The NY Pops orchestra celebrated their 30th anniversary at Carnegie Hall last night with a star-studded tribute to Jule Styne, Frank Loesser and Danny Kaye. After a rousing overture from GYPSY (a fraction too slow) the stage was flooded with the Camp Broadway kids. And indeed, a couple of them were.
Songs from FUNNY GIRL were beautifully sung by Stephanie J. Block, Betsy Wolfe and Laura Osnes. Laura Benanti took us to "Neverland" from PETER PAN.
Leslie Uggams tore up the place with her signature song from HALLELUJAH, BABY!, "My Own Morning". Simply glorious.
She told delightful stories about her father always returning from his travels overseas with a gift until one time little Dena demanded "Where's my present?". Shocked, Danny said that was enough with the gifts and from now on he would teach Dena a folk song from whichever country he had visited. Dena then sang a Japanese tune she has always remembered. She also spoke of Danny's many gigs as an orchestra conductor although he couldn't read music. She brought a gift to NY Pops music director Stephen Reineke of Danny's golden fly swatter, sying that he had once conducted "The Flight of the Bumble Bee"
Liz Callaway followed with a medley from HOW TO SUCCEED, then came Kelli O'Hara with a really lovely "Somebody Somewhere" from THE MOST HAPPY FELLA.
My thanks to Jamie De Roy for letting me be her handbag for the night!