June 4, 2015
Senior Director, Communications
HOUSTON AUDIENCES TAKE PART IN THE MUSIC-MAKING EXPERIENCE AT JONES HALL BY SINGING ALONG TO BROADWAY FAVORITES
Featuring songs from Phantom of the Opera, Oklahoma!, Chicago, The Sound of Music, Mamma Mia!, Wicked, Beauty & the Beast, Frozen and more
Welcoming Tony Award-winner Debbie Gravitte and internationally acclaimed Doug LaBrecque
Tickets available starting at just $20
HOUSTON (June 4, 2015)—Houston audiences will be treated to an evening of Broadway favorites at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 13, but this time, unlike traditional Broadway concerts, they will go from being spectators to becoming part of the evening’s entertainment when they sing along to some of Broadway’s favorites led by Associate Director Robert Franz.
The program, designed for people of all ages, will feature solos and duets with Broadway stars Debbie Gravitte and Doug LaBrecque, orchestra overtures and features, as well as plenty of opportunities for the audience to sing along to favorites from Broadway shows such as The Sound of Music, Jersey Boys, Oklahoma!, The Lion King, the ever-popular Frozen and more.
"I love to watch people enjoying themselves in a concert as they listen to us perform, but I often see them mouthing the words. This is a fantastic opportunity to actually make sound and sing right along,” said Franz. “There's nothing like singing with two incredible Broadway singers and the incomparable Houston Symphony.”
The concert will allow those who enjoy musicals old and new to “follow the bouncing ball” and sing along with professionals of the highest caliber. Gravitte, who won a Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in A Musical in 1989, has been labeled “one of the best voices on Broadway” by the Associated Press. She has also appeared with orchestras all over the world and even co-starred in the television series “Trial and Error” on CBS and NBC’s “Pursuit of Happiness.”
LaBrecque is also a seasoned performer and has shared his talents extensively on the international stage. On Broadway, he starred as Ravenal in Showboat and was featured in a 100th birthday celebration concert for Oscar Hammerstein at The Gershwin Theater.
Unless otherwise noted, all concerts take place at Jones Hall for the Performing Arts, 615 Louisiana Street, in Houston’s Theater District. For tickets and information, please call (713) 224-7575 or visit www.houstonsymphony.org. Tickets may also be purchased at the Houston Symphony Patron Services Center in Jones Hall (Monday–Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.). All programs and artists are subject to change.
Saturday, June 13, 2015, 7:30pm
Robert Franz, conductor
Debbie Gravitte, vocalist
Doug Labrecque, vocalist
615 Louisiana St.
Houston, TX 77002
Tickets from $20
About Robert Franz
As Associate Conductor of the Houston Symphony, Robert Franz leads the Symphony in a broad range of creative educational and family concerts. Winner of two “Leonard Bernstein Award for Educational Programming” accolades presented by ASCAP (the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers), Robert galvanizes young audiences with programming celebrating the diverse cultural make up of Greater Houston. Highlights include the world premiere of music from the iconic TV series Schoolhouse Rock! for orchestra. During his tenure, attendance at educational concerts has almost doubled. Reaching out to the community, Robert led highly successful side-by-side events giving musicians from the Texas Medical Center Orchestra and the Houston Civic Symphony the opportunity to perform with the Houston Symphony.
Robert also serves as music director of the Boise Philharmonic, Windsor Symphony Orchestra and The Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival Orchestra. In increasing demand as a guest conductor, his upcoming and recent guest conducting engagements include The Cleveland Orchestra; Baltimore Symphony Orchestra; St. Louis, Phoenix and Victoria Symphonies; Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and the Orchestra da Camera Fiorentina in Italy.
Robert received his master’s degree in conducting and his bachelor’s degree in oboe performance, both from the North Carolina School of the Arts.
When he’s not on the podium, Franz is an avid runner and a proponent of the Alexander technique as a way to move mindfully through life. For more information, please visit www.robertfranz.com.
About Debbie Gravitte
One of Broadway’s biggest personalities, Debbie Gravitte received the Tony Award for her critically acclaimed performance in Jerome Robbins Broadway, along with the New York Showstopper Award and a Drama Desk Award nomination. She made her Broadway debut in the original cast of They’re Playing Our Song, and appeared in Blues In The Night, Perfectly Frank (Drama Desk Award Nomination), Zorba, Ain’t Broadway Grand, Chicago and Les Miserables.
She appeared in London in Jerry Herman’s Mack and Mabel. She was in New York City Encores! productions of The Boys From Syracuse, Tenderloin and Carnival and has performed her nightclub act worldwide. In Atlantic City, she had the honor to open for George Burns and Jay Leno.
Gravitte has sung with more than 100 orchestras, including this return with the Houston Symphony. A highlight was a special performance in Beijing with Lang Lang and the Chinese Philharmonic. She is featured on many recordings including her three solo CDs: Defying Gravity, The Alan Menken Album and The MGM Album. Her films include Isn’t She Great and The Little Mermaid. Television appearances include Trial and Error (CBS), Pursuit of Happiness (NBC), numerous PBS specials (Broadway Plays Washington, Ira Gershwin’s 100th Birthday Live from Carnegie Hall and In Concert with the Boston Pops). She was featured in the Peter Martin’s ballet Thou Swell with the NYC Ballet.
About Doug LaBrecque
Doug LaBrecque thrilled theatre audiences as The Phantom and Raoul in the Harold Prince production of The Phantom of the Opera. He has starred on Broadway as Ravenal in Showboat, a role he also performed in Canada and Chicago. He was featured in Oscar Hammerstein’s 100th Birthday Celebration on Broadway and toured nationally with Les Miserables. Regionally, he has performed leading roles in Candide, A Chorus Line and Man of LaMancha, among others. The University of Michigan graduate was also featured in the world premiere of A Wonderful Life and starred in the premiere revival of Love Life.
A prolific concert performer, LaBrecque has been a soloist with some of the world’s finest symphony orchestras. In a tribute to Richard Rodgers, he recently made his Carnegie Hall debut as a soloist with the New York Pops, the same season he debuted with The Boston Pops. With Peter Nero, he was featured in Broadway Showstoppers a live recording with the Philly Pops. Diverse special engagements have included singing with Carole Bayer Sager at Feinsteins’ in Manhattan and appearing onstage with Senators Ted Kennedy and Orrin Hatch (singing together!) at Hickory Hill, the legendary home of Ethel Kennedy.
International engagements have taken Doug LaBrecque from Korea to Shanghai, from Canada to Brazil. He recently appeared in Alba, Italy, as guest soloist in an all-Bernstein concert and returned to the International Music Festival in The Czech Republic.
About Houston Symphony
During the 2014-15 season, the Houston Symphony enters its second century as one of America’s leading orchestras with a full complement of concert, community, education, touring and recording activities. This season also marks the inaugural year for new Music Director Andrés Orozco- Estrada. The Houston Symphony is one of the oldest performing arts organizations in Texas whose inaugural performance was held at The Majestic Theater in downtown Houston on June 21, 1913. Today, with an annual operating budget of $29 million, the full-time ensemble of 87 professional musicians is the largest performing arts organization in Houston, presenting more than 286 performances for 300,000 people, including 82,000 children, annually. For tickets and more information, please visit www.houstonsymphony.org or call (713) 224-7575.