Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's Extravagant Musical Celebration, Holiday Spectacular, Returns with 12 Performances, December 14-23
Host Mike Eldred and conductor Jack Everly lead third-annual, Broadway-style extravaganza at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall
Baltimore, Md. (November 1, 2007) -With more than 100 performers, elaborate costumes, sparkling scenery and two 30-foot tall nutcrackers, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's popular Holiday Spectacular rivals the glitz and glamour of any New York City production. Having expanded by three additional performances after a nearly sold-out season in 2006, Holiday Spectacular will once again delight audiences of all ages in 12 concerts December 14-23 at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. Featuring a cast of more than 100 dancers, singers and entertainers from across the country, this Broadway-style variety show features the BSO performing holiday classics with host and vocalist Mike Eldred and other special guests. Holiday Spectacular creator and BSO Principal Pops conductor Jack Everly promises a performance as equally spectacular as last season, "90 percent new," including new songs and two perennial favorites-the "Santa Tap" and "''Twas the Night Before Christmas." See below for event details.
The BSO Holiday Spectacular is more-dance oriented than previous seasons and will feature ballet, pointe, jazz, tap and Irish clog dancing. Highlights include a Riverdance-esque performance from Chicago's O'Hare Irish Dancers, as well as the Baltimore School of Arts Dancers performing an excerpt from the The Nutcracker. Not to be forgotten, the high-kicking Tap-Dancing Santas will return to close the first act with their rousing number. Song selections include holiday classics such as "Twelve Days of Christmas," "Joy to the World," "First Noel" and "Winter Wonderland."
With the same top-notch production team returning from last year, planning for the 2007 Holiday Spectacular began last December. The production team has been busy creating and even more spectacular costumes, grand set pieces and a few surprises. Set designer Gregory Hill, costume designer David Burdick and choreographer Jennifer Ladner are pleased with the results. "It is so incredibly different from our past shows," Ladner said. "It's full of whimsy, wonderful, big costumes, visually amazing and beautiful. After each scene you think you've seen the best number, but then you go 'oh no, that's the best number.'"
BSO Principal Pops conductor Jack Everly, whose SuperPops concerts have earned him a loyal following in Baltimore, conceived of a musical holiday program 13 years ago for the Indianapolis Symphony before bringing a new version to Baltimore. In its 2005 debut, as well as in the 2006 season, the BSO Holiday Spectacular performed to sold-out houses for nearly every show. Drawing audiences from across Maryland, the Mid-Atlantic States and beyond, the BSO Holiday Spectacular has become a new destination for holiday-themed performances and a beloved tradition for Baltimore area families. "With so much variety, humor, poignancy and music from the heart, this is the family holiday event each and every year," Everly said.
Jack Everly, conductor and artistic director
Known for his innovative programming ideas and his knowledge of and love for this genre, Jack Everly is Principal Pops Conductor of the Baltimore, Indianapolis and National Arts Centre (Ottawa) symphony orchestras as well as Music Director for the Symphonic Pops Consortium. He is also the Music Director of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra's A Yuletide Celebration.
Music Director of American Ballet Theater for 14 years, Jack Everly conducted thousands of performances and dozens of world premieres for that company. He teamed with Marvin Hamlisch in shows that Mr. Hamlisch composed. Mr. Everly has appeared on "In Performance at the White House" and has been music director on numerous Broadway cast recordings, including Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame. He conducted the PBS "Dance in America" at New York's City Center as well as the PBS telecast from the Metropolitan Opera House of the Prokofiev-MacMillan Romeo and Juliet.
A frequent guest conductor on the world's concert, opera and ballet stages, Mr. Everly's appearances include the National Symphony of London, the Ravinia Festival Orchestra, the Teatro Colón, the Pacific Symphony Orchestra, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.
Mr. Everly also serves as the Music Advisor for the Symphony Pops Consortium (SPC), an alliance formed by the Indianapolis, Detroit, St. Louis, Milwaukee, National and Seattle symphony orchestras. The SPC is producer of programs that include A Celtic Celebration-The Music of the Emerald Isle, Those Glorious Musicians-A Tribute to MGM and Pops Goes British, featuring the Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber.
Steven Reineke, conductor
Steven Reineke is the Music Associate and Principal Arranger/Composer of the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra and is one of America's most dynamic emerging talents in the symphonic pops genre. Mr. Reineke has written and arranged for pops conductors Doc Severinson, Jack Everly and Michael Krajewski. Mr. Reineke's arrangements can be heard on numerous Cincinnati Pops recordings on the Telarc label and have been broadcast nationally by PBS.
This year Mr. Reineke made his conducting debut with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra with the multi-faceted entertainer Wayne Brady. In addition, Mr. Reineke arranged and orchestrated all of the music for Mr. Brady's new orchestral show.
Mr. Reineke is also an established symphonic composer. His works Celebration Fanfare, Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Casey at the Bat are performed frequently in the United States and Canada. In 2005 his Festival Te Deum and Swans Island Sojourn were performed by the Cincinnati Symphony and Cincinnati Pops respectively. His numerous wind ensemble compositions are published by the C.L. Barnhouse Company and are performed by concert bands around the world. He is a frequent guest conductor and clinician with college and high school bands.
A native of Ohio, Mr. Reineke is a graduate of Miami University of Ohio, receiving two bachelors of music degrees with honors in both trumpet performance and music composition.
Mike Eldred, host
Mike Eldred is one of America's most in-demand and beloved tenors. He has performed with many symphony orchestras including the Chicagoland Pops, the Kansas City Pops, the Cincinnati Pops, the Oklahoma City Philharmonic, the Houston Symphony, the Illinois Philharmonic, Chicago's Grant Park Orchestra and the Nashville Symphony. Last year Mr. Eldred hosted and starred in the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra's Yuletide Celebration.
Multi-talented Mike Eldred also starred on Broadway in the recent "final cast" of Les Misérables in the role of Jean Valjean. He has performed with award-winning artists including Jim Brickman, Michael Bolton, Garth Brooks, Vince Gill, Amy Grant, Richard Marx, Luther Vandross, Stevie Wonder and Trisha Yearwood. Mr. Eldred has released five solo recordings since he began his career more than 20 years ago in the gospel recording industry.
Anyone who has witnessed a performance by singer N'Kenge is not only amazed by the incredible power and range of her voice, they are often surprised at the sheer range of credits and accolades she has accumulated in a very short time. These include the White House where she sang for President Bill Clinton, London's West End at the Theatre Royal in a tribute to the late great Ray Charles, solo engagements in New York at Carnegie Hall and the Lincoln Center and a worldwide broadcast by NPR from the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.
N'Kenge attended the High School of Performing Arts, Manhattan School of Music and The Juilliard School. At 17, she won the Lena Horne Singing Competition Scholarship, the ASCAP Leiber and Stoller Award and the Leontyne Price Vocal Competition. N'Kenge was crowned Miss Manhattan in the Miss America Pageant. She has performed at music festivals in Europe, Israel and the Czech Republic, and it is therefore no surprise that she can sing fluently in ten different languages.
Columbia Artists recognized her notable vocal talents and under their auspices, N'Kenge has given more than 100 solo concerts throughout the United States. While still completing her schooling, N'Kenge recorded a solo CD, Red Souvenir, and continues to present her own program for students with lesser opportunity in schools throughout the country.
This young and energetic singer was recently nominated for the Arizoni Best Actress Award for her portrayal of the leading role in the Elton John/Tim Rice Musical Aida in Arizona, just finished a run of Marion Caffey's 3 Mo' Divas at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C. In the 2007-08 season, she returns as a soloist in pop programs with the Indianapolis Symphony, Ottawa Symphony in Canada and the Baltimore Superpops. The year 2007 will be a big one for N'Kenge in which she makes her debut R&B/Pop album release titled Centerstage with famed producer/songwriter Preston Glass.
Gregory Hill, set designer
Gregory Hill is a set designer working primarily in the television and film industry in New York. His television credits include designing and/or art directing for Law & Order, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and Law and Order: Criminal Intent. This spring he art directed the pilot for a new Warner Brothers show called Traveler. Film credits include Spike Lee's Bamboozled!, Capote (concept art, set sketches), The Devil Wears Prada (Assistant Art Director) and the new Coen Brothers film No Country for Old Men (concept and set sketches, graphic design). He is slated to design a new horror film Death Walks the Streets, scheduled to shoot in and around Chicago. In addition, Mr. Hill has written several screenplays, one of which (King Tori) has been optioned for production in late 2007. He is also illustrating a children's book (Magic ) written by Los Angeles writer/director Tim Wright.
David Burdick, costume designer
David Burdick designs have been seen frequently at Baltimore's Centerstage and favorites include Crumbs from the Table of Joy, Blithe Spirit, The Piano Lesson, Picnic and Mrs. Warren's Profession. He has also designed The Last Night of Ballyhoo and Moon over Buffalo for The Walnut Street Theater, as well as Meditation from the Ash and Lapis Blue, Blood Red at Baltimore Theatre Project. Opera credits include Don Giovanni for Cincinnati Opera, I Puritani for Boston Lyric Opera and Tosca, The Barber of Seville, Carmen and Fidelio for Tulsa Opera. Most recently Mr. Burdick collaborated with choreographer Dianne McIntyre on a premiere dance work entitled Lyric Fire for The Dayton Contemporary Dance Company celebrating the life and work of poet Paul Lawrence Dunbar.
David Levy, stage director
David Levy is a playwright, lyricist and director, with extensive experience Off-Broadway, in regional theatre and in the world of symphony orchestras. Currently, he is represented by several pops evenings, which he directed, including The Beat Goes On, the upcoming Sandi Patty's Broadway and Sophisticated Ellington, which was conducted at Carnegie Hall by Erich Kunzel. Also for the Cincinnati Pops, he scripted Take Me to the River, a PBS television special. In addition, Mr. Levy develops original books, adaptations and lyrics for theatres, orchestras and production companies across the nation.
Jennifer Ladner, choreographer
Jennifer Ladner has choreographed productions for the Indianapolis, Detroit, Alabama, Portland, Seattle and National symphony orchestras. Other choreographic credits include Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre, Pyramid Players, The Children's Museum of Indianapolis and The Indiana Repertory Theatre. She was a member of the Arizona Ballet Theatre and Dance Kaleidoscope and performed in more than 20 productions at Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre and in the touring company of Sophisticated Ellington: Symphony and Swing. Ms. Ladner is on faculty at Butler University.
Baltimore School for the Arts Dancers
The Baltimore School for the Arts Dancers engage in a rigorous and comprehensive program in both traditional ballet and modern technique. The course curriculum includes four years of ballet, modern dance and pointe. In addition to this core curriculum, the Baltimore School for the Arts is fortunate to have a wide variety of esteemed guest artists teach and choreograph its students, including Barry Houghson, Hinton Battle and David Parsons. Baltimore School for the Arts is one of the only performing arts high schools to have the honor of performing some of George Balanchine's works, such as Serenade.
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's Holiday Spectacular
Friday, December 14, 2007 at 7:30 p.m.-Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall (JMSH)
Saturday, December 15, 2007 at 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.-JMSH
Sunday, December 16, 2007 at 2:00 p.m. - JMSH
Wednesday, December 19, 2007 at 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.-JMSH*
Thursday, December 20, 2007 at 7:30 p.m. - JMSH*
Friday, December 21, 2007 at 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.-JMSH*
Saturday, December 22, 2007 at 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.-JMSH*
Sunday, December 23, 2007 at 2:00 p.m. - JMSH*
*Conductor Steven Reineke
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Jack Everly, artistic director and conductor
Steven Rieneke, conductor
Mike Eldred, host
Baltimore School for the Arts Dancers
O'Hare Dance Troupe
Special anniversary pricing for the 2007-2008 season at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall is made possible by generous underwriting from the PNC Foundation.
The 2007 Holiday Spectacular concerts are sponsored by Whiting Turner.
Tickets for these performances range from $30 to $75, with special matinee pricing for children starting at $15. Tickets are available through the BSO Ticket Office, 877.BSO.1444, 410.783.8000 or BSOmusic.org.