke’s work has been performed worldwide, and can be heard on numerous Cincinnati Pops Orchestra recordings on the Telarc label. His symphonic works Celebration FanfareLegend of Sleepy Hollow and Casey at the Bat are performed frequently in North America. His numerous wind ensemble compositions are published by the C.L. Barnhouse Company and are performed by concert bands around the world. A native of Ohio, Mr. Reineke is a graduate of Miami University of Ohio, where he earned bachelor of music degrees with honors in both trumpet performance and music composition.  He currently resides in New York City with his husband, Eric Gabbard.



Kelli O’Hara has unequivocally established herself as one of Broadway’s great leading ladies. Her portrayal of Anna Leonowens in the critically acclaimed revival of The King and I recently garnered her the 2015 Tony Award for Best Leading Actress in a Musical, along with Drama League and Outer Critics nominations. The year before was an exceptionally busy year.  She starred as Mrs. Darling in NBC’s Live Telecast of Peter Pan, alongside Allison Williams, Christopher Walken, and Christian Borle and on New Year’s Eve, Kelli made her Metropolitan Opera debut in the production of The Merry Widow with Renée Fleming.  In 2015 she opened in Broadway’s musical adaptation of The Bridges of Madison County. Her performance of Francesca earned her nominations for a Tony, Drama Desk, Drama League, and Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Leading Actress in a Musical. Recently, she joined Showtime’s Master of Sex as Michael Sheen’s long-lost love, Dody, completed shooting the upcoming series The Accidental Wolf, and can be seen in on CBS All Access’ The Good Fight. A native of Oklahoma, Kelli received a degree in opera, and after winning the State Metropolitan Opera Competition, moved to New York, and enrolled in the Lee Strasberg Institute. She made her Broadway debut in Jekyll & Hyde and followed it with Sondheim’s Follies, Sweet Smell of Success opposite John Lithgow, and Dracula.  In 2003 Kelli committed to a production of The Light in the Piazza at Seattle’s Intiman Theatre, beginning a sixteen year working relationship with Bartlett Sher. The show landed on Broadway in 2005 and earned Kelli her first Tony and Drama Desk Award nominations.  She moved from one critical and commercial success to another when she joined Harry Connick on Broadway in the 2006 Tony Award-winning production of The Pajama Game, for which Kelli received Tony, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Award nominations. Kelli starred in the Tony Award-winning revival of South Pacific at Lincoln Center, enrapturing audiences and critics alike with her soulful and complex interpretation of Nellie Forbush, and garnering Tony, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Award nominations. She later teamed up with Matthew Broderick in Broadway’s musical comedy Nice Work if You Can Get it, earning Tony, Drama Desk, Drama League, and Outer Critics Circle nominations, as well as the Fred Astaire Nomination for dance. Kelli has worked regionally & Off-Broadway in Far from Heaven at Williamstown Theater Festival & Playwrights Horizons, King Lear at the Public Theater, Bells Are Ringing at City Center Encores!, Sunday in the Park with George at Reprise, My Life With Albertine at Playwrights Horizons, and Beauty at the La Jolla Playhouse.  Kelli received critical acclaim for her performances at the New York Philharmonic’s productions of Carousel & My Fair Lady as both Julie Jordan and Eliza Doolittle, respectively. She has sold out her solo show at Carnegie Hall & Town Hall and performed with symphonies and orchestras across the country.She is a frequent guest artist on the PBS Memorial Day and July 4th telecast and has performed several times as part of the Kennedy Honor tributes for Barbara Cook, Jerry Herman, and Barbra Streisand. Her solo concerts continue to sell out and receive critical acclaim across the country. Among her film and television credits are Blue Bloods, Sex & The City 2, Martin Scorsese’s short The Key to Reserva opposite Simon Baker, The Dying Gaul, All Rise (NBC pilot), Alexander Hamilton (Maria Reynolds) starring Brian F. O’Byrne (PBS), NUMB3RS (CBS), All My Children, the animated series Car Talk, and numerous live performances on national television shows. Kelli’s voice can be heard on many cast album recordings including The Bridges of Madison Country, Nice Work if You Can Get it, South Pacific (Sony), The Light in the Piazza (Nonesuch Records; Grammy nomination), The Pajama Game (Sony; Grammy nomination), The Sweet Smell of Success (Sony), My Life with Albertine (PS Classics), Dream True (PS Classics), and Jule Styne Goes Hollywood (PS Classics). She has released two solo albums including Always and Wonder in the World.


Bartlett Sher is Resident Director of Lincoln Center Theater, where he has directed the theater’s current hit, J.T. Rogers’ Oslo, at the Vivian Beaumont Theater, as well as the Tony Award-winning revivals of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s The King and I (Tony Award nomination for Best Director) and South Pacific (Tony Award – Best Director),  Clifford Odets’ Golden Boy and Awake and Sing! (Tony Award nominations for both productions),  Blood and Gifts by J.T. Rogers, the new musical Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown by Jeffrey Lane and David Yazbek, August Wilson’s Joe Turner’s Come and Gone (Tony Award nomination), and The Light in the Piazza by Craig Lucas and Adam Guettel (Tony Award nomination). He has directed operas for the Metropolitan Opera (Roméo et Juliette, Otello, Two Boys, L’Elisir d’Amore, Le Comte Ory, Les Contes d’Hoffmann, and Il Barbiere di Siviglia), Roméo et Juliette for Salzburg Opera in 2008, and Seattle Opera/New York City Opera (Mourning Becomes Electra, 2003-2004). From 2000-2010, Mr. Sher was Artistic Director of Seattle’s Intiman Theatre, where his credits include the world premieres of Prayer for My Enemy and Singing Forest by Craig Lucas and Nickel and Dimed, Joan Holden’s adaptation of the nonfiction bestseller by Barbara Ehrenreich, and plays by Chekhov, Shakespeare, Goldoni, and Tony Kushner, among other credits. His New York credits include the Theatre for a New Audience productions of Cymbeline, which premiered in England and was the first American Shakespeare production at the Royal Shakespeare Company, and for which he received the 2001 Callaway Award; and the American premiere of Harley Granville-Barker’s Waste, winner of the 2000 Best Play Obie. He is a graduate of Holy Cross College and received his graduate training as the only American in a class of international theatre artists at the University of Leeds in England. Mr. Sher currently serves on the Board of Theatre Communications Group and has held positions as Associate Artistic Director at Hartford Stage and Company Director at The Guthrie Theater under his mentor, Garland Wright.   His Broadway productions include the musical The Bridges of Madison County and the recent revival of Fiddler on the Roof.  He will direct a new production of Lerner and Loewe’s My Fair Lady for Lincoln Center Theater in Spring 2018 and is also at work on the new musical Millions.


Karen van Bergen brings more than 30 years of agency- and client-side experience to her role as CEO of Omnicom Public Relations Group. She holds responsibility for all public relations and public affairs firms within Omnicom, encompassing more than 6,300 employees. Prior to Omnicom PR Group, Karen served as CEO of Porter Novelli. Over a three-year period, Karen led the agency on a path of significant transformation—marked by growth and award-winning work and capped by recognition as a 2014 PRWeek Best Place to Work—a result of Karen’s steadfast focus on talent. She served as managing director of Porter Novelli’s New York office from 2011-2012. Before Porter Novelli, Karen spent four years at FleishmanHillard, most recently as senior partner, senior vice president and global lead for OneVoice, an integrated Omnicom team serving Royal Philips Electronics. As the global leader for OneVoice, van Bergen grew a 600-person consulting team across more than 80 countries. Before running OneVoice, Karen was regional director for the Netherlands and Central and Eastern Europe for FleishmanHillard, working with global clients like NBC Universal, VISA and Unilever, among others. Before FleishmanHillard, Karen served two stints with McDonald’s totaling more than 13 years.  She was chief of staff, vice president of corporate affairs for McDonald’s Europe, joining as part of a new management team that introduced and executed a highly successful new European strategy. She also held the director of marketing, communications and government relations post for McDonald’s Central Europe/Central Asia division. Karen worked in-house at The Coca-Cola Company as director of corporate affairs, Benelux. Earlier in her career, she was director of corporate affairs in Europe for the Outboard Marine Corporation. Karen has been recognized with awards including PRWeek PR Professional of the Year – Agency (2016), named an Ad Age “Woman to Watch” and New York Business Journal “Woman of Influence” and inducted into the PRWeek Hall of Femme, ICCO Hall of Fame and PR News Hall of Fame. In 2016, she was the highest ranking woman on PRWeek’s “Power List” at #6. Karen is a truly international leader. She speaks and does business in four languages and is an outspoken advocate for diversity and women’s rights—both within the PR industry and across the business landscape. She is a founding member of Omniwomen, a group of female Omnicom leaders that aims to increase the influence and number of women leaders throughout the Omnicom network. She has served as a juror for the top awards programs in the public relations industry, and in 2017 was appointed PR jury president for the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity taking place in June. Karen gives back through work with a variety of nonprofit organizations. She currently serves on the board of Not Impossible, which aims to solve some of the world’s most entrenched problems through technology for the sake of humanity. She has served on the board of Kids@Home, an organization that runs family-like homes for foster children, as well as the board of Inspire@live, an organization bringing together scientists from all over the world to advance cancer research by sharing information and putting the patient in the center. Karen is passionate about music, including opera and jazz; she plays the piano and regularly attends musical performances throughout the city.