Last night the New York Pops sparkled with effervescent magic, as they celebrated their 39th Birthday Gala: For The First Time In Forever: The Songs Of Kristen And Bobby Lopez. The overture was at its finest as the tunes from Ave Q, Frozen, Frozen 2, The Book of Mormon, Finding Nemo, Coco, Wanda Vision and In Transit filled Carnegie Hall. Steven Reineke, conducted his orchestra with majesty
First up was the original voice of Anna from Frozen Kristen Bell, who delighted with “For the First Time In Forever.”
Kristen was joined by the Else from the London stage version Samantha Barks (Éponine in the film version of the musical Les Misérables.)
Kristen then duetted on”Love Is An Open Door” with the original voice of Prince Hans, Santino Fontana in the film Frozen. Santino proved he has they comedic acting and vocal chops that have made him win a Tony, two Drama Desk Awards, an Outer Critics Circle Award, Lortel Award, Obie Award, and Clarence Derwent Award.
Bobby Lopez’s and Jeff Marx’s first hit was Ave Q to sing “The More You Run Someone,” original cast members Stephanie D’Abruzzo and Ann Harada.
Thrilling the audience the original Elder Price from The Book of Mormon, recreated his hit from that show “I Believe.”
Joining Rannells was Josh Gad who was the original Elder Arnold Cunningham for You and Me (But Mostly Me)
Gad was then joined by Nikki M. James, who played Nabulungi in The Book of Mormon, she won the 2011 Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical. They recreated “Baptize Me.” James never sounded better, but Gad seemed under the weather, but brought his comedic chops.
From Finding Nemo, Mykal Kilgore and Camp Broadway brought to life a rousing “Go With The Flow.”
Ron Schaefer, PopsEd Honoree
June Freemanzon, Legacy Honoree
Looking absolutely stunning Betsy Wolfe, sang one of my favorite Lopez’s song “Getting There” from In Transit.
One of my favorite moments was when Jaime Camil (Papi) recreated his Grammy winning song “Remember Me” from Coco.
The Kids On Stage, along with The New York Pops gave a musical and joyous version of “Do You Want To Build a Snowman” from Frozen.
Rocking the house the original Elsa from Broadway Caissie Levy showed why she was a “Monster”.
Patti Murin the original Anna from Broadway sang “[The Next Right Thing” from Frozen 2.
Josh Gad was back to “In Summer” from Frozen.
Back to join Patti Murin was the dynamic Samantha Barks on “I Can’t Lose You” from Frozen.
Singing the hit from Frozen 2, “Into The Unknown,” was Samantha Barks and the Lopez’s eldest daughter Katherine.
The next part was so much fun. The whole Lopez family gave us a Wanda Vision medley, showing how Kristen Lopez is seriously funny.
The original cast of Ave Q, Jennifer Barnhart, Stephanie D’Abruzzo, Jordan Gelber, Ann Harada, Maggie Lakis, Rick Lyon and Rob McClure gave us “For Now.”Sound designer Dan Gerhard again had problems with mics, but the cast made the mistake look like a in joke.
And for the finale “Let It Go” from Frozen was sung by the whole cast as they exchanged mics, because again the sound man was not on the ball. Santino Fontana showed how this could be comical and practical.
All in all The New York Pop 39th Birthday Gala: For The First Time In Forever: The Songs Of Kristen And Bobby Lopez was an overwhelming success. I can’t wait to see what they do for their 40th.
All photo’s curtesy of Genevieve Rafter Keddy
Ahead of the Broadway Opening of Lempicka The Longacre Theatre Is Showcasing Art Work By Tamara de Lempicka
The Longacre Theatre (220 W 48th St.), soon-to-be home of the sweeping new musical, Lempicka, is showcasing a curated selection of renowned artist Tamara de Lempicka’s most famous works. Eschewing traditional theatrical front-of-house advertising, the Longacre’s façade now boasts prints, creating a museum-quality exhibition right in the heart of Times Square. The musical opens on Broadway on April 14, 2024 at the same venue.
The Longacre’s outdoor exhibition includes works of Self Portrait (Tamara in a Green Bugatti) (1929), Young Girl in Green (1927), Nu Adossé I (1925), The Red Tunic (1927), The Blue Scarf (1930), The Green Turban (1930), Portrait of Marjorie Ferry (1932), Portrait of Ira P. (1930), Portrait of Romana de la Salle (1928), and Adam and Eve (1932).
Starring Eden Espinosa and directed by Tony Award winner Rachel Chavkin, Lempicka features book, lyrics, and original concept by Carson Kreitzer, book and music by Matt Gould, and choreography by Raja Feather Kelly.
Spanning decades of political and personal turmoil and told through a thrilling, pop-infused score, Lempicka boldly explores the contradictions of a world in crisis, a woman ahead of her era, and an artist whose time has finally come.