SONDHEIM: A 90th Birthday Celebration | The Philly Pops
 
Sondheim: A 90th Birthday Celebration

SONDHEIM: A 90th Birthday Celebration

David Charles Abell, Conductor

Verizon Hall, Kimmel Center for Performing Arts

300 South Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102
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Apr 17-19, 2020
See All Dates & Times
Fri, Apr 17, 2020
8PM
8PM
Sat, Apr 18, 2020
3PM
3PM
Sun, Apr 19, 2020
3PM
3PM
Featuring

Liz Callaway, vocalist 

Fra Fee, vocalist 

Damian Humbley, vocalist

The Philly POPS Festival Chorus

Stephen Sondheim has won a record eight Tony Awards, eight Grammys, a Pulitzer Prize, and an Academy Award. A composer and a lyricist, Sondheim began his career by writing the lyrics for West Side Story; he went on to compose the incomparable music for A Little Night MusicSunday in the Park with GeorgeInto the WoodsFollies, and Sweeney Todd.    

David Charles Abell, who premiered a new Sweeney Todd in Zurich this year, brings the best of Sondheim to Philly in a big birthday bash, starring some of the world’s best “Sondheimians” Liz Callaway, Fra Fee, and Damian Humbley.

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To Purchase tickets or for questions regarding this concert please call 215.893.1999

Guest Artists

David Charles Abell, Principal Guest Conductor

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Born in North Carolina, Principal Guest Conductor David Charles Abell grew up in the Mt. Airy neighborhood of Philadelphia, attending Germantown Friends School through the sixth grade. A gifted musician from a young age, his study of trumpet, viola, piano, and composition eventually led to a concentration on conducting. He attended Yale University, the Juilliard School, and the Conservatoire Américain in France, where he studied under Nadia Boulanger. At age 13, David met Leonard Bernstein while singing in the world premiere of Bernstein’s Mass in Washington, D.C. Ten years later, David assisted his teacher John Mauceri in the tenth anniversary production of Mass, leading to a close association with Bernstein—as both a conducting student and as an editor of Bernstein’s music.   

David made his debut with The Philly POPS in 2013’s Christmas Spectacular, returning again in 2014 and 2015. He has since conducted Blockbuster Broadway in 2017, Lenny’s Revolution in 2018, and will lead 2019’s A Philly POPS Christmas and 2020’s Sondheim: A 90th Birthday Celebration. In addition to his work with The Philly POPS, David conducts concerts, opera, and theatre performances around the world. He has performed with such distinguished artists as Dame Judi Dench ,Dame Emma Thompson, Heather Headley, Idina Menzel, Petula Clark, Andrea Bocelli, Josh Groban, and Matthew Morrison. He has conducted many prominent orchestras, including the London Symphony, Royal Philharmonic, Vienna Symphony, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Atlanta and Cincinnati Symphonies, and Boston Pops.

David is widely known to TV audiences for the 10thand 25th anniversary Les Misérables concerts, both of which have become PBS fund-raising perennials. In the UK, he has performed many times on television, most notably as conductor of the immensely successful Sondheim 80th birthday Prom and as the conductor for four years of the Olivier Awards, the UK’s equivalent to the Tony Awards. Recently, he made his Zurich Opera debut with Sweeney Todd, starring Sir Bryn Terfel.

David currently lives in London.

Liz Callaway, vocalist

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Liz Callaway is a Tony nominee and Emmy Award-winning actress, singer, and recording artist. She made her Broadway debut in Stephen Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along, received a Tony Award nomination for her performance in Baby, and for 5 years, won acclaim as Grizabella in Cats. She has also starred in the original casts of Miss Saigon, The Three Musketeers, and The Look of Love, with many off-Broadway credits to her name, as well. An accomplished concert and recording artist, she created the award-winning show Sibling Revelry with sister Ann Hampton Callaway, with whom she collaborated again on Boom!, a celebration of the music of the '60s and '70s recorded live at Birdland and currently touring performing arts centers around the country. Recently, she had the pleasure of singing Chances Are with the legendary Johnny Mathis in Vancouver, co-starring with Jimmy Webb and Paul Williams in their engagement at Feinstein’s in New York, and joining Burt Bacharach, Dionne Warwick, and Stevie Wonder at Hal David’s 90th Birthday Celebration Concert in Los Angeles. Her extensive U.S. symphony work includes appearances at The Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, Ravinia, and The Hollywood Bowl. Worldwide, she has performed in China, Australia, New Zealand, Iceland, France, South Korea, and Barcelona’s Gran Teatre del Liceu, where she premiered a new concert featuring the music of Stephen Sondheim. Liz sang the Oscar-nominated Journey to the Past in the animated film Anastasia and performed the singing voice of Princess Jasmine in Disney’s Aladdin and the King of Thieves and The Return of Jafar. She received an Emmy Award for hosting Ready to Go, a daily, live children’s program on CBS in Boston.

Fra Fee, vocalist

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Irish actor Fra Fee was born in Dungannon, Northern Ireland and is a graduate of the University of Manchester and the Royal Academy of Music. In 2014 Fra was made an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music. 

Most notably Fra played the role of ‘Courfeyrac’ in Tom Hooper's box office hit movie Les Miserables in 2012. Fra is finishing up a critically acclaimed run in the role of ‘Michael Carney’ in the world premiere of Jez Butterworth's The Ferryman (Royal Court Theatre, West End & Broadway) directed by Sam Mendes. For his performance, Fra received a Whatsonstage Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Play. He recently performed the role of ‘Chip’ in On The Town at London’s Royal Albert Hall for the BBC Proms.

Previous theatre includes: The Wind in the Willows (Theatre Royal Plymouth & Tour); The Fix (Union Theatre); As You Like It (National Theatre); Putting It TogetherThe Last Five Years (Lyric Theatre, Belfast); Romeo & Juliet (Gate Theatre); My Cousin Rachel (Gate Theatre Dublin / Spoleto Festival Charleston USA); Candide (Menier Chocolate Factory); A Man of No Importance  (Salisbury Playhouse); Follies  (Opéra de Toulon); Howard Goodall's A Winter's Tale  (Landor Theatre); Les Miserables  (Queens Theatre); Aladdin (Gaiety Theatre, Dublin); Fame (RTE Irish Tour); Dirty Dancing (Aldwych Theatre); The Beggar's Opera; The MikadoSweeney ToddCandide; The Elixir of LoveThe Rake's Progress (Welsh National Opera/Grand Opera House, Belfast).

Other film and television work includes Animals (Sundance Film Festival premiere); TroublesMonochrome; and The Spanish Princess (Starz!). Radio: Psyche (BBC Drama). Other work includes: Elegies (Criterion Theatre); A Little Night Music - In Concert  (Yvonne Arnaud Theatre and Palace Theatre); Friday Night Is Music Night - Broadway's Greatest Hits (BBC Radio2); West Side Story; On The Town (BBC Proms - John Wilson Orchestra)

The Philly POPS Festival Chorus

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The Philly POPS Festival Chorus is a 180-voice ensemble that performs with the Philly POPS under the direction of Jeff Kern, Head of the Vocal Division for University of the Arts.

The Philly POPS Festival Chorus began performing in 2002 and performs with the POPS orchestra during the annual Christmas concert series and Broadway series. The chorus has performed with many professional artists including Faith Prince, Capathia Jenkins, Ashley Brown, Lisa Howard, Lauren Kennedy, Rachel York, Alice Ripley, Ann Hampton Callaway, and The von Trapp Family Children.

The Festival Chorus is an auditioned, volunteer organization composed of singers ranging from high school students to retired professionals.

“If I cannot fly, let me sing”.
Stephen Sondheim