Luminaries from Broadway and the big screen will join the Philly POPS next weekend during “Best of Broadway,” a showcase of the finest in showtunes featuring three guest vocalists: Debbie Gravitte, Susan Egan and Christopher Seiber.
Out conductor Todd Ellison will preside over the performances, which will feature classic songs from shows like “My Fair Lady,” “Cats,” “Wicked,” “A Chorus Line,” “Beauty and the Beast” and Disney tunes.
Ellison said the entertainers have a personal connection to the songs they perform.
“What I love as a concertgoer is I want to learn a bit about the performers as well as why they are singing these songs,” he said. “The pieces we’ve chosen, everybody has a connection to the material in some way from their life experience. It’s not just a random collection of Broadway songs. These are songs that have had an impact on their lives or in their career, songs they’ve sung in shows themselves or songs they grew up loving. It’s a dream come true, really.”
Ellison added that, having worked with the POPS before, he knows the orchestra will bring the songs to brilliant life on stage.
“I had the good fortune of conducting a Memorial Day concert with the Philly POPS about two years ago at Longwood Gardens and that was my first time with them,” he said. “They were the greatest bunch of players. They really know how to swing. I’ve done about 10 symphony orchestras and they are playing pop. So it’s always just a little different. But this group is just the greatest at playing every style, and they asked me if I wanted to do a Broadway program with them and I said, Yes. They just get it. They know how to do it.”
It doesn’t matter if you’re a casual fan or a Broadway expert; Ellison said anyone would fully enjoy the Philly POPS’ renditions of Broadway songs.
“No matter what kind of concert you’re going to, we’re all looking to be moved by something,” he said. “We’re going for an experience. If you go to a symphony concert, you’re picking those musicians, that orchestra, that conductor that are going to interpret a piece of music a certain way. It’s the same when people discover the songs we’re going to do in our concert. I think they’re going to be surprised they know most of the songs. It’s part of our DNA in a way. You hear a Gershwin song and it takes you back to a place in time or a memory. I think people will discover they have a lot more in common with the material we’re doing than maybe they thought and no matter what, we’re going to interpret it in a way that moves them.”
The Philly POPS perform “Best of Broadway” March 9-11 at The Kimmel Center’s Verizon Hall, 300 S. Broad St.; 215-893-1999.