"Call Me Adam" went behind-the-scenes at The New York Pops On Broadway press event to speak with The New York Pops Musical Director and Conductor, Steven Reineke as well as their special guest stars Broadway Tony Award nominees Stephanie J. Block and Andrew Rannells.
The New York Pops On Broadway will take place on March 21 at 7:30pm at Carnegie Hall (57th Street & 7th Avenue) in New York City! Click here for tickets!
1. The New York Pops, On Broadway, will be presented on Friday, March 21 at 7:30pm. What excites you about this upcoming concert? A lot excites me about this concert. One, it's our first concert back at Carnegie Hall since December, so it's always fun to get back to it. I am also getting to perform with two of my great friends Stephanie J. Block and Andrew Rannells. We are doing all this great Broadway repertoire. We got to pick it ourselves, so it's like making our own party playlist of what we would want to sing in my living room, except we are bringing it to life at Carnegie Hall with an 80 piece orchestra.
2. Of the songs being performed, what are some of your favorite selections? There are just so many big 11 o'clock numbers in this concert, but if I had to choose, we are featuring the orchestra in some great music from West Side Story, which I never get tired of performing and conducting. Stephanie J. Block does the best "Defying Gravity" I've ever heard in my life, and hearing Andrew and Stephanie do "Move On" from Sunday in the Park with George is another favorite of mine. Andrew is singing a song that I was just introduced to a few years ago by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, who wrote the song, called "Love Who You Love," which has become a bit of a mantra for me. It's just so powerful.
Stephanie J. Block and Andrew Rannells preview "Move On"
3. Why should the fans come see The New York Pops On Broadway? I think it's a no brainer to come hear Stephanie J. Block and Andrew Rannells sing with this amazing orchestra and we are going to do great hits that everybody loves. We do one night only, which is very special here in this city. I always try to make our concerts an event that if you weren't there, you missed out on something. You have to be there that night because something great is going to happen.
4. This is The New York Pops 31st Season. What excites you to keep going with them? Well, they are the best Pops orchestra on the planet and we get to perform at the finest concert on on the planet, in the best city on the planet. It's quite a thrill every time I get to take the stage with The New York Pops. We've planned out the next season already, which we are very excited about. We continue to grow by leaps and bounds, selling-out all of our concerts. There's a lot of excitement and everyone is just happy to come to work. So, it's a lot of fun to be part of it.
1. You are going to be performing once again with The New York Pops on March 21 at 7:30pm in their show On Broadway. What are you looking forward to about this evening? I'm so honored that they asked me to do it. I'm so excited to be working with Steven Reineke again and to be singing with Stephanie J. Block, and while I've known her for a long time, this is our first time singing together. She's no joke, so when you work with her, you got to bring it.
2. You've performed with The New York Pops before, so what excites about coming back to sing with the Pops and work with Steven Reineke again? I was so nervous when I sang with them at their Spring Gala in 2012 that I don't remember it. I mean, I remember that I sang, I think it sounded okay, and then I walked off-stage and I didn't remember anything. So, this time around, I'm sure I'll be petrified, but at least I'll have time to warm up before it. We are doing a whole two acts of many, many songs, so hopefully I'll remember something [laughs].
3. Which songs are you looking forward to performing most? I'm really excited about "Move On" because it's been so fun to bring it to life. I'm getting to sing "Being Alive" from Company, which for every Tenor in my opinion is a dream song to sing.
Andrew Rannells previews "The Streets Of Dublin"
4. If you could give people a reason to come see you perform with The New York Pops on March 21 at 7:30pm, what would that reason be, aside from coming to see you? Stephanie J. Block is a big reason. The New York Pops is a huge, huge orchestra which you don't really get to hear anymore, plus we are going to be singing an array of Broadway songs from classics to contemporary. There is something for everyone.
5. I know The New Normal is not part of this evening, but what is like to go from working in theatre to working in television and how do you feel your training in one helps you with the other? I feel very fortunate that while I was doing The Book of Mormon, Lena Dunham, cast me Girls on HBO. I got to do The Book of Mormon at night and work on Girls during the day, which was very exciting. Lena was so generous and so lovely that after we did the first couple of scenes, she would let me watch the playback of them, since she was directing the episodes as well, so I got to see what we did. I saw I didn't have to project as much for television as I do for theatre. I'm allowed to be as internal as I wanna be because the camera picks all of that up. That was a big adjustment for me. So, by the time I got to do The New Normal, I had done two seasons of Girls already, but The New Normal was a little different because network shows move faster, so I didn't have the luxury to check my work after we filmed, but I was more confident in myself by the time we started filming The New Normal.
6. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? I would love to be able to teleport.
7. Boxers or Briefs? Briefs today. Not always. Sometimes it's a boxer. You have to mix it up.
1. What excites you about performing in this concert? I'm thrilled to be back with The Pops. I was lucky enough to perform at The New York Pops Gala last year and sang "Don't Rain On My Parade," and Steven Reineke said to me, "You are going to be coming back to this stage singing that song at some point, I don't know when," and that when is now.
2. Out of all the songs you are performing, which ones are you most looking forward to singing, in addition to "Don't Rain On My Parade"? I think Sondheim because I've never performed it professionally. It's challenging, touching, and so beautiful. When you get an 80 piece orchestra to play his stuff there is nothing like it. The list of composers that were chosen for this program are pretty great. In addition to Sondheim, we are also singing Stephen Schwartz, Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, and so many more). A lot of big notes. A lot of 11 o'clock numbers.
Stephanie J. Block previews "Don't Rain On My Parade"
3. You've performed with The New York Pops before. What do you love about working with them and Steven Reineke? Their musicianship is remarkable, but Steven Reineke is a showman in of himself. You don't just get his back and a baton, you get a guy who is SO invested in his musicians and his performers and we can tell that he is really there with us and it's not a detached thing where the singers are not part of what they are creating and performing. I love that. You can feel his support. He breathes with you. He's the third soloist, well, he's the first soloist actually.
4. If you could give the fans one reason why they should come to On Broadway with The New York Pops on March 21 at 7:30pm, what would it be? On Broadway we are lucky enough to have incredible musicians. There are 15, sometimes 23, but when you hear musical theatre scores with 12 cellos, an entire horn section, 14 violins, there's nothing to explain that experience. The textures, the colors, the nuance, it's really exceptional and takes the music to a completely different place.
5. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? Mmmm...I know a lot of people say flying, but I would be invisible. When the time is right, I would love to just disappear and become invisible. I think you would learn a lot and I think you could change the world a lot.
The New York Pops is the largest independent pops orchestra in the United States, and the only professional symphonic orchestra in New York City specializing in popular music. Under the leadership of dynamic Music Director and Conductor Steven Reineke, The New York Pops continues to re-imagine orchestral pops music. The orchestra performs an annual subscription series and birthday gala at Carnegie Hall. The New York Pops is dedicated to lifelong learning, and collaborates with public schools, community organizations, children’s hospitals and senior centers throughout the five boroughs of New York City. PopsEd allows thousands of New Yorkers of all ages and backgrounds to participate in fully customizable music programs that blend traditional education with pure fun.
Steven Reineke is the Music Director of The New York Pops at Carnegie Hall, Principal Pops Conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and Principal Pops Conductor of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Reineke is a frequent guest conductor with The Philadelphia Orchestra and has been on the podium with the Boston Pops, The Cleveland Orchestra and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at Ravinia. His extensive North American conducting appearances include San Francisco, Houston, Seattle, Edmonton and Pittsburgh. As the creator of more than one hundred orchestral arrangements for the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, Mr. Reineke’s work has been performed worldwide, and can be heard on numerous Cincinnati Pops Orchestra recordings on the Telarc label. His symphonic works Celebration Fanfare, Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Casey at the Bat are performed frequently in North America. His numerous wind ensemble compositions are published by the C.L. Barnhouse Company and are performed by concert bands around the world. A native of Ohio, Mr. Reineke is a graduate of Miami University of Ohio, where he earned bachelor of music degrees with honors in both trumpet performance and music composition. He currently resides in New York City with his partner Eric Gabbard.
Stephanie J. Block has established herself as one of the most relevant and versatile voices in contemporary musical theatre. She most recently starred as "Sheryl Hoover" in the Off-Broadway production of Little Miss Sunshine written by James Lapine and William Finn. She received both a Drama Desk and Tony Award nomination for her portrayal of "Alice Nutting/Edwin Drood" in The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Other Broadway credits include Anything Goes and 9 to 5: The Musical, for which she earned a Drama Desk nomination. She created the roles of "Grace O'Malley" in The Pirate Queen and "Liza Minnelli" in The Boy From Oz (opposite Hugh Jackman). Ms. Block is best known for her portrayal of "Elphaba" in the Broadway company of Wicked. She also originated the role in the first national tour, for which she won numerous awards, including the prestigious Helen Hayes Award. Ms. Block has sung with numerous orchestras including The New York Pops, Boston Pops, National Symphony Orchestra (under the baton of Marvin Hamlisch), Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Utah Symphony, Columbus Symphony, Charlotte Symphony Orchestra and the Cleveland Pops, among many others. For more on Stephanie be sure to visit: http://www.stephaniejblock.com and follow her on Twitter!
Andrew Rannells is best known for his breakout role as "Elder Price" in Broadway’s Tony Award winning musical The Book of Mormon, which was created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone of "South Park" fame along with Robert Lopez of Avenue Q. The Book of Mormon received 9 Tony Awards including Best Musical, and on the 2011 Tony Awards telecast Rannells brought down the house with his performance of "I Believe." For his work in The Book of Mormon Rannells received Tony, Drama Desk and Drama League award nominations. He also won a Grammy Award for "Best Musical Theatre Album" for the cast recording of The Book of Mormon. He can currently be seen in third season of HBO’s Golden Globe-winning comedy series Girls, from producers Lena Dunham and Judd Apatow. Last year Rannells starred as "Bryan Collins" in Ryan Murphy's groundbreaking series The New Normal for NBC. Rannells is a native of Omaha, Nebraska. For more on Andrew follow him on Twitter!