The New York Pops concluded its season at Carnegie Hall on May 4 with a starry 32nd birthday gala, conducted by Music Director Steven Reineke, billed as “The New Golden Age;” saluting director and choreographer siblings Tony® Award-winner Kathleen Marshall and Academy Award-nominee Rob Marshall, as well as Pops Board Members Carrie and Tedmund Pryor, of Greenwich Harbor Partners; and featuring luminaries ranging from Renée Fleming and Kelli O’Hara to Queen Latifah, and Alan Cumming to Brian Stokes Mitchell and Victor Garber, many of whom appeared in stage, film, or television productions by the Marshalls. The concert was followed by a dinner dance at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel.
Cumming aptly welcomed us with a zesty “Wilkommen,” from Kander and Ebb’s “Cabaret,” and was rewarded with much applause when he declared, “Even ze orchestra is beautiful,” and likewise, “ze girls,” “ze boys,” “ze Honorees,” “even Steven!” Garber gave us a winningly diabolical “Those Were the Good Old Days,” from Adler and Ross’ “Damn Yankees,” a musical the Marshall siblings worked on together. Rachel York, backed by dancers Joshua Buscher, Max Clayton, Michaeljon Slinger, and Amos Wolff, cheered us with an exuberant “Le Jazz Hot,” by Henry Mancini and Leslie Bricusse, from “Victor/Victoria,” with choreography by Joshua Bergasse and styling by Eric Gabbard, Reineke’s husband. York returned later for a haunting “Children Will Listen,” the Witch’s song from Stephen Sondheim’s “Into the Woods.”
Mitchell and Sutton Foster, stars of Kathleen Marshall-guided Cole Porter revivals, offered, respectively, upbeat lament “Where is the Life that Late I Led?,” from “Kiss Me, Kate,” relishing the double entendres, and a brassily pattering title song from “Anything Goes.” Opera’s Fleming and Broadway’s O’Hara co-starred in the Metropolitan Opera’s “The Merry Widow” and, here, surprise guest Fleming, of course unamplified, gave us an at once earthy and bel canto “Summertime,” from the Gershwins’ and DuBose Heyward’s “Porgy and Bess,” and O’Hara sang a ravishing “Someone to Watch Over Me,” by the Gershwins, which she sang in “Nice Work If You Can Get It.” Ken Watanabe, O’Hara’s co-star in “The King and I,” at Lincoln Center, introduced John Williams’ evocative “Sayuri’s Theme,” from the film “Memoirs of a Geisha,” which Rob Marshall directed.
Laura Benanti sang a sweet and legit “(In a very) Unusual Way,” from Maury Yeston’s “Nine.” Bebe Neuwirth seduced us with her hot “All That Jazz,” from Kander and Ebb’s “Chicago,” and Queen Latifah brought down the house with her insinuating, richly-voiced “When You’re Good to Mama,” which she sang in Rob Marshall’s film of the same musical.
With a lilting, affecting, and uplifting “Out of the Darkness (into the light),” Margo Seibert, James Snyder, the Pops and, at the piano, Zina Goldrich treated us to a preview of Goldrich and Marcy Heisler’s new musical “Ever After,” which will be given a premiere by Paper Mill Playhouse.
Representing the Pops’ educational programs, the Camp Broadway Kids sang, danced, and marched, on the stage and up the parterre aisles, in an engaging “Seventy-Six Trombones,” from Meredith Willson’s “The Music Man;” Kids on the Stage, 20 student musicians, joined the orchestra for Hans Zimmer and Klaus Badelt’s sweeping and swashbuckling themes from Rob Marshall’s film “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides;” and, led by Rob McClure, Children of Ronald McDonald House New York, pediatric cancer patients and their siblings, touched us with “You’re Never Fully Dressed without a Smile,” by Charles Strouse and Martin Charnin, from “Annie.”
To close the performance, Cumming led members of the company in the title song from “Cabaret.”
The New York Pops returns to Carnegie on October 9, with Judith Clurman’s Essential Voices USA, for “My Favorite Things: the Songs of Rodgers and Hammerstein;” November 13, with Montego Glover, Capathia Jenkins, and Sy Smith, in “Sophisticated Ladies,” celebrating the music of Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, and Dinah Washington; on December 18, with Stephanie Block, Brian d’Arcy James, and Essential Voices, for “It’s Christmas Time in the City;” on March 11, 2016 for “42nd Street on 57th Street: Broadway Today;” and on April 18, for “Lights, Camera, Action: Spielberg and Williams,” celebrating John Williams’ music for Steven Spielberg films. Visit www.newyorkpops.or
g for further information.