Several of Broadway's leading performers will take part in an upcoming Boston Pops tribute to Richard Rodgers, which will be taped for a July PBS broadcast.
Audra McDonald, Lillias White, Rebecca Luker, Mary Testa, Douglas Sills and Ron Raines will all perform at the May 13 Boston Pops Gala, which will be taped for airing during the upcoming "Evening at Pops" PBS series. Keith Lockhart will lead the Boston Pops Orchestra at Boston's Symphony Hall in an evening that will also include a performance of "Slaughter on Tenth Avenue" by the Mark Morris Dance Company.
The star-studded, black-tie-optional event will salute the music of Richard Rodgers, who would be celebrating his 100th birthday this year. During his lifetime, Rodgers penned over 900 songs. His partnerships with Lorenz Hart and later with Oscar Hammerstein II produced some of the most successful musicals in Broadway history. His works with Hart included On Your Toes, Babes in Arms, I Married an Angel, The Boys from Syracuse, Pal Joey and By Jupiter, and the Rodgers Hammerstein collaboration spawned Oklahoma!, Carousel, South Pacific, The King and I, Flower Drum Song and The Sound of Music. A hit revival of Oklahoma! just opened to glowing notices at Broadway's Gershwin Theatre.
Audra McDonald scored Tonys for three of her four Broadway outings: Carousel, Master Class and Ragtime. She was last on Broadway in the title role of Marie Christine and will return to the intimate stage of Joe's Pub next month. Lillias White, who starred in the revival of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, nabbed her Tony for her work in Cy Coleman's The Life. She also starred on Broadway in Barnum and Once on This Island and just completed a critically hailed stint at Feinstein's at the Regency.
Rebecca Luker, the Clara of the upcoming Kennedy Center production of Stephen Sondheim's Passion, was last on Broadway in the revival of Meredith Willson's The Music Man, earning a Tony nomination for her work. She has also appeared on Broadway in Show Boat (Tony nomination), The Sound of Music and The Phantom of the Opera. Mary Testa is now starring on Broadway in the acclaimed 42nd Street revival, and her other Broadway credits include Marie Christine, On the Town and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.
Douglas Sills earned a Theatre World Award and was nominated for a Tony for his leading role in The Scarlet Pimpernel. His other theatrical credits include the national tours of The Secret Garden and Into the Woods and the Los Angeles premiere of Chess. Ron Raines, who joined the Broadway production of Chicago last month, also appears on the CBS daytime drama "Guiding Light." His many stage roles include the Broadway and national tours of Teddy & Alice, Show Boat, The Unsinkable Molly Brown and Can-Can.
Symphony Hall is located at 301 Massachusetts Avenue in Boston, MA. Tickets are available by calling SymphonyCharge at (617) 266-1200 or (888) 266-1200.
—By Andrew Gans