Broadway’s biggest stars, came out as The New York Pops celebrated its 33rd birthday gala with “Do You Hear the People Sing” at Carnegie Hall. This year the gala honored Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg, the creators of Les Miserables, Miss Saigon, The Pirate Queen and Martin Guerre. Stephanie J. Block, Montego Glover, Jeremy Jordan, Norm Lewis, Patti LuPone, Laura Osnes, Steven Pasquale, Lea Salonga, among others—performed selections with 20 instrumentalists from the Pops’ “Kids on Stage” program, members of Camp Broadway Kids, children from the Ronald McDonald House of New York and Judith Clurman’s Essential Voices USA.
Musical Director and Conductor Steven Reineke lead the 78-piece orchestra with the orchestral selections standing out. New York should be proud of such a fabulous orchestra. Highlights included: Broadway, film and Smash star Jeremy Jordan singing “Why, God, Why,” from Miss Saigon. If Jordan were available, he is the perfect choice for the 2016 version coming next season. He not only vocally hit it out of the park, emotionally he was so connected, it was a thrilling rendition. Not listed in the program was Steven Pasquale (currently starring in The Robber Bridegroom who played John in the national tour of Miss Saigon) singing “Bui Doi.” This tribute to the children left behind after the Vietnam war was chilling. Tony winner Terrence Mann (currently starring as the Man in the Yellow Suit in Tuck Everlasting) was a great choice as the capitalistic Engineer, in “The American Dream.
“The Saigon section also included Lea Salonga, Tony-winner for her performance as Kim in the original Broadway production of Miss Saigon, joined onstage by the newest Kim Eva Noblezada, star of the critically acclaimed 2014 West End production of the show and soon to be the star of the revival. “The Movie in My Mind,” was passed down from one generation to another.
For the LesMisérables section Broadway’s Javert and the first African American actor to play the Phantom on Broadway brought back the haunting “Stars.” A Tony Award-winning trio of Stephanie J. Block, Patti LuPone, and Lea Salonga “Dreamed a Dream.” Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Fully Committed) and Patti LuPone brought “Master of the House,” to life.
Four Jean Valjeans, Eric Kunze (Marius in Les Misérables on Broadway, opposite Lea Salonga), Robert Marien (Valjean in the French world premiere of Les Misérables), John Owen-Jones (the youngest actor ever to play Valjean in the West End and currently starring as Valjean on Broadway), and Hugh Panaro (Marius in the original Broadway production of Les Misérables). crooned “Bring Him Home.” Marie Zamora, the original Cosette in the Paris production of Les Misérables, and also the wife of Alain Boublil performed “Au Petit Matin” from a show that sounded like a rip off of Les Misérables in French. It is good to be the wife of the composer. She also joined Lea Salonga in a French/English version of “Mon Histoire/On My Own” which Ms. Salonga did for musical theatre legend, Sir Cameron Mackintosh (Honorary Co-Chair for the event, along with 2-time Tony winner and American Theatre Hall of Fame member Patti LuPone) in London. Sir Cameron Mackintosh, Richard Maltby, Boublil and Schöneberg were all in attendance.
Stephanie J Block recreated her role of the The Pirate Queen singing “Woman” and bringing down the house. This girl can sing.
In addition, 837 New York City schoolchildren from the Pops’ Kids in the Balcony program attended the performance free of charge, filling the entire top tier of the auditorium.
At the after party guest continued the celebration.
The New York Pops will return to Forest Hills Stadium in Queens this summer for a concert starring Tony nominee Matthew Morrison and another special guest yet to be announced. The one-night-only, family-friendly event will take place July 7 in the open-air venue and is set to feature a 78-piece orchestra.
The concert will also continue its Kids in the Balcony program, offering 1,000 children an opportunity to attend and learn about live music for free.
Tickets, from $15, are on sale at foresthillsstadium.com.
For more information visit: www.newyorkpops.org.