SUNDAY, DECEMBER 4, 2005, AT 7:30 PM
Media sponsor: KKJZ 88.1 FM
My Fair Lady, the beloved Lerner and Loewe classic, swings when five-time Academy Award-winning composer John Williams conducts his sizzling 1964 jazz arrangement of tunes from the musical on Sunday, December 4, at 7:30 p.m., at Walt Disney Concert Hall.
Taking the musical (and theatrical) magic to a new level are the noted Steve Houghton Quintet, singer Dianne Reeves, the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Creative Chair for Jazz, and Broadway star Brian Stokes Mitchell.
The first half of the program features jazz standards performed by Reeves, Stokes Mitchell and the Steve Houghton Quintet. Drummer Houghton has recorded much of Manne’s music, including his jazz interpretations of Gershwin and music for big band and quintet. The concert is part of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association’s Jazz Series.
A popular and witty play penned by George Bernard Shaw and titled Pygmalion, it was re-titled My Fair Lady when Alan Jay Lerner adapted it as a musical play and later as a screenplay. He partnered with Frederick Loewe, who wrote the show’s enduring music, which includes such stand-alone hits as “The Rain in Spain, “I Could Have Danced All Night,” “On the Street Where You Live,” “I’m Getting Married in the Morning,” “With a Little Bit of Luck” and “I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face.” In 1956, drummer Shelly Manne's jazz trio, which included pianist Andre Previn and bassist Leroy Vinnegar, added their unique jazz stamp to the musical’s tunes with their historic recording My Fair Lady. It was the first-ever jazz album of a Broadway score and became the year’s best-selling jazz album. Eight years later, in 1964, Manne invited John Williams to create his own jazz arrangement of the Lerner & Loewe musical for singers and jazz ensemble, and it is this arrangement that is featured in this evening's Walt Disney Concert Hall performance.
The plot of My Fair Lady centers on an arrogant and snobbish language professor named Henry Higgins, who bets a visiting colleague, Colonel Pickering, that he can transform the unrefined but honest and hard-headed Cockney flower girl Eliza Doolittle into a poised and polished lady accepted by upper-class English society. In the process, humor, heartbreak and unforeseen challenges unfold.
Five-time Academy Award-winner JOHN WILLIAMS is the most Oscar-nominated living person with 43, his most recent for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. He also has three Golden Globes, four Emmys, three British Academy Awards and 18 Grammy Awards, as well as numerous gold and platinum records. Williams most recently received accolades for his masterly score to Revenge of the Sith, concluding 30 years of collaborating on George Lucas' unprecedented Star Wars series. Williams has composed the music and served as music director for more than 90 films. In January 1980, he was named 19th Conductor of the Boston Pops Orchestra and currently holds the title of Boston Pops Laureate Conductor, which he assumed following his retirement in December 1993. Williams also holds the title of Artist-in-Residence at Tanglewood. He has written numerous concert pieces, including two symphonies, a cello concerto premiered by Yo-Yo Ma and the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood in 1994 (recorded for Sony Classical), concertos for flute and for violin, Tree Song for violinist Gil Shaham (recorded on DG with a revised version of the Violin Concerto), a bassoon concerto (The Five Sacred Trees) premiered by Judith LeClair and recorded for Sony Classical, and concertos for clarinet, tuba, and trumpet. In addition to leading the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Symphony Hall and at Tanglewood, he has appeared as a guest conductor with many major orchestras, including the London Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the San Francisco Symphony, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. He led the Philharmonic in the world premiere of his work Soundings during the "Soundstage L.A." inaugural gala for Walt Disney Concert Hall in October 2003. Williams has also conducted at the Hollywood Bowl nearly every season since his debut there in 1978 and was one of the first inductees into the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame in 2000.
In March 2002, jazz vocalist and recording artist DIANNE REEVES was appointed Creative Chair for Jazz for the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association - then a newly established position. In this role, Reeves oversees the scheduling of jazz programming for the Association at both the Hollywood Bowl and Walt Disney Concert Hall. Prior to joining the organization in this capacity, Reeves has graced the Bowl's stage on many evenings under the stars while delighting audiences with her singular vocal talents. A Blue Note/EMI recording artist since 1987, Reeves has earned five Grammy nominations. She won consecutive Best Jazz Vocalist Grammy Awards in 2000 and 2001 for her albums In the Moment and The Calling and in 2003 for A Little Moonlight. But the greatest tribute to her artistry comes from the musicians - Clark Terry, Sergio Mendes, Harry Belafonte, and the late, great Joe Williams - who have actively championed Reeves throughout her career. In 1987, Reeves became the first vocalist signed to the newly reactivated Blue Note label, for which she has since recorded numerous albums, including those that garnered her Grammy recognition. Reeves was recently featured with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra on several Duke Ellington projects in celebration of Ellington's Centennial. A recording with Daniel Barenboim and the Chicago Symphony and a concert appearance at Carnegie Hall with Simon Rattle and the Orchestra of St. Luke's were among her many other appearances associated with the Ellington Centennial salute. In 2002, she performed at the closing ceremonies of the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. The 2002 season finale of HBO's Sex and the City also featured an appearance and performance by Reeves.
BRIAN STOKES MITCHELL’s spectacular Broadway career includes a starring role as Don Quixote in Man of La Mancha, for which he received the Helen Hayes Award and a Tony nomination. He won the 2000 Tony, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle awards for “Best Leading Actor in a Musical” for his performance as Fred Graham/Petruchio in Kiss Me, Kate. Other Broadway performances include Coalhouse Walker in Ragtime, August Wilson’s King Hedley II, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Jelly’s Last Jam (replacing Gregory Hines), and David Merrick’s Oh, Kay! His performance in Mail earned him the Theatre World Award for outstanding Broadway Debut. He has also starred in the City Center “Encores” productions of Carnival and Do Re Mi. In addition, Stokes Mitchell has performed numerous times at Carnegie Hall, making his debut at the televised 1988 Gershwin Gala with the San Francisco Symphony. He has also been a frequent guest at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., most recently appearing in the title role of Sweeney Todd at last year’s tremendously successful Sondheim Celebration. His television debut turned into a seven-year stint on Trapper John, M.D., and he has had recurring roles on Frasier and Crossing Jordan. His numerous other TV and film credits include DreamWorks’ The Prince of Egypt, Too Rich with Lauren Bacall, Double Platinum with Diana Ross, Call Me Claus with Whoopi Goldberg, Ruby’s Bucket of Blood with Angela Bassett, and PBS Great Performances. Stokes Mitchell, Voted one of People magazine’s “50 Most Beautiful People,” has appeared on more than 10 albums and is currently working on his first solo CD.
Internationally respected as a jazz drummer, percussionist, clinician and educator, STEVE HOUGHTON first received acclaim at age 20 as a drummer with Woody Herman’s Young Thundering Herd. He has shared stage and studio with luminaries Diana Krall, Toots Thielemans, Christian McBride, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Freddie Hubbard, Lyle Mays, Billy Childs, Pat LaBarbara, Arturo Sandoval, Joe Henderson and Maureen McGovern, among others. Houghton’s discography as leader includes The Manne We Love: Gershwin Revisited (TNC), a recent release of John Williams’ charts for big band and quintet recorded by Shelly Manne on Capitol in 1965; Windsong (SHPERC Records), Remembrances (Warner Bros.) and Steve Houghton (Signature). In total, Houghton enjoys more than 100 recordings to his credit as an included artist. As a percussionist, Houghton has performed with the Boston Pops, Philly Pops, and Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and frequently appears as a soloist with orchestras and wind ensembles. The Steve Houghton Quintet also includes Pat la Barbera, saxophone; Clay Jenkins, trumpet; Harold Danko, piano; and Neil Swainson, bass.
The Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, under Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen, presents the finest in orchestral and chamber music, recitals, new music, jazz, world music and holiday concerts at two of the most remarkable places anywhere to experience music — Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Hollywood Bowl. In addition to a 30-week winter subscription season at Walt Disney Concert Hall, the LA Phil presents a 12-week summer festival at the legendary Hollywood Bowl, summer home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and home of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. In fulfilling its commitment to the community, the Association’s involvement with Los Angeles extends to educational programs, community concerts and children's programming, ever seeking to provide inspiration and delight to the broadest possible audience.
EDITORS PLEASE NOTE:
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 4, 2005 at 7:30 PM
WALT DISNEY CONCERT HALL, 111 S. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles
My Fair Lady
JOHN WILLIAMS, conductor
DianNe Reeves, vocals
BRIAN STOKES MITCHELL, vocals
STEVE HOUGHTON QUINTET
Media sponsor: KKJZ 88.1 FM
Tickets ($25-$87) are on sale now at the Walt Disney Concert Hall box office, online at LAPhil.com, or via credit card phone order at 323.850.2000. A limited number of $10 rush tickets for seniors and full time students may be available at the Walt Disney Concert Hall box office two hours prior to the performance. Valid identification is required; one ticket per person; cash only. Groups of 12 or more may be eligible for special discounts for selected concerts and seating areas. For all information, please call 323.850.2000.
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Libby Huebner, 562.799.6055; Cathy Williams, 213.972.3689; Photos: 213.972.3034