The New York Pops 31st Birthday Gala
By: Linda Amiel Burns
The New York Pops celebrated its 31st Birthday at Carnegie Hall with a gala performance honoring composers Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman with an all-star cast.
What a treat it was for the audience at Carnegie Hall on Monday night, April 28, who attended the fabulous concert that The NY Pops presented to celebrate it’s 31st birthday. According to Steven Reineke, the Music Director of the NY Pops, "Make It Big" was the largest cast ever assembled for any Pops concert, with over 230 people. The evening honored composers Marc Shaiman & Scott Wittman along with Paul J. Massey, Jr, a Corporate Honoree. There was a spectacular lineup of stars from both stage and screen including: Nikki Blonsky, Christian Borle, Laura Bell Bundy, Kerry Butler, Will Chase Linda Hart, Megan Hilty, Capathia Jenkins, Jane Krakowski, Ricki Lake, Jenifer Lewis, Patti LuPone, Andrea Martin, Katharine McPhee, Matthew Morrison, John Pizzarelli, Corey Reynolds, Martin Short, Clarke Thorell, Aaron Tveit and Marissa Jaret Winokur. On stage along with the NY Pops Orchestra was Broadway Inspirational Voices, Camp Broadway Kids and the Ronald McDonald House Rockin’ the House and Singers.
The concert opened with the super talented Martin Short singing the arrangement Marc Shaiman did of the Gus Kahn & Isham Jones classic "It Had To Be You" for Sleepless in Seattle. Later on he wowed the audience again with a well-acted version of "Simply Second Nature" from Charlie and The Chocolate Factory now playing in London. This was an evening of highlights and standing ovations. Carol Bledsoe, the winner of last year’s silent auction to be a guest conductor, led the Pops in John Philip Sousa’s "Stars and Stripes Forever." John Pizzarelli scored with "A Wink and a Smile" and Andrea Martin joined The Camp Broadway Kids in the Oscar Nominated song "Blame Canada. Christian Borle hammed it up singing "The Mamushka" a song cut from the film of The Adams Family and danced with Martin Short who appeared as his famous character Ed Brimley.
Marc and Scott’s show Hairspray was well represented when the three Tracey Turnblad’s showed up to sing "Good Morning Baltimore," Ricki Lake, Marissa Jaret Winokur and Nikki Blonsky. Jenifer Lewis said that she was the first one to sing this song "I Know Where I’ve Been" as Marc asked her record the demo and sang it with great passion. Aaron Tvett
sang "Goodbye" from Catch Me If You Can quite masterfully and then Broadway Diva Patti Lupone rocked the Hall with "Grin and Bare It from The G-String Murders.
The stars of the TV Series Smash, Megan Hilty ("They Just Keep Moving The Line") and Katherine McPhee, ("Don’t Forget Me")"
sang solos and then they dueted on the hit "Let Me Be Your Star." Of course, it ain’t over until the black lady sings and Capathia Jenkins who stopped the show each night in Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me sang, "Let a Big Black Lady Stop the Show" and indeed she did! If that wasn’t enough to experience one thrilling performance after another, the entire cast came on stage to sing the rocking "You Can’t Stop the Beat" (Hairspray), and the audience left Carnegie Hall clapping and stomping to the beat and well satisfied having seen an incredible evening of talent, music and song. Congratulations to the NY Pops for throwing a terrific 31st birthday concert and we are looking forward to many more celebrations to come.
CarnegieHall.org 212 247-7800
Photos Richard Termine