PITTSBURGH—The music, humor, warmth and life of Marvin Hamlisch will once again grace the Heinz Hall stage when Play It Again, Marvin! A Marvin Hamlisch Celebration makes its world premiere with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra during the weekend of June 27, 2014.
Nobody did it better than Hamlisch as his Oscars, Emmys, Grammys and Tony Award can attest. From The Way We Were to A Chorus Line, from Ice Castles to The Sting, his music turned moments into memories. This new multimedia concert, produced by writer and pianist Kevin Cole, celebrates the “People’s Composer” and gives the audience an insider’s view into Hamlisch’s life through song, private family videos and personal memories. The timing of the premiere of Play It Again, Marvin! is especially meaningful as it will commemorate what would have been Hamlisch’s 70th birthday in June.
“The reason I am doing the world premiere with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra is because not only is it one of the greatest symphonies on the planet, but a huge part of Marvin’s heart remains in Pittsburgh,” says Cole, who was granted unprecedented access to Hamlisch’s personal and professional archives.
Hamlisch’s friends—Broadway sensation Brian d’Arcy James, London West End superstar Maria Friedman, multi-Grammy Award winner Sylvia McNair, conductor J. Ernest Green and Cole, Marvin’s favorite pianist—are featured in the production.
An on-sale date will be announced this fall. Tickets will be available through the Heinz Hall box office at 412-392-4900 or www.pittsburghsymphony.org.
Kevin Cole is known internationally for his outstanding piano performances of the best of American music; most especially Gershwin. He’s enjoyed symphonic engagements with Los Angeles Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Hong Kong Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony and many others in venues ranging from Royal Albert Hall to Hollywood Bowl and Kennedy Center to Carnegie Hall. He is an award-winning musical director, arranger, composer, vocalist and archivist who has garnered the praises of songwriters Irving Berlin, Harold Arlen, E.Y. Harburg, Hugh Martin, Marvin Hamlisch, Burton Lane, Stephen Sondheim and members of the Jerome Kern and Gershwin families. Cole was featured soloist for the PBS special, Gershwin at One Symphony Place with the Nashville Symphony. He recently produced, created and performed in Here to Stay—The Gershwin Experience to critical acclaim across North America.
Best known as a three-time Olivier Award-winning (with seven nominations) star of the musical stage, the heart of Maria Friedman’s career has been centered around the love and work of her dear friend Stephen Sondheim. She has played Dot in Sunday in the Park with George at the National Theatre, Fosca in Passion at the Queen’s (Olivier Award), Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd at the Royal Festival Hall with Bryn Terfel, and Mary in Merrily We Roll Along at the Leicester Haymarket. Additionally, in concert, she has played Sally in Follies and both Charlotte and Petra in A Little Night Music. In May 2009, Friedman was honored to sing for Sondheim at his 80th birthday celebrations in New York and Washington, as well as at the special all-Sondheim Prom in July 2010.
J. Ernest Green, a frequent collaborator with the late Marvin Hamlisch, is the principal conductor at the McClean Symphony and a cover conductor with the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. He also is the Artistic Director of Live Arts Maryland and the Music Director of the Annapolis Chamber Orchestra and Annapolis Chorale. Known for his adventurous and creative programming as he pushes the boundaries of the concert hall, Green has created several “fusion” programs combining standard concert repertoire with popular and contemporary music, which he has lead with orchestras both here and abroad. In addition, he has received acclaim for his concert productions of operas and other stage works.
Brian d’Arcy James is a film, stage and small screen actor, most recognized for his role on NBC’s “Smash.” He has appeared in numerous films and television programs, including “Game Change,” “Friends with Kids” and “Rescue Me.” A Broadway veteran, James received a 2002 Tony nomination, a Drama Desk nomination, an Outer Critics Circle nomination and a Drama League Honor for his star turn as Sidney Falco in “Sweet Smell of Success.” He has been honored for his off-Broadway work as well including a 2000 Drama Desk Award nomination for Outstanding Actor in a Musical and a Drama League Award Nomination. An accomplished concert performer, James has appeared in esteemed concert halls all over the world, including Disney Hall, Madison Square Garden with Barry Manilow, and Carnegie Hall.
Two-time Grammy Award winner and regional Emmy Award winner, Sylvia McNair lays claim to a three-decade, stellar career in the musical realms of opera, oratorio, cabaret and musical theater. Her journey has taken her from the Metropolitan Opera to the Salzburg Festival, from the New York Philharmonic to the Rainbow Room, from the Ravinia Festival to The Plaza, from the pages of The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal to the London Times and the cover of Cabaret Scenes. Having appeared as a soloist multiple times with nearly every major opera company and symphony orchestra in the world, she now focuses on Gershwin, Porter, Sondheim and Bernstein.