REVIEW: RAVINIA FESTIVAL 7/26 — Thank you to The Ravinia Festival, The Chicago Symphony, to Kevin Cole and the Cast for this joyful celebration of Marvin Hamlisch’s music, humor, warmth and life! The program “Play It Again, Marvin! A Marvin Hamlisch Celebration.” Terre Blair Hamlisch, Maestro Hamlisch’s widow was in attendance and said a few words.
WATCH! A Great Surprise Pre-show Celebration at Ravinia Festival:
“We were on the lawn tonight and enjoyed this surprise–it almost seemed like a flash mob at first! Thanks for adding this fun pre-show activity! And the show itself was WONDERFUL! Enjoyed the music AND the stories about Marvin Hamlisch. Hearing from his wife, Terre, was also very nice. Thanks for a very entertaining and informative evening!” — Judy Ebenhoeh — WATCH!
Thanks to the Organizers, the Chicago Symphony Players, The Guest Artists for a great show!
Thank you Joyce for this great review!
“Thank you Terre in particular and Ravinia Festival (Highland Park, IL) and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in general for the fantastic Tribute Concert last night dedicated to Marvin Hamlisch.
The music was obviously amazing but, the tribute in video and words, by some of his most esteemed friends gave me a much greater understanding of the man himself. As great as his genius and contributions were to Music, Broadway and Hollywood, what I didn’t know was that he was an amazing human being first and foremost. His love for Terre, his friends and colleagues and his family were limitless. I learned that his generosity, kindness, loyalty, integrity and indomitable spirit were beyond tremendous. I I felt both joy and tears throughout the whole program. Thank you for an evening that I will never forget. – Joyce Rabinowitz”
(This Event happened on July 26, 2015)
Nobody did it better than Hamlisch as his Oscars, Emmys, Grammys and Tony Award can attest. From “The Way We Were” to “A Chorus Line,” from “Ice Castles” to “The Sting,” his music turned moments into memories.
This new multimedia concert, produced by writer and pianist Kevin Cole, celebrates the “People’s Composer” and gives the audience an insider’s view into Hamlisch’s life through song, private family videos and personal memories.
Kevin Cole has delighted audiences with a repertoire that includes the best of American music. Cole’s performances have prompted accolades from some of the foremost critics in America. Engagements for Cole include sold-out performances with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl; BBC Concert Orchestra at Royal Albert Hall; National Symphony at the Kennedy Center; Hong Kong Philharmonic; San Francisco Symphony, Chicago Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, and Philharmonia Orchestra (London); Boston Philharmonic, Adelaide Symphony Orchestra (Australia) Minnesota Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony, Dallas Symphony, Seattle Symphony and Vietnam National Symphony Orchestra; New Zealand Symphony and Edmonton Symphony (Canada); and Ravinia Festival, Wolf Trap, Savannah Music Festival, Castleton Festival and Chautauqua Institute, as well as many others. He made his Carnegie Hall debut with the Albany Symphony in May 2013. He has shared the concert stage with Liza Minnelli, Aretha Franklin, Barbra Streisand, William Warfield, Sylvia McNair, Lorin Maazel, Itzhak Perlman, Brian d’Arcy James, Barbara Cook, Robert Klein, Lucie Arnaz, Maria Friedman, Idina Menzel and friend and mentor Marvin Hamlisch.
Cole is an award-winning musical director, arranger, composer, vocalist and archivist who garnered the praises of Irving Berlin, Harold Arlen, E.Y. Harburg, Hugh Martin, Burton Lane, Marvin Hamlisch, Stephen Sondheim and members of the Jerome Kern and Gershwin families. He has worked as vocal arranger/accompanist for opera, pop and musical theatre performers Sylvia McNair, Dawn Upshaw, Brian d’Arcy James, Karen Morrow, Melissa Manchester, John Lithgow, Donna McKechnie, Christine Andreas, Hollis Resnik, Klea Blackhurst, Kim Criswell and William Warfield.
Best known as a three-time Olivier Award-winning (with seven nominations) star of the musical stage, the heart of Maria Friedman’s career has been centered around the love and work of her dear friend Stephen Sondheim. She has played Dot in “Sunday in the Park with George” at the National Theatre, Fosca in “Passion” at the Queen’s (Olivier Award), Mrs. Lovett in “Sweeney Todd” at the Royal Festival Hall with Bryn Terfel, and Mary in “Merrily We Roll Along” at the Leicester Haymarket. Additionally, in concert, she has played Sally in “Follies” and both Charlotte and Petra in “A Little Night Music.” In May 2009, Friedman was honored to sing for Stephen at his 80th birthday celebrations in New York and Washington, as well as at the special all-Sondheim Prom in July 2010. She was invited by Marvin Hamlisch to appear as guest singer at the reopening of the famous Venetian rooms in the Fairmont Hotel, San Francisco, and she starred in “The Invisible Man” at The Menier Chocolate Factory. Friedman appeared as guest singer with the English National Opera performing Strictly Gershwin at the Royal Albert Hall. Her other leading musical roles include Anna in “The King and I” at the Royal Albert Hall, Mother in “Ragtime” (Olivier Award), Liza in “Lady in The Dark” at the National, Sukie in “The Witches of Eastwick” at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, Roxie in “Chicago” at the Adelphi, and Marian in “The Woman In White” at London’s Palace and also at Broadway’s Marquis (Theatre World Award). She also starred in the original London production of “Blues in the Night,” and played Hayyah in Nicholas Hytner’s acclaimed National Theatre production of “Ghetto.”
Non-singing roles include “Break of Day” (Royal Court), “Square Rounds” (National) and “April in Paris” (Ambassador’s). In 1994, the Donmar Warehouse presented “Maria Friedman: By Special Arrangement,” a series of concerts with a virtuoso 11-piece band. The show went on to win an Olivier Award, and transferred to the Whitehall Theatre in 1995 as “Maria Friedman: By Extra Special Arrangement.” In 2008 she was invited to present a new version of the show at the Menier Chocolate Factory — “Maria Friedman: Re-arranged,” which went on to transfer to the Trafalgar Studios. On screen, Friedman has been seen as the Narrator in the best-selling film of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” with Donny Osmond, and is often recognized as Trish Baynes from “Casualty.” Friedman’s many international concert appearances include three sell-out seasons at New York’s prestigious Cafe Carlyle, and many concerts with Michel Legrand and Marvin Hamlisch.
David Alan Miller, Conductor:
During the 2014–15 season Mr. Miller will make guest appearances with the Buffalo Philharmonic, Tucson Symphony and the National Orchestral Institute. Other upcoming appearances include return engagements with the Vietnamese National Orchestra in Hanoi in March, the Chicago Symphony at the Ravinia Festival in July, and Portugal’s Estoril Festival, also in July. Frequently in demand as a guest conductor, Mr. Miller has worked with most of America’s major orchestras, including the orchestras of Baltimore, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and San Francisco, as well as the New World Symphony, the Boston Pops and the New York City Ballet. In addition, he has appeared frequently throughout Europe, Australia and the Far East as guest conductor. He made his first guest appearance with the BBC Scottish Symphony in March, 2014. Read More: David Allan Miller, Conductor.
Two-time Grammy Award and regional Emmy Award winner Sylvia McNair lays claim to a three-decade, stellar career in the musical realms of opera, oratorio, cabaret and musical theater. Her journey has taken her from the Metropolitan Opera to the Salzburg Festival, from the New York Philharmonic to the Rainbow Room, from the Ravinia Festival to The Plaza, from the pages of The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal to the London Times and the cover of Cabaret Scenes. Having appeared as a soloist multiple times with nearly every major opera company and symphony orchestra in the world, this songbird has flown the classical coop. She’s retracing her star route now with Gershwin, Porter, Sondheim and Bernstein. Numerous Pops appearances with the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony and others continue the reincarnation of her musical gifts in the most remarkable ways with the most rewarding results.
Watch: A Song In My Heart, Sylvia McNair:
It would be difficult to top McNair’s invitations to sing the Bach B‑minor Mass with the Vienna Philharmonic for Pope John Paul II at the Vatican and a recital for the U.S. Supreme Court by special request of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. But her engagements for nine of the last 11 summers at the Ravinia Festival with Broadway legends John Raitt, George Hearn and Brian Stokes Mitchell are what her dreams are made of. Her Great American Songbook cabaret shows have been heard in New York at the Rainbow Room, Jazz at Lincoln Center, the Savoy Room at Sheldon Hall, The Colony in Palm Beach, Feinstein’s at the Regency, the Aspen Music Festival and the famed Oak Room of the Algonquin Hotel. McNair has more than 70 recordings ranging from Mozart arias with Sir Neville Marriner and the Academy of St.-Martin-in-the-Fields to the music of Jerome Kern and Harold Arlen with pianist Andre Previn. McNair earned a master’s degree with distinction from the Indiana University School of Music, received honorary doctorates from Westminster College (1997) and Indiana University (1998), the Ohio Governor’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in Arts and Entertainment (1999) and the Indiana Governor’s Arts Award (2011). In 2007, McNair received the Gaudium Award from The Breukelein Institute for “extraordinary and distinctive contributions to the arts and public life.” Visit SylviaMcNair.com for more.
The Chicago Symphony:
The Chicago Symphony Orchestra is consistently hailed as one of today’s leading orchestras. Performances by the CSO are much in demand at home and in the most prestigious music capitals of the world. Led by renowned Italian conductor Riccardo Muti as its tenth music director, the CSO is working to fulfill his vision for the Orchestra—to deepen its engagement with the Chicago community, to nurture the legacy of the CSO while supporting a new generation of musicians, and to collaborate with visionary artists. French composer and conductor Pierre Boulez, whose long-standing relationship with the CSO led to his appointment as principal guest conductor in 1995, was named Helen Regenstein Conductor Emeritus in 2006 Visit The Chicago Symphony Website
Ravinia, North America’s oldest music festival, stands today as its most musically diverse, presenting over 140 different events throughout the summer. These concerts run the gambit from Yo-Yo Ma to John Legend to the annual summer residency of the nation’s finest orchestra, The Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
The 36-acre park is nestled in a gently wooded area that makes it an enchanting place to experience music. Guests can bring their own picnics or eat at one of the park restaurants. Children up to age 15, high school and college students are admitted free to the lawn for classical performances.
Our Mission: As a nonprofit organization, community outreach and music education initiatives are our mission. Over 75,000 people are served through Ravinia’s Reach*Teach*Play programs each year, ensuring that great music remains accessible to all.
Ravinia runs the Steans Music Institute on its grounds. This summer music conservatory awards 60–70 fully paid fellowships each year to the most talented young professional musicians from around the world to work with an esteemed faculty and the headliners who frequent the festival. Visit The Ravinia Festival Website