A Philly POPS Uptown Christmas | The Philly Pops

A Philly POPS Uptown Christmas

David Charles Abell, Conductor

The Met Philadelphia

858 North Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19130
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01 December 2019
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Tituss Burgess, vocalist

Mandy Gonzalez, vocalist

Luis Figueroa, vocalist

The African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas Gospel Choir

Philly's favorite holiday tradition jump starts the season with an exciting new twist!  This year, the POPS makes its Christmas debut at The Met Philadelphia with A Philly POPS Uptown Christmas. These two special performances will star Tituss Burgess of Little Mermaid and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt fame, last year's beloved Hamilton star Mandy Gonzalez, and hometown Latin pop star Luis Figueroa.  Conducted by Principal Guest Conductor David Charles Abell, the performance will also feature another POPS fan-favorite — The African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas Gospel Choir. 

Guest Artists

Tituss Burgess, vocalist


Emmy and SAG nominated actor, musician, and writer Tituss Burgess is quickly emerging as one of the entertainment industry’s most versatile and dynamic performers, with his work in television and theater generating both critical and commercial acclaim. Burgess will next appear in Netflix’s Dolemite Is My Name, alongside Eddie Murphy, Keegan Michael Key, Mike Epps, and Craig Robinson. The film tells the story of performer Rudy Ray Moore, who assumed the role of an iconic pimp named Dolemite during the 1970s and will be released Fall 2019. Burgess previously appeared in the Netflix romantic comedy Set It Up alongside Taye Diggs, Lucy Liu, Glen Powell and Zoey Deutch, which was released on June 15, 2018. Burgess also lent his voice to two major studio films: The Angry Birds Movie and Smurfs: The Lost Village.

Most notably, Burgess starred as ‘Titus Andromedon’ in the Emmy®-nominated comedy series Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, opposite Ellie Kemper. For the actor’s scene-stealing performance on the series’ four seasons,Burgess was nominated for four Emmy® Awards for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series, a SAGAward for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series and two Critics’ Choice TV Awards forBest Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series. He was also awarded Best Actor at the 2015 Webby Awards and Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy at the 2015 Gold Derby TV Awards.

The actor was first introduced to television audiences in Tina Fey's Emmy®-winning NBC series 30 Rock, where he played the scene-stealing ‘D’Fwan,’ a vivacious hairdresser and the sidekick of Angie Jordan (Sherri Shepherd). Burgess quickly became a breakout star in the series' fifth and sixth seasons. His other television credits include A Gifted ManBlue Bloods, and Royal Pains.

A veteran of the stage, Burgess made his Broadway debut in 2005 as Eddie in Good Vibrations. Since, he has held many memorable roles on the Broadway stage including Hal Miller in Jersey Boys, Sebastian the Crab in The Little Mermaid, and Nicely-Nicely Johnson in the 2009 revival of Guys and Dolls. Burgess recently acquired the rights to the beloved film The Preacher’s Wife. The movie turned Broadway Musical will include an original score and lyrics by Burgess, book by Azie Dungey.

Burgess recently debuted his third album, Saint Tituss, on July 26, 2019. In its opening week, it was No. 16 on the Billboard Top 100 album sales chart.

Mandy Gonzalez

Mandy Gonzalez, vocalist


Mandy Gonzalez possesses one of the most powerful and versatile contemporary voices of our time. Currently starring in the megahit Hamilton as Angelica Schuyler, Mandy also originated and starred as Nina Rosario in the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical, In The Heights, for which she received a Drama Desk Award. She has starred as Elphaba in the Broadway production of Wicked, blowing the roof off of New York’s Gershwin Theatre each night as she belted out the signature song, “Defying Gravity,”  

Mandy received an OBIE Award and overwhelming critical praise for her performance in the Off-Broadway production of Eli’s Comin’, directed by Diane Paulus, and based on the music and lyrics of singer-songwriter Laura Nyro.  Television viewers have the pleasure of seeing Mandy in the recurring role of Lucy Knox on the hit CBS drama, “Madam Secretary.” Mandy also appeared as Agent Susan Combs on the hit series “Quantico,” as well as guest appearances on “Doubt,” “White Collar,” “The Good Wife,” among others. 

Equally at home on the big and small screen, she has appeared in “Across the Universe,” directed by Julie Taymor, “After,” starring opposite Pablo Schreiber, and “Man on a Ledge” with Sam Worthington. Mandy can also be heard as the voice of Mei in Disney’s “Mulan 2.” 

A frequent concert soloist, Mandy has performed with symphony orchestras around the country including Cleveland Orchestra, Philly Pops, Naples Philharmonic, Fort Worth, Jacksonville, Indianapolis, Baltimore, Arkansas, Anchorage, Edmonton, Ottawa, and Youngstown Symphonies, among many others.  Mandy made her Carnegie Hall debut with the New York Pops in February 2020 and will return to the Philly Pops for the third consecutive year in December 2020. 

Mandy released her debut album, FEARLESS, with Warner Music which debuted at #13 on the iTunes charts. Her album – hailed as “a genre-defying, highly-personal, daring, and brilliant debut” (Pop Bytes) – delivers new, original songs from some of the most accomplished writers in the music industry, including Lin-Manuel Miranda, Jennifer Nettles, Bill Sherman, and Tom Kitt. 

David Charles Abell, Music Director & Principal Conductor


Born in North Carolina, Music Director & Principal 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 Hammerstein: The Song Is You! 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.

Philly POPS Guest Artist and Singer Luis Figueroa

Luis Figueroa, Guest Artist


Luis Figueroa is the multi-talented Puerto Rican singer and songwriter posed to become the next Latin pop sensation.  “La Especialista” his first release for Sony Music Latin has an infectious vibe blending acoustic guitars and rich melodies showcasing his distant vocals.  From child talent to YouTube stardom Luis’s journey has taken to him to some of the most prestigious stages in the world working alongside some of the greatest icons in the industry.

After gaining attention through several videos uploaded to his YouTube page, Luis signed with Magnus Media, music titan Marc Anthony’s entertainment company in mid 2017.  His rendition of “Flor Pálida” won him a Premio Juventud for “Best Cover Video” and he performed the song live alongside his idol on the show.  

Combining both his musical and acting capabilities Luis had a featured role in the acclaimed music-themed Telemundo television series Guerra De Ídols (2017).  Alongside Pedro Capó and Christian Pagan he interpreted the series theme song, “Tequila Pa’la Razón” performing it live at the 2017 Billboard Latin Music Awards.

In 2018, he joined Sebastián Yatra and Lary Over for the urban-pop smash “Por Perro”, which racked up over 430 million views on YouTube to date and reached #16 on Billboard’s Latin Pop Songs chart.  The single was certified 4x-Platinum by the RIAA® and nominated for Video of the Year at the 2019 HTV Heat Awards.  Luis showcased the single during Romeo Santos’s Golden Tour performing it to sold out stadiums across Latin America. 

Luis appeared on Norwegian EDM artist Matoma’s track “Telepatía” off his One in a Million album and his collaboration “Pa Las Babies” featuring labelmate Yashua followed featuring a steamy music video shot in Miami. 

Luis has also contributed his writing skills for the Fifty Shades Freed [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack] on the Spanish Version of the Sabrina Claudio song, “Cross Your Mind”.  As well as work on the debut album for Hamilton star Anthony Ramos.

Through his childhood experiences, musical evolution and songwriting Luis; an alum of Berklee College of Music has perfected his craft and is now ready to present his artistic vision to the world.

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