The New York Pops, opened their 2019-2020 season, with a sold out one night only concert with stage and screen star Jeremy Jordan. At the helm music director, arranger and conductor Steven Reineke, at the Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage at Carnegie Hall.
The concert started off with the jubilant Festive Overture by Dmitri Shostakovich. The New York Pops never sounded better.
Dressed in a taupe suit with a purplish tie, Jordan began with “Something’s Coming” from West Side Story. Jordan was the alternate for the leading role of Tony in the 2009 Broadway revival of West Side Story. Jordan reprised his role as Tony in the Hollywood Bowl concert, alongside Karen Olivo. Having heard him sing this, all I could think of was Spielberg and Von Hove missed the perfect opportunity, as Jordon’s flawless tenor caressed these lyrics with a fresh take.
“Broadway, Here I Come!”, Joe Iconis’s song from Smash had the balcony cheering with joy. Jordan’s natural easy patter was refreshing as he seemed at home with the New York Pops.
One of the gems of the night was Jeremy’s take on the Sara Bareilles song “She Used To Be Mine”, from Waitress. He originally sang this at Broadway Backwards. Jordan return to Broadway taking on the role of Dr. Pomatter in Waitress, this April for a few months.
The Pops returned with Cole Porter’s “Begin The Beguine”, where the arranger Ralph Hermann switched the leading instrument from a famous clarinet, to an Oboe.
Rogers & Hammerstein’s “Soliloquy” from Carousel, was dedicated to Jordan’s 6-month-old daughter Clara. Jordan’s version was raw, honest, melodic and perfectly sung. His vocal range is seriously remarkable as he used every register flawlessly. Jordan is a singers singer.
In January The Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization presented a new video series titled “R&H Goes Pop!” on the Rodgers & Hammerstein YouTube channel. The series launched with the premiere of a music video featuring Jordan singing “Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin'” with arrangements created by Jordan and Benjamin Rauhala. The launch of this video series celebrated and coincides with the 75th Anniversary of the team’s first collaboration, Oklahoma!. Jordan recreated that version for us.
Jordan performed at the L.A. Arboretum with the Pasadena Pops Orchestra in 2015. He performed a medley of songs created by Oscar-winning composer and arranger Johnny Mandel for singer Andy Williams. The medley included “Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing,” “Mona Lisa,” “All the Way,” “Moon River,” and more. Closing out the first act was this medley showing off another side of the talented Jeremy Jordan.
Starting off the second act the orchestra brought “At the End of the Day”/”Do You Hear the People Sing”, from Les Misérables to a rousing new beginning.
One of Jordan’s favorite songs,”Bring Him Home” from Les Misérables showed his skills as an actor and his lower range.
I was delighted with his rendition of “Moving Too Fast” from The Last Five Years. Jordan played Jamie Wellerstein in the 2015 film adaptation costarring Anna Kendrick as Cathy Hyatt. The Pops made this song sound even better, hearing it played full out.
Jordan also writes music and is working on a solo CD. His heart-wrenching “Undertow” was haunting and lovely. Jordan was also thrilled with the arrangement by the fabulous Benjamin Rauhala and the orchestration by Adam Podd.
Jordan is totally in love with his wife and it showed as he brought up the lovely Ashley Spencer. They both performed in Rock of Ages, though not together. This show brought them together. Ashley was auditioning for the show, Jeremy was in it. A mutual friend told them to connect on Facebook. Ashley asked Jeremy, for pointers and when they met it was love at first site, plus Ashley’s building had a pool. “More Than Words” and “Heaven” showed the couples style.
A mention medley of Alan Menkin “Go the Distance”, from Hercules, “I See the Light”, from Tangled, “Out There”, from The Hunchback of Notre Dame, “That’s How You Know”, from Enchanted, “Little Shop of Horrors”, from Little Shop of Horrors, “Zero to Hero”, from Hercules, “King of New York”, from Newsies, “Friend Like Me”, from Aladdin, Theme from Galavant, “Part of Your World”, from The Little Mermaid, “Colors of the Wind”, from Pocahontas, “A Whole New World”, from Aladdin, “Kiss the Girl”, from The Little Mermaid, “Carrying the Banner”, from Newsies, “Be Our Guest”, from Beauty and the Beast and “Under the Sea”, from The Little Mermaid, led to the reveal of the New York Pops honorees for their 2020 gala. Frozen and Ave Q married couple Kristen and Bobby Lopez’s music is set for the big night.
Jordan originated the role of Jack Kelly in the stage version of Newsies at the Paper Mill Playhouse, then took it to Broadway in 2012., Jordan was nominated for the 2012 Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical. He was also nominated for a 2013 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theatre Album as a principal soloist on the Newsies cast album. It was fitting that the last song of the night should be”Santa Fe” from that show. Jordan again knocked it out of the park or rather the hall.
For the encore, Jordan returned with Ashley. They have longed to work with each other, so a medley of songs from shows “That we want to do,” Included “Our Children”, from Ragtime, “Follow Your Heart”, from Urinetown, “As Long As You’re Mine”, from Wicked, “Come What May”, from Moulin Rouge and “Suddenly, Seymour”, from Little Shop of Horrors.
This night was the first of many magical evenings by The New York Pops. Next up December 20th “A Frank and Ella Christmas” starring jazz star Tony DeSare and stage legend Capathia Jenkins. This New York Pops’ annual holiday celebration, is one of my favorite ways to bring in the holidays. You will be sure to get in the Christmas mood. Get your tickets now as they sell out.
To see more of The New York Pops season go here. This cherished orchestra is one of the best things about New York.
To see more of Jeremy Jordan head to Feinstein’s/54 Below for 12, concerts starting February 12-29. Again buy your tickets now because he will sell out.