Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota presents
“JERRY HERMAN’S BROADWAY”
With Jason Graae, Klea Blackhurst, James Followell and The Gloria Musicae Singers
October 11 • Sarasota Opera House
Artist Series Concerts celebrates its 20th anniversary season in grand style with this tribute to the music of famed Broadway composer Jerry Herman, including hits from “Hello Dolly,” “Mame,” and “La Cage aux Folles.”
“When people think of Jerry Herman, they think of big costumes, glamour, glitz—and he’s got that. But take that off and there’s a great undercurrent of emotion. . . that’s great songwriting.” – Director Eric Schaeffer in the Washington Post
(Sarasota, Florida) Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota kicks off its 20th anniversary season with “Jerry Herman’s Broadway,” honoring the multi- Tony Award-winning composer and lyricist of such classic Broadway hits as “Hello Dolly,” “Mame,” “La Cage Aux Folles,” “Mack & Mabel,” “The Grand Tour,” and “Milk & Honey.” The concert features the powerful vocals of Klea Blackhurst and Jason Graae, pianist James Followell; and The Gloria Musicae Singers, under the direction of Joseph Holt, October 11, 4:00 p.m., at the Sarasota Opera House, 61 N. Pineapple Avenue, Sarasota. The concert will be followed by a 20th-anniversary celebration dinner at The Francis. Concert tickets are available at 941-360-7399 or www.artistseriesconcerts.org. For more information about the post-performance dinner, please call 941-306-1202.
“Jerry Herman has long been lauded for writing classic, unforgettable show tunes with hummable melodies, catchy lyrics and simple ideas that connect deeply with real feeling,” says Joseph Holt, director of artist programs for Artist Series Concerts. “We’re honored to celebrate our 20th anniversary with three nationally-acclaimed artists and The Gloria Musicae Singers performing the works of this legendary lyricist and composer.”
Composer and lyricist Jerry Herman burst onto the Great White Way as its youngest creator of music and lyrics with the successful “Milk and Honey” in 1961, a musical which later was nominated for both a Tony and Grammy Award. Next came the phenomenal “Hello Dolly” in 1964, resulting not only in a Tony Award but also winning the Variety Awards for Best Composer and Best Lyricist. Louis Armstrong’s single record of the title song became one of the most successful ever to come out of a Broadway musical, and Carol Channing’s original cast album brought Herman a Gold Record and a Grammy. Over the five decades since, Herman has penned songs and music for such classical Broadway comedies as “Mame,” and “La Cage Aux Folles,” and has been honored with multiple Tony Awards, Grammy Awards, Drama Desk Awards, the Kennedy Center Award, the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In the late 1980s, “Jerry’s Girls,” a revue of Herman’s work, began playing on Broadway and in every major American city. Some of the stars who have been spotlighted in this compilation of Herman’s hit music are Carol Channing, Leslie Uggams, Chita Rivera, Dorothy Loudon, Andrea McArdle and Jo Anne Worley.
While vocalist and comedienne Klea Blackhurst is best known for her award-winning tribute to Ethel Merman, “Everything the Traffic Will Allow,” Blackhurst has been winning audiences and critics over for years with a body of work that includes theater, concerts, television, film, radio and recording. Lauded for her crackling wit and powerhouse vocals, Blackhurst has performed with symphonies, orchestras and theatrical productions across the globe, including the London Palladium’s presentation of a Jerry Herman review with Angela Lansbury, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s production of “Bernstein’s Broadway” and “Standard Time with Michael Feinstein” at Carnegie Hall.
Jason Graae has been called “impish, pinchably cute, deeply musical, and bursting with both optimism and wry wit.” (The Village Voice) Armed with the timing of an expert stand-up comic, a lovely flexible tenor, and an uncanny ability to engage an audience, this award-winning vaudevillian spark plug has bounced from theater to opera to television to movies and back, compiling a body of work that has won over audiences and critics alike with endearing performances that always leave audiences wanting just a little more.
Pianist James Followell has worked as a music director, accompanist and arranger with many Broadway and cabaret stars. Theater credits as musical director include the Off-Broadway production of Jerry Herman’s “Showtune” (vocal and piano arrangements), and “The Best of Times” (featured pianist/vocalist) at the Vaudeville Theatre in London’s West End. He also served as music director/pianist for the Off-Broadway hit, “Forever Plaid,” and was the conductor/pianist for the international tour of “Little Shop of Horrors”. He is the recipient of the 2005 Dick Gallagher Award from the Mabel Mercer Foundation.
The Gloria Musicae Singers, Sarasota’s professional vocal ensemble, celebrates the excellence of choral music through innovative, stimulating performances and educational outreach. The group is comprised of 24 trained, auditioned singers performing music from a broad spectrum of the choral literature. Under the direction of Dr. Joseph Holt, this highly versatile ensemble has developed a repertoire that spans four centuries and includes major works that run the gamut from close-harmony jazz and Broadway show tunes to intimate madrigals, church motets and folk songs, to cutting-edge works by contemporary composers.
“I can’t think of a better way to mark 20 successful years of Artist Series Concerts,” says John Fischer, ASC’s executive director. “We look forward to bringing more outstanding music and acclaimed musicians to Sarasota for many years to come.”
Since 1996, Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota has presented an ever-expanding annual season of concerts by globally renowned and celebrated emerging artists. The 20th-anniversary season includes six concerts in its “Classical Recital Series,” five concerts in its “Pop Series,” four concerts in its “Special Performances” series, three “Soiree Series” concerts, three “Lunch, Look and Listen” concerts and three concerts in its North Port Performing Arts series. Many of the concerts are presented in multiple performances.
For more information about the Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota’s 2015-2016 season, visit www.artistseriesconcerts.org or call 941-306-1202.
The 2015-2016 Season at a Glance
Classical Recital Series
Saturday and Sunday evenings at 7:30 p.m. at the Historic Asolo Theater; 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota. Tickets at 941-360-7399 or www.artistseriesconcerts.org.
- Soyeon Kate Lee: This Korean-American pianist has been lauded by The New York Times as a pianist with “a huge, richly varied sound, a lively imagination and a firm sense of style,” and by the Washington Post for her “stunning command of the keyboard.” Her program will include Ravel’s La Valse, Brahms’ Intermezzi and more. October 31, 7:30 p.m., and November 1, 7:30 p.m.
- Les Amies: Carol Wincenc, a Grammy-nominated artist and one of the most acclaimed flutists performing today, leads this winning trio, which includes harpist Nancy Allen and violist Cynthia Phelps. January 23, 7:30 p.m.; and January 24, 7:30 p.m.
- Akropolis Reed Quintet: Described by Fanfare Magazine as playing with “imagination, infallible musicality, and huge vitality,” the Akropolis Reed Quintet, (oboe, clarinet, saxophone, bassoon and bass clarinet), is a cutting-edge ensemble that performs an innovative, living repertoire with acclaimed precision. February 20, 7:30 p.m., and February 21, 7:30 p.m.
- Trio Celeste: Violinist Iryna Krechkovsky, cellist Ross Gasworth, and pianist Kevin Kwan Loucks combine to form an exciting, dynamic and intelligent ensemble. They are each strong instrumentalists in their own right and have what only the best groups have; an understanding of each other’s emotions, the ability to play with both power and subtlety, and what can best be described as a spark. March 5, 7:30 p.m., and March 6, 7:30 p.m.
- Amit Peled is an Israeli-American cellist and virtuoso called a “larger than life presence on stage” (The Washington Post). Peled, a musician of profound artistry and charismatic stage presence, is known as one of the most exciting instrumentalists on the concert stage today. At 6’5″ tall (he was once a basketball player), Peled often surprises audiences with the ways he breaks down barriers between performers and the public, making classical music more accessible to wider audiences. April 9, 7:30 p.m., and April 10, 7:30 p.m.
- 20th Year Retrospective Celebration: As a close to the 20th anniversary season, Artist Series Concerts is bringing back favorites from past years. The performers that Sarasota audiences have loved before will be here again to entertain, celebrate and inspire. May 28 and 29, 7:30 p.m.
At the Historic Asolo Theater; 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota. Tickets at 941-360-7399 or www.artistseriesconcerts.org.
- Carole J. Bufford in “Body and Soul.” This cabaret show earned rave reviews across the board, including from The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. November 14, 7:30 p.m., and November 15, 2:00 and 7:30 p.m.
- Quartetto Gelato: For nearly two decades, this dazzling ensemble has enchanted audiences and critics worldwide with its exotic blend of musical virtuosity, artistic passion and humor. Classical in training and eclectic by design, QG not only thrills its audiences with its multi-instrument mastery, but also offers the bonus of a brilliant operatic tenor. With a performance repertoire that spans the globe, including classical masterworks, operatic arias, the sizzling energy of tangos, gypsy and folk songs, the group’s theatrical stage presence and relaxed humor establishes an intimate rapport with audiences worldwide. December 5, 7:30 p.m., and December 6, 2:00 and 7:30 p.m.
- Fred Moyer Jazz Trio: Fred Moyer on piano, Lowell Ringer on bass and Bob Savine on drums bring the sounds of Oscar Peterson, Bill Evans, Vince Guaraldi, Erroll Garner, Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea to the concert stage. The three musicians infuse the music with their own vitality and interpretations, much the way a chamber music ensemble approaches Bach or Beethoven. January 9, 7:30 p.m., and January 10, 2:00 and 7:30 p.m.
- QuinTango, a touring quintet of two violins, cello, bass and piano, brings a century’s worth of tango repertoire to the concert stage with sizzling musicality and captivating narrative style. Winner of two consecutive WAMMIES, QuinTango is the only tango music group to have given a command performance at The White House. QuinTango has been heard on NPR’s “Morning Edition,” CNN, and network television in both the United States and Costa Rica. When QuinTango made its debut at Charleston’s Piccolo Festival, critic Robert Jones wrote exuberantly that “their concerts packed the place and sent the customers home tango crazy.” April 30, 7:30 p.m., and May 1, 2:00 and 7:30 p.m.
- “My Favorite Things,” Music of Rodgers & Hammerstein, featuring acclaimed soloists Mara Bonde, soprano, Katherine Pracht, mezzo soprano, Aaron Blake, tenor, Marcus DeLoach, baritone, and the Gloria Musicae Singers: May 7:30 p.m., and May 8, 2:00 and 7:30 p.m.
Lunch, Look and Listen
One-hour concerts at 11 a.m. followed by lunch at 12:15 p.m. At Michael’s On East Ballroom, 1212 East Avenue South, Sarasota. Tickets at 941-306-1202.
- Ann Alton, cello; Joyce Valentine, piano: January 21.
- Miami Guitar Trio: February 18.
- Gulfshore Trio: Reiko Niiya, violin; Susannah Kelly, cello; William Dawson, piano: March 17.
Sunday afternoons at 2:00 p.m. and Monday evenings at 7:30 p.m. At the Weisenborne/Fischer residence. Call for address. Tickets at 941-306-1202.
- Liana Branscome, violin, with Grigorios Zamparas, piano: violinist Liana Branscome, a 2015 Artist Series Concerts Scholarship award winner, joins forces with acclaimed pianist Grigorios Zamparas for a program of works by Grieg, Sarasate and more: September 27 and 28.
- Priscila Navarro, piano: The 2014 Artist Series Concerts Scholarship award winner will perform works by Liszt, Gershwin and more: October 18 and 19.
- Bob McDonald singing songs made famous by Broadway leading man John Raitt: March 27 & 28.
- Axiom Brass and Gloria Musicae Singers in a holiday musical celebration. December 19, 7:30 p.m. and December 20 at 2:00 and 7:30 p.m. At the Historic Asolo Theater, 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota. Tickets at 941-360-7399 or www.artistseriesconcerts.org.
North Port Performing Arts Center Series
Sunday afternoons at 3:00 p.m. At the North Port Performing Arts Center, 6400 W. Price Blvd., North Port. Tickets at 941-306-1202.
- Miami Saxophone Quartet in “Four of a Kind.” Infectiously joyful arrangements, soulful improvisations, fine musical prowess and four of the finest saxophone players in the business in an afternoon of lively jazz, featuring “Sophisticated Lady,” “It’s a Raggy Waltz, “Lost and Found,” and much more: January 24.
- Dick Hyman in Concert. A solo performance by the legendary Emmy Award-winning pianist and composer, renowned for his 50-year career as one of America’s most prolific and versatile jazz musicians: February 21.
- “My Favorite Things: The Music of Rogers and Hammerstein.” Featuring the Qol Quartet, (Johanna Fincher, Robyn Rocklein, Adam Bielamowicz, and Christopher Holloway), and the Gloria Musicae Singers, directed by Joseph Holt: March 6.
Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota
Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota was formed in 1996 as the Artist Series of Sarasota. The group is a non-profit corporation based in Sarasota, FL, that prides itself on presenting several major national and international varieties of concert, opera, orchestral, Broadway and film performances throughout their season. The majority of the performances are staged at the restored Historic Asolo Theater at The Ringling.
Photos courtesy of the artists.