Northwestern Press

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Sight and sound Movie hits to unreel in ASO Pops concert

Friday, September 23, 2016 by The Press in Focus

The Academy Awards, or “The Oscars,” is the annual awards ceremony hosted by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences that recognizes excellence in cinematic achievements.

The Academy Awards, initially presented in 1929 at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, was first broadcast on radio in 1930 and first televised in 1953. It is now seen live by millions annually in more than 200 nations.

The Oscars is the oldest entertainment awards ceremony in the United States and a model for its equivalents in the rest of the performing industry: the Emmy Awards for television, Tony Awards for theater and Grammy Awards for music and recording.

“Lights, Camera … the Oscars Music from Academy Awards Winning Moves!,” 7:30 p.m. Sept. 24, Miller Symphony Hall, Allentown, is a retrospective Allentown Symphony Pops Concert highlighting memorable music from some of the best-known winners of the coveted award going all the way back to “The Way You Look Tonight” from “Swing Time” (1936), originally performed by Fred Astaire and an original song Oscar recipient, right up to an orchestral tribute to composer John Williams that includes music from “Jaws” (1975), “Star Wars” (1977), “Superman” (1978), “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” (1982) and “Harry Potter” (2001).

The list of composers represented on this program reads like a Who’s Who in the world of popular music: Harold Arlen, Henry Mancini, Alan Menken and Frederick Loewe.

Music has the power to inspire our imagination and rekindle our memories. During the Pops Concert, it will be nearly impossible to hear “Tara’s Theme,” without seeing in our mind’s eye the memorable images we recall from the silver screen spectacular, “Gone With The Wind” (1939), or envisioning Judy Garland when hearing “Over the Rainbow” from “The Wizard Of Oz” (1939) and “The Trolley Song” from “Meet Me In St. Louis” (1945).

The list of title songs on the concert program includes “Gigi” (1958), “Days Of Wine And Roses” (1962, original song Oscar recipient), “Charade”(1964) and “Chariots Of Fire” (1981, original score Oscar recipient).

Other unforgettable hits on the concert play list include “Moon River” from “Breakfast At Tiffany’s” (1961); “I Could Have Danced All Night,” “My Fair Lady” (1964); “A Whole New World,” “Alladin” (1992), and “My Heart Will Go On,” “Titanic” (1997).

Two very talented Broadway singers, Marie Danvers and Rob Gallagher, join with the ASO to present this reflective journey down memory lane that recalls many of the best-loved Oscar-winning songs.

Danvers is best-known for her starring role as Christine in the Broadway and National Touring production of “The Phantom Of The Opera.”

Across the country, she has played leading roles in “A Chorus Line,” “Company,” “The Mikado,” “Brigadoon,” “Lend Me A Tenor” and starred as Christine in the Yeston-Kopit “Phantom Of The Opera” at Paper Mill Playhouse.

Danvers has sung all over the world as Maria in “West Side Story” and appeared in the National and International Tour of “The Fantasticks” with Robert Goulet.

In concert, she has sung with the Delaware Symphony Orchestra, the Broadway by the Year Series in New York and the City Center Encores.

She has acted Off-Broadway with the Manhattan Theater Club and on television on “As The World Turns.”

Most recently, Danvers played Sister Robert Ann in “Nunsense” at the John W. Eagleman Theater at Northport and was a guest performer with the Long Island Philharmonic.

Gallagher starred on Broadway as Javert in “Les Misérables” and appeared as Emile DeBecque in the Tony Award-winning revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “South Pacific,” a role he recently reprised at the John W. Engeman Theater at Northport.

His Off-Broadway credits include “Fiorello!” with City Center Encores!, “Forbidden Broadway” and “Reefer Madness” (with Kristen Bell and choreographed by Paula Abdul).

Regional credits include leading roles in “The Sound Of Music,” “Oliver!,” “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers,” “Oklahoma!,” “The Mystery Of Edwin Drood,” “A Wonderful Life” and “Barnum.”

Gallagher has sung in concert with The Omaha Symphony Orchestra, The Long Island Philharmonic and the Bay Atlantic Symphony Orchestra.

On television, he appeared on “One Life to Live” and had a recurring role on “All My Children.”

Conducting ASO Pops Concerts is a pleasure to which I always enthusiastically look forward, and this show is certainly no exception. I encourage you to join us for some of the most memorable music from the movies spanning 80 years.

Tickets: Miller Symphony Hall Box Office, 23 N. Sixth St., Allentown, 610 432-6715. Allentown Symphony Orchestra season subscription and single tickets for the season and other events at Miller Symphony Hall:, 610-432-6715. Tickets for students 21 and under are available free, courtesy of a grant from the Century Fund, at the box office.

Ronald Demkee is Associate Conductor, Pops Conductor and Principal Tuba with the Allentown Symphony Orchestra and Conductor-Music Director and Personnel Manager of the Allentown Band.