They say the neon lights are bright on Broadway, but there's no need to travel to The Big Apple this week to revisit to the street's most famous ditties. Enjoy iconic overtures and showstopping numbers from the most popular musicals when those oh-so famous bright lights come to Jones Hall this weekend with the Houston Symphony's The Best of Broadway.
While this isn't the first time for the symphony to play Broadway-style music, the organization is looking forward to a new addition in this installation.
"We’ve done these kinds of programs before, and usually they feature a soloist. This time, we’re doing a different approach. We’re featuring not only the orchestra but also the chorus," said Lesley Sabol, director of popular programming. "We love them, and we decided to feature them."
The Houston Symphony Chorus, under the direction of Betsy Cook Weber, is the official choral unit of the Houston Symphony and consists of highly skilled and talented volunteer singers.
"They’ve grown under Betsy Cook Weber," Sabol said, "She’s so well respected in her industry, across the county and the world."
Principal POPS Conductor Steven Reineke will lead the orchestra through a romp of some of the most memorable songs of The Great White Way.
Toe-tapping tunes include "Sunday" from Sunday In The Park With George, the titular "Oklahoma," "Tonight" from West Side Story, "Jellical Ball" from Cats, "Seasons of Love" from Rent, "You Will Be Found" from Dear Evan Hansen, and "Make Them Hear You" from Ragtime. The program also includes nods to Gypsy, Anything Goes, My Fair Lady, South Pacific, A Chorus Line, Chicago and more.
"It’s been a terrific season, and this is a program where Steven will shine. Broadway has become one of his hallmarks. It will be really fun to see what he does from the podium for this program," Sabol added.
With the canon of Broadway songs to choose from, Sabol says the POPS programming sometimes reflects pop culture and what’s happening in the world. The inclusion of Ragtime, a story about the disparity between wealth, poverty, freedom and prejudice, exemplifies this type of decision.
"It's a brilliant piece that’s not often thought of. It has a lot to do with social commentary with today," Sabol mentioned.
But more than that, all the songs are timeless and familiar. What's better, The Best of Broadway - the last concert in the 2018-19 POPS season - is fun, joyful music for all ages.
"I would hope the audience comes out of the concert feeling uplifted…people get to take a break from their lives and be in a better place than they were the day before."
The Best of Broadway plays at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. For information, visit houstonsymphony.org or call 713-224-7575. $29 - $124.