Lerner Notes

Program Notes

Camelot

Based on the classic King Arthur legend, the original production of “Camelot” opened in December, 1960, at the Majestic Theatre on Broadway. Featured members of the cast included Richard Burton, Julie Andrews, and Robert Goulet. Goulet, in his first Broadway role, found his signature song in the show-stopper, “If Ever I Would Leave You”. The production finally closed in January, 1963, following 873 performances.

The development of the show faced some setbacks. Lerner later explained that Loewe had no interest in the project, but agreed to write the music on the condition that it would be his final score if the show fared poorly. Lerner and director Moss Hart were both hospitalized during preview performances. The show was also running extremely long, with more than 90 minutes of material being cut before the premiere.

The show was successful at the 1961 Tony Awards, winning for four of its five nominations: Best Actor in a Musical (Burton), Scenic Design in a Musical, Costume Design in a Musical, and Best Conductor and Musical Director. Subsequent productions have included three Broadway revivals, two U.S. tours, and the 1967 film. The 1961 Original Cast Recording was a top-selling album throughout that year.

Paint Your Wagon

This musical set in California during the Gold Rush was unsuccessful in its initial incarnation, with the Broadway version only lasting a few months from 1951-52. A West End production in 1953 was more successful, running about twice as long. A heavily altered 1969 film version was equally middling, failing to fully recoup its budget.

In spite of this, “Wagon” remains a common selection for youth theatre productions, and recent reinterpretations have been received more warmly. Popular songs from this show include “Wand’rin’ Star”, “They Call the Wind Maria”, and “I Talk to the Trees”.

Gigi

Until recent years, it was common for musicals to start life on the stage, before being adapted for the movie screen. With Lerner & Loewe’s “Gigi”, that pattern was reversed. The 1973 Broadway production was an adaptation of their successful 1958 film, which had been sourced from a novella of the same name. The story of a girl being groomed for life as a courtesan in early 20th century Paris, whose suitor soon falls in love with her, bears some resemblance to the pair’s “My Fair Lady”.

Regardless of any resemblance to other shows, the original Broadway production proved to be a disappointment, running for just 103 performances before closing. Still, it managed to capture a Tony Award for Best Original Score, and a West End production in 1985 fared much better, running for seven months. A new take on the adaptation, currently in a pre-Broadway state, is scheduled to run at the Kennedy Center beginning in January, 2015.

Brigadoon

This 1947 musical, centering on the discovery of a mythical Scottish village that appears for only one day every century, was the first success in the Lerner & Loewe oeuvre. After one show that closed during previews, and two others that made little impact among theatergoers, the pair decided to emulate elements of recent Rodgers & Hammerstein hits, particularly “Oklahoma!” and “Carousel”. Featuring a pair of romantic plots and using the same choreographer as the aforementioned R&H productions, “Brigadoon” proved to be the show that established L&L as the next musical heavyweights.

The show was very successful in its initial Broadway & West End incarnations, running for 581 & 685 performances, respectively. An extended North American tour was also very successful. The show has been revived several times since then, though most of the productions had very limited runs. A film version was produced in 1954, though it was a box office failure, losing MGM about $1.5 million (over $13 million in 2014 dollars). Critical reception was mixed at the time, but has grown more positive over the years.

It has been observed that Lerner’s book bears some resemblance to an older German tale about a town that falls under a magic curse, but Lerner claimed no knowledge of that story until after he had completed a draft of his book. And an interesting bit of trivia: “Brigadoon” (the film version) inspired a 1994 episode of the science fiction drama “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine”, entitled “Meridian”.

My Fair Lady

This Lerner and Loewe classic first premiered on Broadway in March, 1956. An adaptation of George Bernard Shaw’s play “Pygmalion”, several attempts to create a musical version had been made. Lerner and Loewe initially worked together on the project in 1950, but abandoned work for two years. Oscar Hammerstein II had shared word of his own failed attempt, working with Richard Rodgers, declaring that “Pygmalion” was impossible to adapt.

Lerner reconsidered, reuniting with Loewe and resuming the work. Things quickly fell into place, and the project headed into production. Julie Andrews was offered the role of Eliza Doolittle after being ‘discovered’ in her Broadway debut, “The Boy Friend”. The title “My Fair Lady” derived from one of Shaw’s working titles for “Pygmalion”, “Fair Eliza”. The initial production ran for over six years, closing in 1962 after 2,717 performances, a record for a musical at the time.

Lerner & Loewe

Lerner & Loewe

Concert Program

Lerner & Loewe Overture

Selections from “Camelot”

Camelot
What Do The Simple Folk Do?
If Ever I Would Leave You

Selections from “Paint Your Wagon”

I Talk To The Trees
They Call The Wind Maria
Another Autumn
There’s A Coach Coming In
I’m On My Way

Selections from “Gigi”

Say A Prayer For Me Tonight
Thank Heaven For Little Girls
I Remember It Well
Gigi

INTERMISSION

Selections from “Brigadoon”

Overture
Come To Me, Bend To Me

Selections from “My Fair Lady”

Prelude
Wouldn’t It Be Loverly?
With A Little Bit Of Luck
The Rain In Spain
I Could Have Danced All Night
Get Me To THe Church On Time
On The Street Where You Live
Show Me
I’ve Grown Accustomed To Your Face
Finale

Featuring

Christine Pfenninger – Soprano

Christine Pfenninger is delighted to be joining the Wheaton Symphony for a sixth season. She has been seen throughout Chicagoland, from Cicero, to Glencoe, to Woodstock, to Batavia in numberous stage productions. Favorite roles include Sister Amnesia in “Nunsense”, Florence in “Chess”, Amalia in “She Loves Me”, Eva Peron in “Evita”, Marian in “The Music Man”, Reno Sweeney in “Anything Goes”, and most recently Christmas Eve in the regional premiere of “Avenue Q”.

A comedienne at heart, she is also fond of Broadway impersonations and tackled Ethel Merman, Carol Channing, Liza Minelli, Chita Rivera, and Marissa Jaret Winokur in Steel Beam Theatre’s productuion of “Forbidden Broadway”. She met her husband David in a production of “Pump Boys & Dinettes” in St. Charles over ten years ago and he remains her favorite leading man.

She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Theatre from Roosevelt University and is a proud mom to Amalia Elizabeth. As always, she is truly blessed to make music with the Wheaton Symphony and share such wonderful, classic tunes with their generous audiences.

Jeffery Goodlove – Tenor

Jeffery Goodlove has recently performed the operatic roles of Rinuccio in Gianni Schicchi, Florville in Il Signor Bruschino, Astolf in Die Verschworenen , Baron Brusowsky in The Circus Princess, and King Kaspar in Amahl and the Night Visitors. Jeffery has also performed recently as a soloist in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and the Messiah. Recent performances also include a performance with Samuel Ramey and the CSO Brass, a solo performance with Charlie Vernon, CSO principal trombonist, a soloist with the Lincolnwood Chamber Orchestra and Chicago Syntagma Musicum.

Program Notes

Camelot

Based on the classic King Arthur legend, the original production of “Camelot” opened in December, 1960, at the Majestic Theatre on Broadway. Featured members of the cast included Richard Burton, Julie Andrews, and Robert…

Paint Your Wagon

This musical set in California during the Gold Rush was unsuccessful in its initial incarnation, with the Broadway version only lasting a few months from 1951-52. A West End production in 1953 was more successful, running about twice as long…

Gigi

Until recent years, it was common for musicals to start life on the stage, before being adapted for the movie screen. With Lerner & Loewe’s “Gigi”, that pattern was reversed. The 1973 Broadway production was an adaptation of their…

Brigadoon

This 1947 musical, centering on the discovery of a mythical Scottish village that appears for only one day every century, was the first success in the Lerner & Loewe oeuvre. After one show that closed during previews, and two others that…

My Fair Lady

This Lerner and Loewe classic first premiered on Broadway in March, 1956. An adaptation of George Bernard Shaw’s play “Pygmalion”, several attempts to create a musical version had been made. Lerner and Loewe initially worked…

Great Notes

Program Notes

Overture to “Candide”

Leonard Bernstein

This operetta, based on Voltaire’s novella, with music composed by Leonard Bernstein, has seen a rather tumultuous existence in the nearly 60 years of its existence. Although Bernstein’s music was an instant success, the original libretto received a more lukewarm response, and the disastrous original Broadway production closed after just 73 performances. Subsequent revivals used a new text that was revised several times throughout the 1970s & 80s, before Bernstein helped craft his “Final Revised Version” in 1989.

The Overture became a popular piece of concert literature almost immediately, with more than 100 orchestras performing it in the two years following its premiere. It remains one of the most-performed pieces by Bernstein, and one of the most popular selections from any 20th century composer.

Nat King Cole

Nat King Cole ascended from unknown to one of the most popular and enduring recording artists in the world in a fairly organic fashion. Playing in clubs initially, then rising to popularity through performances on radio, Cole soon transitioned away from pure instrumental performing, adding singing to his repertoire. Cole’s band, The King Cole Trio, signed a contract with Capitol Records in 1943, and the massive sales of these records played a major role in Capitol’s success. The famous Capitol Records Building, in Los Angeles, is known as ‘The House That Nat Built’.

This medley highlights some of Cole’s most memorable songs, including “Nature Boy”, “Paper Moon”, “Straighten Up and Fly Right”, “Mona-Lisa”, “L-O-V-E”, and, of course, “Unforgettable”.

Trumpeter’s Lullaby

Leroy Anderson

Best known for his lighter orchestral compositions, Leroy Anderson found great success and fame in the 1950s conducting recordings of his works. One of these, “Blue Tango”, was the first instrumental recording to sell more than one million copies. Subsequent hits included “Sleigh Ride” and “Plink, Plank, Plunk!”

Anderson’s “A Trumpeter’s Lullaby” was premiered in 1950, with Arthur Fiedler conducting the Boston Pops Orchestra. BPO principal trumpeter Roger Voisin, who performed the solo part initially, had requested that Anderson compose a trumpet solo that was more subdued than typical literature up to that point. The bugle-derived solo material, combined with the lullaby accompaniment in the orchestra, made for a unique, if brief, composition that continues to be enjoyed by audiences today.

Duke Ellington

One of the most legendary jazz artists of all-time, Duke Ellington was a prolific composer, performer, and bandleader whose national fame helped popularize jazz music. Interestingly, Ellington, who preferred to call his music ‘American’ rather than ‘Jazz’, skipped more piano lessons than he attended as a child, preferring to play baseball with friends. As a teenager, he began composing music, though he composed solely by ear at first, as he did not yet know how to read and notate music. As he gained more experience through various gigs, his love of music intensified.

Throughout the 1920s, Ellington and his band garnered more and more attention, through live shows as well as a growing array of recordings. One of Ellington’s great skills was his ability to compose complete tunes that would fit into the roughly three minute capacity of each side of a 78rpm record. By the late-1930s, Ellington was recording smaller segments of his band, with tunes written Charlie and The Chocolate Factory tickets cheap and tailored specifically to a featured player.

As the 1950s wore on, many big bands were forced to disband or downsize, but Ellington was able to keep his musicians employed, though turnover has been accelerating for years. He also branched out into longer forms of writing, culminating in several film scores, most notably for 1959’s “Anatomy of a Murder”. His later years saw further explorations, from his Sacred Concerts to his still-innovative LP recordings. He continued to perform and record until his death at the age of 75.

Billy Joel

One of the best-selling recording artists in the United States, “Piano Man” Billy Joel spent over twenty years writing and recording an eclectic array of music that remains popular to this day. Joel first decided to pursue rock music as a high schooler, influenced by the now-legendary first appearance of The Beatles on “The Ed Sullivan Show”.

He played in a string of bands in the 1960s, making some recordings along the way. His first solo album, 1971’s Cold Spring Harbor, was hampered by a mastering error (giving Joel’s voice a ‘chipmunk’ quality). Local radio support eventually got him noticed by a Columbia Records executive, landing him a new record deal.

From the mid-70s through the early-90s, Joel recorded a string of albums that received increasingly strong sales, critical reception, and numerous Grammy awards. By 1994, Joel elected to end his pop songwriting career, though an album of his classical piano compositions was released in 2001. He continues to perform concerts, including a residency at Madison Square Garden that began in January.

Strike Up the Band

George Gershwin & Ira Gershwin

Though the overture to this, the first fully-integrated score to a book musical, remains a well-known concert selection, the musical it precedes is far less familiar to contemporary audiences. Originally tried out in 1927, later revised for a Broadway run in 1930, the show carried strong satirical elements (an American tycoon convinces the US Government to go to war against Switzerland as a means to protect his cheese – revised to chocolate – monopoly), and the revision added a stronger romantic element along with a happy ending.

Aside from the 191 performance run in 1930, no major revival has taken place in the nearly 85 years since. However, the show included several future standards, including the title song, as well as “I’ve Got a Crush on You”, “Soon”, and “The Man I Love”.

Ray Charles

This legendary singer-songwriter was the son of a sharecropper and a mechanic, and developed an interest in music at an early age. Soon after, he began losing his eyesight, likely caused by glaucoma, and he was totally blind by the time he turned seven. While attending a school for the deaf and blind, his musical abilities developed rapidly, to the point that occasionally performed for a local radio station. However, where his formal instruction was strictly in classical music, he sought to play the jazz and blues sounds he heard on the radio. By the time he was fifteen, both of his parents were dead, and he was taken in by family friends.

At the age of 17, he moved from Tallahassee to Seattle, and within a few years, was recording a steady stream of hit R&B records. Parallel to this, Charles also indulged his passion for jazz, recording several instrumental releases in this genre. However, it was in the combining of these various genres and styles that Charles found mainstream success for much of the 1960s. Although he continued to record and release albums, occasionally scoring a hit along the way, he never recaptured that peak success.

In later years, Charles made various film and television appearances – most notably in “The Blues Brothers” as well as a number of commercials for Diet Pepsi – which helped him appeal to a new generation of fans. His version of “Georgia on My Mind” was selected in 1979 as the official state song of Georgia. After his death in 2004, his final album, “Genius Loves Company”, was his best-received album in forty years, and the best-selling album of his career.

Simon & Garfunkel

Childhood friends Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel first performed music together while in high school, leading to a single record that charted, but little else at the time. While in college, the duo became key players in the burgeoning realm of folk music that was taking hold in Greenwich Village, leading to their first album with Columbia, “Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M.”. The 1964 release was a flop, and the pair parted ways for over a year. One song from the album, the spare, acoustic “The Sound of Silence”, was overdubbed with electric instruments and drums by producer Tom Wilson, leading to a hugely popular single release in late 1965.

The pair reunited soon after, capitalizing on this newfound fame to record several folk rock albums that, along with a series of singles and the soundtrack for the hit film “The Graduate”, made them among the most successful recording artists in the world. However, fame took its toll, and rising tensions led to a second breakup in the wake of their multi-Grammy winning “Bridge Over Troubled Water”.

Since this breakup, the duo has cycled through periods of estrangement and reunions, several tours, and a number of Simon’s concerts featuring Garfunkel cameos. Their vocal harmonies and folk rock stylings have helped their recordings endure for nearly five decades.

Elvis Presley

What new can be written about the most successful and popular solo recording artist of all time? ‘The King’ earned his moniker through his energetic rockabilly music, an upbeat hybrid of country music and R&B. A series of hit records, combined with his provocative, hip-swinging television appearances, made him controversial, but wildly popular.

After spending the early 1960s away from traditional album releases and live concerts – two years spent in the military following his being drafted, along with a Hollywood acting career that saw him appearing in a string of poorly-received films – he made a comeback to concert stages with a well-regarded TV special. This led to an extended residency performing in Las Vegas, along with various tours and new albums.

His health declined in the mid-1970s, largely stemming from prescription drug abuse, and Elvis died in August, 1977. In the 37 years since his death, Presley’s legacy as ‘The King’ remains intact, and his reputation as one of the greatest recording vocalists of all time is as strong as ever.

Great Men of Music

Great Men of Music
Concert Program

Overture to “Candide”

Music by Leonard Berstein

The Unforgettable Nat Cole

Arranged by Lee Norris

A Trumpeter’s Lulllaby

Music by Leroy Anderson

Featuring Mark Baldin

Duke Ellington Too

Arranged by Lee Norris

The Music of Billy Joel

Arranged by Sonny Kompanek

INTERMISSION

Strike Up the Band

Music by George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin

Arranged by John Whitney

Satchmo!

Arranged by Ted Ricketts

A Salute to Ray Charles

Arranged by Lee Norris

Sounds of Simon and Garfunkel

Music by Paul Simon

Arranged by Robert W. Lowden

A Tribute to the King

Arranged by Ted Ricketts

Featuring

Mark Baldin – Trumpet

Mark Baldin, Principal Trumpet with the Wheaton Symphony, holds the same position with the Rockford Symphony (since 1984), The Mendelssohn Club Chamber Orchestra, and the Rockford Wind Ensemble, among other groups. He also performs in other facets of music, such as big band and Dixieland jazz, brass quintets and brass bands in addition to being an active soloist. In 2009 he premiered a Concerto for Trumpet by Illinois composer Mark Lathan with the Rockford Symphony. In addition to performing, Mark also maintains a teaching studio of 30 to 40 students with ages from 9 to 72. He lives in DeKalb with his very tolerant and understanding wife Cathy, two frenetic Jack Russell Terriers, and a large and ever-growing record collection.

Program Notes

Overture to “Candide”

This operetta, based on Voltaire’s novella, with music composed by Leonard Bernstein, has seen a rather tumultuous existence in the nearly 60 years of its…

Nat King Cole

Nat King Cole ascended from unknown to one of the most popular and enduring recording artists in the world in a fairly organic fashion. Playing in…

A Trumpeter’s Lullaby

Best known for his lighter orchestral compositions, Leroy Anderson found great success and fame in the 1950s conducting recordings of his works. One of…

Duke Ellington

One of the most legendary jazz artists of all-time, Duke Ellington was a prolific composer, performer, and bandleader whose national fame helped popularize…

Billy Joel

One of the best-selling recording artists in the United States, “Piano Man” Billy Joel spent over twenty years writing and recording an eclectic array of music…

Strike Up the Band

Though the overture to this, the first fully-integrated score to a book musical, remains a well-known concert selection, the musical it precedes is far less…

Ray Charles

This legendary singer-songwriter was the son of a sharecropper and a mechanic, and developed an interest in music at an early age. Soon after, he…

Simon & Garfunkel

Childhood friends Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel first performed music together while in high school, leading to a single record that charted, but little else at…

Elvis Presley

What new can be written about the most successful and popular solo recording artist of all time? ‘The King’ earned his moniker through his energetic…

Disney Notes

Program Notes

Mary Poppins

Richard M. Sherman & Robert B. Sherman

This classic musical film, centering on the titular nanny who brings magic into the lives of a dysfunctional family, was a major box office hit in 1964. Mary Poppins also earned a great deal of acclaim, including thirteen Academy Award nominations (winning five), still the most nominations for any film in the Disney canon. Watch it live by getting Mary Poppins tickets cheap.

The Oscar-winning score by brothers Richard & Robert Sherman features numerous songs that remain audience favorites fifty years later. Among the highlights are “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” the nonsense word that began appearing in the Oxford English Dictionary in 1986, and the Oscar-winning “Chim Chim Cher-ee”.

The Little Mermaid

Alan Menken

In the 25 years since this film’s original release, it has cemented its status as a major turning point in the Disney animation legacy. After more than a decade of films that failed to achieve the combination of critical and financial success that fueled the studio’s ascendence, this returned Disney to its prior glory. In the process, it became the foundation for Disney’s modern renaissance.

The approach to the film’s structure is noticeably more ‘Broadway-esque’ than past Disney musicals, with a greater emphasis on show-stopping songs that serve as tentpoles for the film. The song score from Alan Menken and Howard Ashman (also a producer on the film), continued a collaboration that had begun Off-Broadway in the late 1970s, culminating in the classic “Little Shop of Horrors”. The music won Academy awards for Best Original Score and Best Original Song (for “Under the Sea”), the first Oscars won by a Disney animated feature since “Dumbo” in 1941.

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

Harry Gregson-Williams

The first in an ongoing adaptation of C.S. Lewis’ epic fantasy books, “Wardrobe” spent nearly a decade in various phases of development before getting the green light in the early 2000s and being released in 2005. The massive success of the first ‘Harry Potter’ film made producers and studio executives more comfortable about maintaining the British locations and 1940s timeframe, as opposed to proposals that modernized the story and set it in the United States. Further, CGI effects technology had developed to the point where characters like Aslan (the Christ-like talking lion who serves as guardian of Narnia) could be accomplished while maintaining believability.

Harry Gregson-Williams composed the music for the film, having previously worked with director Andrew Adamson on the first two ‘Shrek’ movies. The score, primarily orchestral and choral in nature, also features a number of instrumental colors associated with ancient folk music, as well as some electronic elements. Gregson-Williams took a heavily thematic approach to his scoring, earning him comparisons to Howard Shore’s work on “The Lord of the Rings”. The score received a somewhat positive critical reception but was not nominated for an Academy Award. It did receive two Golden Globe nominations, for Best Original Score and Best Original Song. Gregson-Williams returned for the first sequel, 2008’s “Prince Caspian”, and was succeeded by David Arnold for the next installment, 2010’s “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader”.

Beauty and the Beast

Alan Menken

This musical romantic fantasy was a milestone in the history of animated features. In addition to a strong, positive critical reception, and global box office grosses in excess of $400 million, the film became the first animated feature to receive an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture. Although it did not win (“The Silence of the Lambs” took home the Oscar), it remained the only animated film to receive a nomination until this category was expanded from five to ten films in 2010.

Alan Menken and Howard Ashman again collaborated on the song score for the film, which went on to win Oscars for Best Original Score and Best Original Song (“Beauty and the Beast”). Ashman’s health was quickly declining after being diagnosed with AIDS, and he ultimately wrote most of the lyrics from his deathbed. He died eight months before the film’s release, and it was dedicated in his memory.

“Beauty” was later adapted into a Broadway musical, the first Disney title to receive this treatment. Premiering in 1994, it overcame a tepid critical reception to run for thirteen years and nearly 5,461 performances. As of 2014, it is the eighth longest-running show in Broadway’s history.

The Lion King

Hans Zimmer

The heart of the Disney Renaissance can be found in this modern classic. Although the story carried influences of various biblical tales, as well as “Hamlet”, “The Lion King” was the first Disney animated feature not explicitly based on an existing work. Future “Producers” co-stars Matthew Broderick and Nathan Lane were among the top-flight voice cast that helped give life to the various animal characters. In the twenty years since its first release, the film has grossed nearly $1 billion at the box office, along with similarly large earnings from the many home video releases over the years.

The film’s music, which won Academy Awards for Best Original Score and Best Original Song (“Can You Feel The Love Tonight”), came from two sources. Hans Zimmer, who had already composed for films with African settings, brought elements of traditional African music and choral sounds to his compositions. Lyricist Tim Rice, who had been working on “Aladdin”, continued in that role, although his composing partner on the prior film, Alan Menken, was unavailable. Rice eventually partnered with Elton John, who sought to create top-flight pop songs that kids would love, but would also be enjoyed by adults. As the first and, to this day, only Diamond-certified (10 million units sold) animated soundtrack release, that mission was clearly accomplished.

The Prince of Egypt

Stephen Schwarz

Although not produced by Walt Disney Animation, this 1998 film features many of the elements and behind-the-scenes talent that had been involved in then-recent Disney productions. The debut feature from DreamWorks Animation, the musical component of the film featured a score by “Lion King” composer Hans Zimmer and songs by Stephen Schwartz (who was coming off of “Pocahontas” and “Hunchback”).

Continuing the connections, co-director Brenda Chapman had worked at Disney since the 1980s, becoming the company’s first female head of story with her work on “The Lion King”. Co-screenwriter Philip LaZebnik also wrote for “Pocahontas” and “Mulan”. And executive producer Jeffrey Katzenberg, a DreamWorks co-founder (the ‘K’ in the SKG seen on many of the studio’s logos) had served as chairman of Walt Disney Studios for ten years, helping guide the animation division back to success in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

The film was more dramatic than typical animated productions, the screenplay having been based on the the Book of Exodus. Theologians and Biblical scholars served as consultants to maintain accuracy in the film’s execution. The film proved to be a solid success, earning over $200 million in global box office, and a generally positive critical reception. Although Disney was hardly the only active theatrical animation studio at the time, “Prince” was the solid foundation of DreamWorks’ ongoing development. In the years since, the studio has continued to compete with, and occasionally surpass, Disney’s dominance of the market.

Pirates of the Caribbean

Hans Zimmer

Disney’s swashbuckling franchise was an unlikely blockbuster – prior to the release of the first film, “Curse of the Black Pearl”, the concept of an big-budget adventure movie based on a theme park ride was frequently derided – yet Johnny Depp’s ‘Captain Jack’ helped catapult the film to massive success in 2003. The sequels that followed have, unsurprisingly, struggled to maintain the creative magic of the initial film, but the box office response has remained strong, with global grosses consistently around $1 billion each.

This concert features highlights from the score for the third film, “At World’s End”. Hans Zimmer, who contributed most of the thematic elements to the first film’s score, credited to Klaus Badelt, took over primary scoring for the three sequels to date. Where the previous scores were criticized for being excessively simple and synthetic in nature, Zimmer’s work here is more complex. He integrated existing thematic elements with new ideas, all captured with a largely live orchestral and choral sound.

Tribute to Walt Disney

Tribute to Walt Disney

Concert Program

Disney Classics Overture

Arranged by Bruce Healey

Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah
You Can Fly, You Can Fly, You Can Fly
Chim Chim Cher-ee
Step In Time
Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious
Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo
The Work Song
A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes
Mickey Mouse March
It’s A Small World

The Little Mermaid Orchestral Suite

Music by Alan Menken

Arranged by Alan Menken, Robby Merkin, Thomas Pasatieri, & Ted Ricketts

The Chronicles of Narnia

Music by Harry Gregson-Williams & Steve Barton

Arranged by Stephen Bulla

Highlights from Beauty and the Beast

Music by Alan Menken

Arranged by Calvin Custer

Disney Medley

Arranged by Bill Holcombe

INTERMISSION

The Lion King Medley

Music by Hans Zimmer

Arranged by Brad Kelley

The Prince of Egypt

Music by Stephen Schwartz

Arranged by Charles Sayre

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End

Music by Hans Zimmer

Arranged by Paul Lavender & Robert Longfield

Tribute to Walt Disney

Arranged by Bill Holcombe

Featuring

Alexis Armstrong – Mezzo-Soprano

Alexis is very excited to be joining the Wheaton Symphony Orchestra this Summer. A trained actor/singer/dancer, she is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College and the British American Drama Academy. Alexis’ most recent local theatrical performances include the role of Bombularina in Cats (Highland Park Players), Anna in The King and I (Footlighters), Aldonza in The Man of La Mancha (GTG), and Charity in Sweet Charity (North Shore Theater). Other favorite roles include Jane in Jane Eyre, Rose in Aspects of Love, and Janet in The Drowsy Chaperone (Big Noise Theatre). Alexis also teaches musical theater classes for children and ballet at the Glencoe Park District. She dedicates this performance to her two lovely daughters who are huge fans of the magical Walt Disney.

Program Notes

Mary Poppins

This classic musical film, centering on the titular nanny who brings magic into the lives of a dysfunctional family, was a major box office hit in 1964. It also earned a great deal of acclaim, including thirteen Academy Award…

The Little Mermaid

In the 25 years since this film’s original release, it has cemented its status as a major turning point in the Disney animation legacy. After more than a decade of films that failed to achieve the combination of critical and financial success…

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe

The first in an ongoing adaptation of C.S. Lewis’ epic fantasy books, “Wardrobe” spent nearly a decade in various phases of development before getting the green light in the early 2000s and being released in 2005. The massive success of the…

Beauty and the Beast

This musical romantic fantasy was a milestone in the history of animated features. In addition to a strong, positive critical reception, and global box office grosses in excess of $400 million, the film became the first animated feature…

The Lion King

The heart of the Disney Renaissance can be found in this modern classic. Although the story carried influences of various biblical tales, as well as “Hamlet”, “The Lion King” was the first Disney animated feature not explicitly…

The Prince of Egypt

Although not produced by Walt Disney Animation, this 1998 film features many of the elements and behind-the-scenes talent that had been involved in then-recent Disney productions. The debut feature from DreamWorks Animation, the…

Pirates of the Caribbean

Disney’s swashbuckling franchise was an unlikely blockbuster – prior to the release of the first film, “Curse of the Black Pearl”, the concept of an big-budget adventure movie based on a theme park ride was frequently…

Broadway Notes

Program Notes

The Producers

Mel Brooks

Mel Brooks was persuaded by producer David Geffen to revisit his classic comedy film about a scheme to produce a guaranteed Broadway flop, and bring the concept to Broadway as a musical. Although there were some changes in characterization and other plot details, the stage version remained fairly faithful to the film. The main difference was in tone, with the musical remaining largely upbeat, in comparison to the dark comedy of the film.

The original Broadway production was a smash success, running for six years (2001-2007) and 2,500 performances. Co-stars Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick helped elevate the show to record single-day grosses that reached as high as $3.5 million. The show would also set a new bar at the Tony Awards, winning 12 awards. This broke a 37-year old record for most Tony wins that had been held by “Hello, Dolly!” (10 wins).

Fiddler on the Roof

Jerry Bock

Originally opening in 1964, “Fiddler” became the first Broadway musical to surpass 3,000 performances, eventually closing in 1972 with 3,242 performances. It held the record for longest running musical for nearly ten years, eventually surpassed by “Grease”. The original West End production was also successful, running for over 2,000 performances.

In addition to a Tony Award for Best Musical, the show won eight of the nine other awards it was nominated for, including Zero Mostel’s win as Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical. The show has remained popular ever since, receiving numerous Broadway and West End revivals.

The 1971 film version was also quite successful, and is notable for following the stage version’s plot and dialogue very closely. It went on to win three Academy Awards, including one for Best Song Score Adaptation. This was the first Oscar win for John Williams, who has since become one of the most popular and successful film composers of all time.

Miss Saigon

Claude-Michel Schönberg, Richard Maltby Jr. & Alain Boublil

This musical about a doomed romance between an American GI and Vietnamese bar girl is actually an adaptation of Puccini’s popular opera, “Madame Butterfly”. Claude-Michel Schönberg & Alain Boublil updated the concept, relocating the main setting from 1900s Japan to 1970s Vietnam.

Both major productions were massive successes. The original West End production ran for just over ten years (1989-1999) and 4,264 performances, later embarking on a tour of major British theatres for over two years. The Broadway version, which included key members from the West End production, also enjoyed a decade of success (1991-2001) and 4,092 performances.

Wicked

Stephen Schwartz

This extremely popular twist on L. Frank Baum’s novel “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”, and the classic film adaptation “The Wizard of Oz”, endeavored to present a look a good, evil, and the motivations that prompt actions previously thought to be understood by audiences. Stephen Schwartz led the effort to create the musical, based on the premise of the 1995 novel of the same name. After tweaks and rewrites following a tryout in San Francisco, the production premiered on Broadway in 2003.

With an original cast that included Idina Menzel, Kristin Chenoweth, and Joel Grey, the show proved to be a massive success with audiences, in spite of a divided critical response. The original production is still active, with over 4,400 performances to date. The show recently celebrated its tenth anniversary during the 2014 Tony Awards. The enduring popularity of this show has led to numerous other productions, including two concurrent American tours (both still active), a hit West End version, and foreign language adaptations across the globe.

The Phantom of the Opera

Andrew Lloyd Webber

Webber’s blockbuster musical debuted on Broadway in January, 1988, about 15 months after its West End premiere. Both productions are still running today, each amassing over 10,000 performances. All together, the various versions of “Phantom” have brought in over $5 billion. This easily makes it the highest grossing entertainment event of all time, outpacing top-grossing films such as “Gone With the Wind”, “Avatar”, and “Star Wars”.

Webber had been looking to write for a romantic story for some time, and he found his inspiration after revisiting the original novel of “Phantom”, which had been out of print for many years. Although his score largely stayed within the structures of a musical, he did include fragments of operatic passages for the ‘show within the show’.

Webber has been criticized for allegedly plagiarizing music in composing “Phantom”. This included a lawsuit by the heirs of Puccini (settled out of court). Also, the signature descending/ascending progression of the title tune is alleged to have come from a recurring bass guitar riff in the Pink Floyd song “Echoes”, from 1971. Former Pink Floyd bassist Roger Waters has declined to pursue legal action (citing that “Life’s too long to bother…”), but did refer to Webber in his 1992 song “It’s a Miracle”.

Jesus Christ Superstar

Andrew Lloyd Webber & Tim Rice

Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s rock opera approach to the traditional passion play began its life as a recorded album, released in 1970, featuring Deep Purple frontman Ian Gillan in the role of Jesus. Following the success of this album and a series of concert performances, the concept received a Broadway production in 1971, running for about 18 months and 711 performances. This production received a mixed response, including harsh criticism from Lloyd Webber.

The show elicited controversy, unsurprisingly, for content and depictions that were deemed blasphemous and sacrilegious in some circles. Tim Rice said at the time, “It happens that we don’t see Christ as God but simply the right man at the right time at the right place.” This, along with a characterization of Judas that was considered too sympathetic, contributed to the show being banned in several countries.

A West End production began in 1972, and this proved far more popular and successful than the Broadway version, running for eight years. This made it the longest-running West End musical at the time, a record that has since been surpassed by fourteen other productions. A film version was produced in 1973, directed by Norman Jewison in similar on-location fashion to his earlier production of “Fiddler on the Roof”. The film enjoyed modest success and positive reception and has remained popular in the decades since its release.

Sunset Boulevard

Andrew Lloyd Webber, Don Black & Christopher Hampton

Several attempts to create a musical based on the classic 1950 film have occurred over the years. Stephen Sondheim worked on his own version in the early 1960s. Sondheim encountered the film’s director, Billy Wilder, who believed that it would only work as a true opera. Sondheim immediately ceased his effort. Webber was first interested in the 1970s, after he first saw the film. He did no other work, however, until 1990. The show went through numerous revisions as it developed, but eventually was fairly well received by critics and audiences.

Aspects of Love

Andrew Lloyd Webber, Don Black & Charles Hart

This adaptation of a 1955 novella of the same name explored a variety of romantic entanglements, as well as the love shared between children and their parents, over a period of seventeen years (the ‘aspects’ of love). Lloyd Webber and Rice were initially asked to write songs for a planned film adaptation, but the film never came to fruition. Instead, after setting the material aside for several years, they expanded the work into a stage adaptation.

The initial West End production debuted in 1989, running for 1,325 performances. Former James Bond actor Roger Moore was set to star in the show, but pulled out two weeks before the premiere, later admitting an inability to handle the demands of the singing. A Broadway version arrived a year later, however this proved to be a failure, closing after just 377 performances. It lost its entire $8 million investment, earned nearly unanimous negative reviews, and became, at the time, “the greatest flop in Broadway history.”

Evita

Andrew Lloyd Webber & Tim Rice

Like “Jesus Christ Superstar”, this Lloyd Webber/Rice collaboration, chronicling the life of Argentinian politician Eva Perón, began its life as a rock opera album in 1976. Lloyd Webber composed in a variety of styles, including traditional European orchestrations, Latin rhythms, rock music, and ballads.

The success of this record led to the first West End production in 1978, which would run for nearly eight years and 3,176 performances. The original Broadway production opened in 1979, running for nearly four years and 1,567 performances. At the 1980 Tony Awards, it earned the distinction of becoming the first British musical to win for Best Musical. Many touring and localized versions followed, in addition to the popular 1996 film adaptation, starring Madonna and Antonio Banderas.

Broadway

Program Notes

The Producers

Mel Brooks was persuaded by producer David Geffen to revisit his classic comedy film about a scheme to produce a guaranteed Broadway flop, and bring the concept to Broadway as a musical. Although there were some changes in characterization…

Fiddler on the Roof

Originally opening in 1964, “Fiddler” became the first Broadway musical to surpass 3,000 performances, eventually closing in 1972 with 3,242 performances. It held the record for longest running musical for nearly ten years, eventually surpassed by…

Miss Saigon

This musical about a doomed romance between an American GI and Vietnamese bar girl is actually an adaptation of Puccini’s popular opera, “Madame Butterfly”. Claude-Michel Schönberg & Alain Boublil updated the concept, relocating the main…

Wicked

This extremely popular twist on L. Frank Baum’s novel “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”, and the classic film adaptation “The Wizard of Oz”, endeavored to present a look a good, evil, and the motivations that prompt actions previously thought to be…

Jesus Christ Superstar

Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s rock opera approach to the traditional passion play began its life as a recorded album, released in 1970, featuring Deep Purple frontman Ian Gillan in the role of Jesus. Following the success of this album and a…

Aspects of Love

This adaptation of a 1955 novella of the same name explored a variety of romantic entanglements, as well as the love shared between children and their parents, over a period of seventeen years (the ‘aspects’ of love). Lloyd Webber and Rice were…

Evita

Like “Jesus Christ Superstar”, this Lloyd Webber/Rice collaboration, chronicling the life of Argentinian politician Eva Perón, began its life as a rock opera album in 1976. Lloyd Webber composed in a variety of styles, including traditional European…

Featuring
Christine Pfenninger – Soprano

Christine Pfenninger is delighted to be joining the Wheaton Symphony for a sixth season. She has been seen throughout Chicagoland, from Cicero, to Glencoe, to Woodstock, to Batavia in numberous stage productions. Favorite roles include Sister Amnesia in “Nunsense”, Florence in “Chess”, Amalia in “She Loves Me”, Eva Peron in “Evita”, Marian in “The Music Man”, Reno Sweeney in “Anything Goes”, and most recently Christmas Eve in the regional premiere of “Avenue Q”.

A comedienne at heart, she is also fond of Broadway impersonations and tackled Ethel Merman, Carol Channing, Liza Minelli, Chita Rivera, and Marissa Jaret Winokur in Steel Beam Theatre’s productuion of “Forbidden Broadway”. She met her husband David in a production of “Pump Boys & Dinettes” in St. Charles over ten years ago and he remains her favorite leading man.

She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Theatre from Roosevelt University and is a proud mom to Amalia Elizabeth. As always, she is truly blessed to make music with the Wheaton Symphony and share such wonderful, classic tunes with their generous audiences.

Concert Program

Salute to Broadway

Arranged by Carl Strommen

Give My Regards to Broadway
Ain’t Misbehavin’
My Funny Valentine
I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face
Thou Swell

The Producers

Music by Mel Brooks

Arranged by Ted Ricketts

Symphonic Dances from Fiddler on the Roof

Music by Jerry Bock

Arranged by Ira Hearshen

Miss Saigon

Music by Claude-Michel Schönberg

Lyrics by Richard Maltby Jr. & Alain Boublil

Arranged by Calvin Custer

Highlights from Wicked

Music and Lyrics by Stephen Schwartz

Arranged by Ted Ricketts

INTERMISSION

Phantom of the Opera

Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber

Arranged by Calvin Custer

Jesus Christ Superstar

Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber

Lyrics by Tim Rice

Arranged by Henry Mancini

Sunset Boulevard

Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber

Lyrics by Don Black & Christopher Hampton

Aspects of Love

Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber

Lyrics by Don Black & Charles Hart

Evita

Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber

Lyrics by Tim Rice