Cincinnati Pops Orchestra Announces Star-Studded 2013-14 Season


The Cincinnati Pops Orchestra and Conductor John Morris Russell announce the Pops’ 2013-14 season, the third under the direction of Mr. Russell. The season, presented by PNC, celebrates some of the long-admired classics of the Pops while embracing exciting new collaborations. From Broadway to rock, R&B to family concerts, Music Hall will be the home for fans of all musical genres in 2013-14. Highlights of the season include three debuts from stars Michael McDonald, George Takei and Boyz II Men, as well the return of Cincinnati favorites Ann Hampton Callaway and Megan Hilty, who wowed Pops audiences in 2009 and has since nurtured a career from stage to screen as star of the hit NBC TV series Smash.

“This is a season that will ignite the imagination,” said Mr. Russell. “Between our lineup of incredibly talented guest artists and enormously diverse programming, the Cincinnati Pops honors its cherished traditions while experimenting with new genres. I can’t wait to look out and see audiences grinning from ear to ear during these programs,” he said.

Several programs on the season showcase the power of the Pops Orchestra itself, including a performance dedicated to the popular classics, made unforgettable by Pops Founder and Conductor Emeritus, Erich Kunzel. The Final Frontier, a multimedia concert incorporating visual elements and footage from space exploration, summons the full forces of the Orchestra to present music inspired by the stars. Holiday Pops, a concert program which completely sold out in December 2012, returns with all the comforts of home, with local singers, dancers and choirs joining Ms. Callaway. Classical Mystery Tour takes place 50 years to the date of the Beatles’ appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show and uses the original Fab Four orchestrations.

Other programs include Cocktail Hour: Music of the Mad Men Era, which draws inspiration from such musicians as Frank Sinatra, Bobby Darin and Burt Bacharach in the spirit of Don Draper and company. Finally, Pixar in Concert celebrates nearly 20 years of smash hit animation from Toy Story to Brave.

Season features debuts, returning favorites, while showcasing Orchestra
The Cincinnati Pops and Conductor John Morris Russell welcome artists making their Pops debuts such as George Takei, Michael McDonald and Boyz II Men, along with returning favorites such as Broadway and Smash star Megan Hilty and performances featuring the full splendor of the Pops Orchestra.

Season opens with The Final Frontier with special guest George Takei
The Pops ushers in the season looking towards the stars, invoking human fascination with the heavens. Mr. Sulu himself, George Takei, narrates a musical journey with big musical scores depicting everything from Sci Fi to “Sci-Fact.”

Boyz II Men and Michael McDonald make Pops debuts
The most successful group in R&B history, Boyz II Men, hits the Music Hall stage, bringing their plethora of hit singles with them for a special one-night-only event, and five-time Grammy winner Michael McDonald joins JMR and the Pops for an unforgettable night of rock and soul, rhythm and blues.

Pops welcomes back star of Smash on NBC, Megan Hilty
Megan Hilty, star of the hit TV series Smash and a favorite of Cincinnati Pops audiences, returns for a night of Broadway and “Americana” tunes.

Summoning the spirit of ‘60s
Commemorating the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, which ushered in a new era of rock ‘n’ roll and fandom, the Pops will present “Classical Mystery Tour,” welcoming a group that looks and sounds just like the Fab Four performing this iconic music exactly as it was written. The Orchestra also performs the music of the Mad Men era with soloists Nikke Renee Daniels and Ryan Silverman, with tunes invoking all the smooth sophistication of the mid-century lounge.

Orchestral programs celebrate tradition and the next generation
The Orchestra again presents its annual Holiday Pops Spectacular, an oft-sold-out Cincinnati tradition. Mr. Russell also conducts a program of Erich Kunzel’s greatest hits, celebrating the Pops’ 36-year official history. Finally, “Pixar in Concert,” is sure to cultivate the next generation of Pops fans.

2013-2014 Pops programs include:
 The Final Frontier with George Takei (September 20-22)
 Michael McDonald (October 18-19)
 Pops Classics: Erich Kunzel’s Greatest Hits (November 3 & 17)
 Holiday Pops Spectacular featuring Ann Hampton Callaway (December 13-15)
 Megan Hilty: Star of Smash and Broadway (January 24-26, 2014)
 Classical Mystery Tour (February 9, 2014)
 Cocktail Hour: Music of the Mad Men Era (March 8-9, 2014)
 Pixar in Concert (April 4-6, 2014)
 Boyz II Men (April 29, 2014)