Tony Award winner Kelli O’Hara will have good reason to whistle a happy tune on the first day of May. The New York Pops orchestra is celebrating its 34th anniversary that evening at a gala honoring her and fellow Tony winner, director Bartlett Sher. The Carnegie Hall concert will be followed by a black-tie dinner dance at the Mandarin Oriental hotel in Manhattan.
Guest performers include multiple Tony Award nominees Judy Kuhn (Fun Home), Rebecca Luker (The Music Man), and Marin Mazzie (Passion). They join a lineup that includes Steven Pasquale and Matthew Broderick, who were O’Hara’s co-stars in the musicals The Bridges of Madison County and Nice Work If You Can Get It, respectively, plus Danny Burstein, Ruthie Ann Miles, Laura Osnes, Paulo Szot, Adam Kantor, and Chris Sullivan. The event will including compositions by Jason Robert Brown and Nico Muhly. Music will be played by the Pops under the baton of music director Steven Reineke.
Additionally, 20 students from the New York Pops’ Kids on Stage will take part in the evening: Luke Actie, Lucinda Bryce, Eve Budd, Christian Chanderdatt, Lukas Chin, Julianne Chin-Drachman, Anthony Flanders, Miles Hilger LeDonne von Unwerth, Macy Jiang, Sophia Kschwendt, Catherine Li, John Liu, Olivia McCallum, Stella Oh, Nicholas O’Sullivan, Zoe Shack, Mela Sherman, Allison Shih, Aminah Sterling, and Mondriana Villegas.
Concert-only tickets range $68 to $160 and can be purchased at NewYorkPops.org or by calling (212) 765-7677. Tickets to the full gala evening range from $1,350 (concert and dinner seating for one) to $50,000 (premier concert seating and dinner table for eight).
In the past decade, O'Hara and Sher have collaborated on such critically acclaimed productions as The Light in the Piazza, South Pacific, The Bridges of Madison County, and The King and I; O'Hara won her Tony Award for her performance in the last. Sher won a Tony for his direction of South Pacific.
“Kelli and Bart are two of the most talented artists working in theatre today,” said conductor Reineke. “Bart’s beautiful direction of The King and I and Kelli’s stunning performance in the leading role of Anna Leonowens garnered them both loads of praise last year, and like the rest of New York City, I was swept up into the world they created and brought to life on stage. Their partnerships have led New York audiences from Siam to Madison County to an island in the South Pacific, and always they remain the models of grace and professionalism, poise and perfection. Kelli and Bart are the true personification of stars, and I can’t wait to celebrate them with the fantastic musicians of The New York Pops at Carnegie Hall next May.”
Music honoree O’Hara, who also sits on the Board of The New York Pops, added, “The New York Pops is one of my favorite organizations in New York, and I am so excited to share the stage at the 34th Birthday Gala with Steven Reineke and this great orchestra. It’s a distinct pleasure to be the Music Honoree alongside my longtime collaborator and friend Bart Sher. We are eager to celebrate the important work they do not only at Carnegie Hall but also in music education programs across New York City.”
Luker, Mazzie, Kuhn, Osnes, Burstein, and Szot have all been special guest performers on Playbill’s Broadway on the High Seas cruises. Szot, Burstein, and Luker, will be featured guest stars on Playbill’s upcoming Broadway on the Rhône River cruise, scheduled for May 21–28. That cruise is sold out, but cabins are still available for the Rhine River cruise in August 2017, featuring Seth Rudetsky, Andréa Burns, Faith Prince, Terrence Mann, Charlotte d’Amboise, and Santino Fontana. Playbill Travel is now also booking Broadway on the Danube River for November 2017, with celebrity guests to be announced. Visit PlaybillTravel.com for booking and information