The New York Pops closed its subscription season at Carnegie Hall with a bang, on March 15, with “Movie Mixtape: Songs from the Silver Screen,” as performed by the Pops, under the knowing baton of Music Director Steven Reineke, and a quartet of winning guest soloists.
Introduced by the familiar 20th Century Fox fanfare, Richard A. Whiting’s “Hooray for Hollywood,” from “Hollywood Hotel,” as arranged by Robert Wendel, served as the program’s rollicking overture. Ryan Silverman gave us an upbeat, smoothly sung “Blue Skies,” with the Pops and pianist Lee Musiker, in Roger Holmes’ arrangement—the Irving Berlin song was used in “The Jazz Singer,” the first talkie. Making his Pops and Carnegie debut, Mykal Kilgore offered a swinging, ornamented account of Nelson Riddle’s take on the Gershwins’ “They Can’t Take that Away from Me,” from “Shall We Dance,” in the sweetest of head tone. A late addition to the concert, Laura Osnes, replacing Ashley Park, began with a melting “Over the Rainbow,” by Arlen and Harburg, from “The Wizard of Oz,” in the arrangement Judy Garland sang here on April 23, 1961, as adapted by Jon Charles. Returning to the Pops, Storm Large lent her distinctive, penetrating instrument to a dramatic, heartbreaking rendition of another Garland favorite, Arlen and Ira Gershwin’s “The Man that Got Away,” from “A Star Is Born.”
After dealing with a glitch in the miking, Silverman and Osnes collaborated on a dulcet “Moon River,” by Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer, from “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” after Truman Capote, in Ralph Hermann’s arrangement. Osnes recalled the silver screen version of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “The Sound of Music” for us with the title song, sung with full beauty and vitality, in the Irvin Kostal orchestration used in the film.
Large returned for a quiet, contemplative title song from “The Way We Were,” by Marvin Hamlisch and Alan and Marilyn Bergman, using both chest register and legit head voice, with assistance from Musiker, in Torrie Zito’s edition. Kilgore followed it with an elated “Rainbow Connection,” by Paul Williams and Kenneth Ascher, as arranged by Reineke, from “The Muppet Movie,” and embellished its conclusion with interpolated high notes. Silverman sang a sizzling title song from “Footloose,” by Kenny Loggins and Dean Pitchford, as arranged by Sam Shoup, and the company’s rocking finale for the first half of the evening was a zesty pairing of DeNicola, Markowitz, and Previte’s “The Time of My Life” and Berry Gordy, Jr.’s “Do You Love Me,” from “Dirty Dancing,” in Tim Berens’ arrangement.
In memory of the recently-deceased Michel Legrand and André Previn, Reineke led a haunting theme from “Summer of ’42,” by Legrand. A medley of Walt Disney classics followed and included, “Zip-a-Dee Doo-Dah,” from “Song of the South;” “Chim Chim Cher-ee” and “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” from “Mary Poppins;” “Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo,” “the Work Song,” and “A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes,” from “Cinderella;” the “Mickey Mouse March;” and “It’s a Small World,” concluding with a rhapsodic reprise of “Zip-a-Dee Doo-Dah.”
Voicing “The Little Mermaid” Ariel’s wish, Osnes delivered an eager, breathtaking “Part of Your World,” Menken and Ashman’s song, originally orchestrated by opera and Hollywood’s Thomas Pasatieri, in a revised version by Bruce Healy (arrangement) and Gregory Smith (orchestration). Kilgore joined her for a gently rocking “When You Believe,” by Stephen Schwartz and Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, from “The Prince of Egypt,” as arranged and orchestrated by Matt Podd.
Canadian import Silverman reveled in tongue-in-cheek martial air “Blame Canada,” by Trey Parker and Marc Shaiman, from “South Park: Bigger, Longer, & Uncut,” orchestrated by Jeff Atmajian and arranged by Shaiman. Large and Silverman harmonized lyrically in “Falling Slowly,” by Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová, from “Once,” in Jack Everly’s edition. With pianist Musiker, Large continued with a volcanic, apocalyptic anthem “Skyfall,” by Adele, from the James Bond film of the same name, in J.A.C. Redford’s edition.
The company ended the concert with Pharrell Williams’ “(’Cause I’m) Happy,” from “Despicable Me 2,” in Shoup’s arrangement; proud anti-bullying number “This Is Me,” by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, from “The Greatest Showman,” arranged and orchestrated by Josh Freilich; and as a rousing encore, “We Are the Champions,” the Queen song, used in “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
The climax of the Pops’ full season will be its 36th Birthday Gala, honoring Cyndi Lauper, on April 29 at 7 pm at Carnegie Hall, with “Hat Full of Stars: the Songs of Cyndi Lauper.” Guest artists will include Annaleigh Ashford, Boy George, Estelle, Bridget Everett, Nona Hendryx, Carly Rae Jepsen, Alex Newell, and Stark Sands. A black tie dinner and dance at the Mandarin Oriental New York follows the concert. For tickets for the concert only, visit www.newyorkpops.org or telephone 212/765-7677, or visit www.carnegiehall.org
or call CarnegieCharge at 212/347-7800. For tickets for the full gala, visit the Pops’ web site or call the Pops’ phone number.