Pasadena, CA – Principal Pops Conductor Michael Feinstein opens the 2018 Pasadena POPS Sierra Summer Concert Series on Saturday, June 23rd with That’s Entertainment: Gershwin to Sondheim. The POPS season opener will cover the gamut of the Great American Songbook from jazz standards to Broadway hits, and vintage charts that can’t be heard anywhere else. Hear your Broadway favorites from Porgy and Bess and An American in Paris to Company and Follies, plus popular standards and vintage archival surprises with Nice Work if You Can Get It, S’Wonderful, and Being Alive just to name a few.
To start off the season with a bang, Feinstein will be premiering three arrangements for orchestra that have never been performed for a public audience. These archival gems include an arrangement by Irwin Kostal of Gershwin’s Second Prelude and a vintage orchestration by Frank Comstock of André and Dory Previn’s Has He Come Too Late. Feinstein himself will take the mic to sing a never-before heard Tedd Firth arrangement of St. Louis Blues to round out an evening full of surprises.
Two Sondheim alum will be joining the POPS orchestra for this Broadway showcase, with Emmy Award-winner Liz Callaway, who got her Broadway start in Merrily We Roll Along and went on to star in Miss Saigon, Baby and Cats among others; and Aaron Lazar, another Sondheim alum who starred in the recent west coast production of Merrily We Roll Along. You may also know Lazar from his leading Broadway roles in A Little Night Music, Mamma Mia!, and Les Misérables, for which he received a Drama Desk Award Nomination for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical. Up-and-comer Brighton Thomas will also make an appearance as the former Great American Songbook Youth Ambassador.
All concerts are held at the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden. Grounds open for picnicking and dining at 5:30pm and performances begin at 7:30pm. Don’t miss the best outdoor dinner party in town with spacious circular table seating with fine linens, or lawn seating for those who want to bring a blanket – each option carries on the tradition of picnic-dining with your family and friends with Michael Feinstein and Pasadena’s premier orchestra! Among many venue amenities, concert goers can enjoy pre-ordered gourmet dining packages for on-site pickup just steps from their table from Julienne, Marston’s and Claud & Co. The venue also hosts mouth-watering food trucks and the convenience of two full beverage centers serving fine wines, beer, coffee and soft drinks.
Audiences get the ultimate outdoor concert experience with large LED video screens to see the artists and orchestra up close, superior sound and the high-quality production value that is a signature of the Pasadena POPS. For those who want to make a night of it, exclusive hotel packages are available for POPS patrons at Pasadena’s landmark Hotel Constance.
The Arboretum is located at301 North Baldwin Ave., Arcadia, CA. Subscribers may pre-purchase parking on-site at the Arboretum, and all concertgoers enjoy free parking at the adjacent Westfield Santa Anita shopping center with complimentary non-stop shuttle service to the Arboretum’s main entrance.
Single tickets start at $25. Season subscriptions and single tickets are now on sale, and are available by calling the box office at (626)-793-7172, online at PasadenaSymphony-Pops.org or at the Arboretum on the day of the concerts.
- What: The Pasadena POPS presents That’s Entertainment: Gershwin to Sondheim
Michael Feinstein, Principal Pops Conductor, Tom & Erika Girardi Chair
Liz Callaway, Aaron Lazar & Brighton Thomas, soloists
- When: June 23, 2018 at 7:30pm
- Where: The LA County Arboretum | 301 N Baldwin Ave., Arcadia, CA 91007
- Cost: Tickets start at $25.00
- Dining: Gates open at 5:30pm for picnicking. Guests are welcome to bring their own food and drink or visit one of the many onsite food vendors.
- Parking: Subscribers have the opportunity to purchase onsite Arboretum parking. Single ticket holders may park for free at the Westfield Santa Anita shopping center with free non-stop shuttles to the main gate.
Principal Pops Conductor
Tom and Erika Girardi Chair
Michael Feinstein has built a dazzling career over the last three decades bringing the music of the Great American songbook to the world. From recordings that have earned him five Grammy Award nominations to his Emmy nominated PBS-TV specials, his acclaimed NPR series and concerts spanning the globe – in addition to his appearances at iconic venues such as The White House, Buckingham Palace, Hollywood Bowl, Carnegie Hall and Sydney Opera House – his work as an educator and archivist define Feinstein as one of the most important musical forces of our time.
In 2007, he founded the Great American Songbook Foundation, dedicated to celebrating the art form and preserving it through educational programs, Master Classes, and the annual High School Songbook Academy. This summer intensive open to students from across the country has produced graduates who have gone on to record acclaimed albums and appear on television programs such as NBC’s “America’s Got Talent.” Michael serves on the Library of Congress’ National Recording Preservation Board, an organization dedicated to ensuring the survival, conservation and increased public availability of America’s sound recording heritage.
The most recent album from his multi-platinum recording career is A Michael Feinstein Christmas from Concord Records. The CD features Grammy Award -winning jazz pianist Alan Broadbent (Paul McCartney, Diana Krall, Natalie Cole). Feinstein earned his fifth Grammy Award nomination in 2009 for The Sinatra Project, his CD celebrating the music of “Ol’ Blue Eyes.” The Sinatra Project, Volume II: The Good Life was released in 2011. He released the CDs The Power Of Two – collaborating with “Glee” and “30 Rock” star Cheyenne Jackson – and Cheek To Cheek, recorded with Broadway legend Barbara Cook. For Feinstein’s CD We Dreamed These Days, he co-wrote the title song with Dr. Maya Angelou.
His Emmy Award-nominated TV special Michael Feinstein – The Sinatra Legacy, which was taped live at the Palladium in Carmel, IN, aired across the country in 2011. The PBS series “Michael Feinstein’s American Songbook,” the recipient of the ASCAP Deems-Taylor Television Broadcast Award, was broadcast for three seasons and is available on DVD. His most recent primetime PBS-TV Special, “New Year’s Eve at The Rainbow Room” – written and directed by “Desperate Housewives” creator Marc Cherry – aired in 2014. For his nationally syndicated public radio program “Song Travels,” Michael interviews and performs alongside of music luminaries such as Bette Midler, Neil Sedaka, Liza Minnelli, Rickie Lee Jones, David Hyde Pierce and more.
Feinstein was named Principal Pops Conductor for the Pasadena Symphony in 2012 and made his conducting debut in June 2013 to celebrated critical acclaim. Under Feinstein’s leadership, the Pasadena Pops has quickly become a premier orchestral presenter of the Great American Songbook with definitive performances of rare orchestrations and classic arrangements. He launched an additional Pops series at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts in Palm Beach, Florida in 2014.
Michael’s book The Gershwins and Me – the Los Angeles Times best-seller from Simon & Schuster – features a new CD of Gershwin standards performed with Cyrus Chestnut at the piano.
Feinstein serves as Artistic Director of the Palladium Center for the Performing Arts, a $170 million, three-theatre venue in Carmel, Indiana, which opened in January 2011. The theater is home to diverse live programming and a museum for his rare memorabilia and manuscripts. Since 1999, he has served as Artistic Director for Carnegie Hall’s “Standard Time with Michael Feinstein” in conjunction with ASCAP. In 2010 he became the director of the Jazz and Popular Song Series at New York’s Jazz at Lincoln Center.
Feinstein’s at the Nikko, Michael’s nightclub at San Francisco’s Nikko Hotel, has presented the top talents of pop and jazz since 2013. He debuted at Feinstein’s/54 Below, his new club in New York, late in 2015. His first venue in New York, Feinstein’s at the Regency, featured major entertainers such as Rosemary Clooney, Glen Campbell, Barbara Cook, Diahann Carroll, Jane Krakowski, Lea Michele, Cyndi Lauper, Jason Mraz and Alan Cumming from 1999 to 2012.
He has designed a new piano for Steinway called “The First Ladies,” inspired by the White House piano and signed by several former First Ladies. It was first played to commemorate the Ronald Regan centennial on February 6, 2011.
In 2013 Michael released Change Of Heart: The Songs of Andre Previn in collaboration with four time Oscar and eleven time Grammy Award-winning composer-conductor-pianist Andre Previn. The album celebrates Previn’s pop songs and motion picture classics. Earlier album highlights include Hopeless Romantics, a songbook of classics by Michael’s late friend Harry Warren, recording with legendary jazz pianist George Shearing. His album with songwriting icon Jimmy Webb, Only One Life – The Songs of Jimmy Webb, was named one of “10 Best CDs of the Year” by USA Today.
Feinstein received his fourth Grammy nomination for Michael Feinstein with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, his first recording with a symphony orchestra. The year before, Rhino/Elektra Music released The Michael Feinstein Anthology, a two-disc compilation spanning 1987 to 1996 and featuring old favorites and previously-unreleased tracks.
Michael was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, where he started playing piano by ear as a 5-year-old. After graduating from high school, he moved to Los Angeles when he was 20. The widow of legendary concert pianist-actor Oscar Levant introduced him to Ira Gershwin in July 1977. Feinstein became Gershwin’s assistant for six years, which earned him access to numerous unpublished Gershwin songs, many of which he has since performed and recorded.
Gershwin’s influence provided a solid base upon which Feinstein evolved into a captivating performer, composer and arranger of his own original music. He also has become an unparalleled interpreter of music legends such as Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern, Johnny Mercer, Duke Ellington and Harry Warren. Feinstein has received three honorary doctorates.
Through his live performances, recordings, film and television appearances, and his songwriting (in collaboration with Alan and Marilyn Bergman, Lindy Robbins, Bob Merrill and Marshall Barer), Feinstein is an all-star force in American music.
For more information, please visit www.MichaelFeinstein.com.
Liz Callaway is a Tony nominee and Emmy Award-winning actress, singer and recording artist. She made her Broadway debut in Stephen Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along, received a Tony Award nomination for her performance in Baby, and for five years, won acclaim as Grizabella in Cats. She has also starred in the original casts of Miss Saigon, The Three Musketeers, and The Look of Love.
Off-Broadway she received a Drama Desk nomination for her performance in The Spitfire Grill (Playwrights Horizons), and also appeared in Brownstone (Roundabout), No Way to Treat a Lady, Marry Me a Little, and Godspell. Other New York appearances include the legendary Follies in Concert at Lincoln Center, A Stephen Sondheim Evening, Fiorello! (Encores!), and Hair in Concert.
Regionally, she starred as Venus in the Chicago Ovations! production of One Touch of Venus, in Elegies at Reprise! in Los Angeles, and Fascinating Rhythm at Hartford Stage. She also played Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard at Pittsburgh CLO.
Ms. Callaway has also established a major career as a concert and recording artist. The award-winning Sibling Revelry (created with sister Ann Hampton Callaway) was presented to great acclaim at the Donmar Warehouse in London. Boom!, a celebration of the music of the 60’s and 70’s, also created with her sister was recorded live at Birdland and has toured the country. She had the pleasure of singing “Chances Are” with singing legend Johnny Mathis, co-starred with Jimmy Webb & Paul Williams in their critically acclaimed engagement at Feinstein’s in New York and joined Burt Bacharach, Dionne Warwick, and Stevie Wonder at Hal David’s 90th Birthday Celebration Concert at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles. Her extensive US symphony work includes appearances at The Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, Ravinia, and The Hollywood Bowl. Worldwide, she has performed in China, Australia (with Stephen Schwartz), New Zealand, Vietnam, Iceland, Estonia, France (Theatre du Chatelet, Paris), South Korea, and Barcelona’s Gran Teatre del Liceu where she premiered a new concert featuring the music of Stephen Sondheim.
Liz sang the Academy Award nominated song “Journey to the Past” in the animated feature Anastasia and is also the singing voice of Princess Jasmine in Disney’s Aladdin and the King of Thieves and The Return of Jafar. Other film work includes the singing voice of the title character in The Swan Princess, The Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride, Beauty and the Beast, Lyle, Lyle the Crocodile and The Brave Little Toaster Goes to Mars.
She received an Emmy Award for hosting Ready to Go, a daily, live children’s program on CBS in Boston. Other TV credits include In Performance at the White House, Inside the Actor’s Studio: Stephen Sondheim, Christmas with the Boston Pops, The David Letterman Show, and Senior Trip (CBS Movie of the Week).
Liz has released six solo recordings: Passage of Time, The Beat Goes On, The Story Goes On: Liz Callaway On and Off-Broadway, Anywhere I Wander: Liz Callaway Sings Frank Loesser, Merry and Bright and her newest album The Essential Liz Callaway. Her numerous other recordings include Sibling Revelry, Boom! Live at Birdland, The Maury Yeston Songbook, Dreaming Wide Awake: The Music of Scott Alan, A Stephen Sondheim Evening, Hair in Concert, the original cast album of A Christmas Story and the complete recording of Allegro produced by the Rodgers and Hammerstein Organization.
Aaron grew up in Cherry Hill, NJ and was an athlete and performer in high school. While at Duke University studying to be a doctor, he got cast as Billy Bigelow in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel. That’s when he started dreaming of a career on Broadway and beyond.
Aaron’s Broadway credits include Mamma Mia!,
A Little Night Music and Enjolras in Les Misérables, for which he received a Drama Desk Award Nomination for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical. Aaron’s been blessed to work with some of the most talented people in the world. It is his life’s passion to share the arts with audiences worldwide.
The Pasadena Symphony Association
Recent Acclaim for the Pasadena Symphony and POPS
“The Pasadena Symphony signals a new direction…teeming with vitality…dripping with opulent, sexy emotion.” Los Angeles Times.
“…full of pulsating energy from first note to last… the strings were lushly resonant, the wind principals were at the top of their games, and the brass rang out with gleaming vigor.” –Pasadena Star News.
Formed in 1928, the Pasadena Symphony and POPS is an ensemble of Hollywood’s most talented, sought after musicians. With extensive credits in the film, television, recording and orchestral industry, the artists of Pasadena Symphony and POPS are the most heard in the world.
The Pasadena Symphony and POPS performs in two of the most extraordinary venues in the United States: Ambassador Auditorium, known as the Carnegie Hall of the West, and the luxuriant Los Angeles Arboretum & Botanic Garden. Internationally recognized, Grammy-nominated conductor, David Lockington, serves as the Pasadena Symphony Association’s Music Director, with performance-practice specialist Nicholas McGegan serving as Principal Guest Conductor. The multi-platinum-selling, two-time Emmy and five-time Grammy Award-nominated entertainer dubbed “The Ambassador of the Great American Songbook,” Michael Feinstein, is the Principal Pops Conductor, who succeeded Marvin Hamlisch in the newly created Marvin Hamlisch Chair.
A hallmark of its robust education programs, the Pasadena Symphony Association has served the youth of the region for over five decades through the Pasadena Youth Symphony Orchestras (PYSO) comprised of five performing ensembles, with over 250 gifted 4th-12th grade students from more than 50 schools all over the Southern California region. The PYSO Symphony often performs on the popular television show GLEE.
The PSA provides people from all walks of life with powerful access points to the world of symphonic music.