The idea, to do a night of one-hit wonders, had been rattling around inside the head of Storm Large (The Balls, Pink Martini, Rock Star: Supernova) for quite some time.
Steven Reineke, Houston Symphony's Principal POPS conductor, had been thinking about it too and when he realized the dream was also shared by Lesley Sabol, the symphony's director of popular programming, it was a fait accompli.
Plans were made, a set list of earworm-worthy hits was developed and they were all ready to begin rehearsals for One-Hit Wonders. Except Reineke forgot one thing: He was dealing with a rock star.
"I had all this sheet music printed up," says Reineke. "I had forgotten this about her. She doesn't read music."
Just a little hiccup. Reineke says rehearsals are moving along swimmingly now, just not the way he intended. "Her sensibility and sexuality and craziness is actually right for this show."
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Reineke says this will be a different kind of concert, describing it as almost like a wedding reception, and he's pairing Large's vocals with Broadway's Matt Doyle. "He's a wonderful young Broadway star. I’ve worked with him before; he has a great tenor voice. He’s also very, very versatile. He can do all of this rock singing as well. He was in Spring Awakening, War Horse, The Book of Mormon."
And if the idea of the Houston Symphony performing "The Hustle" makes you smile, then that's the whole idea. The party won't be over until they've covered "Video Killed the Radio Star," "Chariots of Fire," "Take on Me," "The Girl from Ipanema and other chart-toppers.
As for whether it will turn into a singalong, Reineke says that there are a couple of built-in moments that might call for audience participation. "But honestly the entire show I wanted to be just a big party. The singers and I got together last night. We were talking about that, how everybody’s going to want to sing along to all of these songs," says Reineke. "I wish we could get up and dance in Jones Hall. Maybe we will.
Performances of One-Hit Wonders are set for 8 p.m. May 25-26, 7:30 p.m. May 27, Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana, 713-224-7575, houstonsymphony.org, $26 to $145.