Tony and Grammy-nominated Singing Sensation Michael Cavanaugh Brings the Music of Elton John to the Arboretum

Published : Tuesday, August 6, 2019 | 11:25 AM

Michael Cavanaugh (l) and Larry Blank (r). Photo courtesy Pasadena Symphony & Pops

The Pasadena POPS continue their one-of-a-kind, popular outdoor summer concert series with The Music of Elton John Starring Michael Cavanaugh on Saturday, August 24 at the LA County Arboretum. Hand-picked by Billy Joel himself, Cavanaugh got his start as the lead role in the Broadway musical Movin’ Out, which earned him both Grammy and Tony Award nominations. Acclaimed for his highly energized piano and lead vocals, Cavanaugh has expanded his repertoire to include an electrifying tribute to Sir Elton John, which he brings to the Arboretum stage for one night only with the Pasadena POPS.

Hear your favorite “Rocket Man” hits with “Crocodile Rock,” “Tiny Dancer,” “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,” “Bennie and the Jets,” “Candle in the Wind” and many more. For this exclusive Southern California engagement, Cavanaugh will breathe new life into these rock ‘n roll classics for a night of sing-along favorites with the POPS Orchestra and a full back-up band. “[Cavanaugh] has reinvented these songs into something that dare I say sometimes improves upon the originals.” (MD Theatre Guide).

This is not Cavanaugh’s first rodeo with the POPS, having performed The Music of Billy Joel in 2016 to a nearly sold-out audience. “Michael’s show is hands down the best contemporary symphony pops show we have had the honor to present,” commented Chief Executive Officer Lora Unger. “The combination of popular songs, his talent as a superb showman and the excellent charts make this a must-have for both the orchestra and the audience.”

All concerts are held at the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden. Grounds open for picnicking and dining at 5:30pm and performances begin at 7:30pm. Don’t miss the best outdoor dinner party in town with spacious circular table seating with fine linens, or lawn seating for those who want to bring a blanket – each option carries on the tradition of picnic-dining with your family and friends with Michael Feinstein and Pasadena’s premier orchestra. Among many venue amenities, concert goers can enjoy pre-ordered gourmet dining packages for on-site pickup just steps from their table from Julienne, Marston’s and Claud & Co. The venue also hosts mouth-watering food trucks and the convenience of two full beverage centers serving fine wines, beer, coffee and soft drinks.

Audiences get the ultimate outdoor concert experience with large LED video screens to see the artists and orchestra up close, superior sound and the high-quality production value that is a signature of the Pasadena POPS. For those who want to make a night of it, exclusive hotel packages are available for POPS patrons at Pasadena’s landmark Hotel Constance.

The Arboretum is located at 301 North Baldwin Ave., Arcadia, CA. Subscribers may purchase pre-paid onsite parking at the Arboretum, and all concertgoers can purchase guaranteed and convenient parking at Santa Anita Park, located just across Baldwin Ave., with complimentary non-stop shuttle service to the Arboretum’s main entrance.

Single tickets start at $25 and are available by calling the box office at (626)-793-7172, online at PasadenaSymphony-Pops.org or at the Arboretum on the day of the concerts.

About the Pasadena Symphony Association

Recent Acclaim for the Pasadena Symphony and POPS:
“The Pasadena Symphony signals a new direction…teeming with vitality…dripping with opulent, sexy emotion.” – Los Angeles Times.

“In his five years leading the PSO, Lockington has taken an ensemble that was already quite good and elevated it into one where excellence is the byword.” – Pasadena Star News.
Formed in 1928, the Pasadena Symphony and POPS is an ensemble of Hollywood’s most talented, sought after musicians. With extensive credits in the film, television, recording and orchestral industry, the artists of Pasadena Symphony and POPS are the most heard in the world.

The Pasadena Symphony and POPS performs in two of the most extraordinary venues in the United States: Ambassador Auditorium, known as the Carnegie Hall of the West, and the luxuriant Los Angeles Arboretum & Botanic Garden. Internationally recognized, Grammy-nominated conductor, David Lockington, serves as the Pasadena Symphony Association’s Music Director, with performance-practice specialist Nicholas McGegan serving as Principal Guest Conductor. The multi-platinum-selling, two-time Emmy and five-time Grammy Award-nominated entertainer dubbed “The Ambassador of the Great American Songbook,” Michael Feinstein, is the Principal Pops Conductor, who succeeded Marvin Hamlisch in the newly created Marvin Hamlisch Chair.

A hallmark of its robust education programs, the Pasadena Symphony Association has served the youth of the region for over five decades through the Pasadena Youth Symphony Orchestras (PYSO), comprised of five performing ensembles with 300 gifted 4th-12th grade students from more than 50 schools all over the Southern California region. The PYSO has toured internationally at prestigious venues in New York, Vienna, and most recently San Jose, Costa Rica. They regularly perform throughout Southern California and have appeared on the popular television show GLEE.

The PSA provides people from all walks of life with powerful access points to the world of symphonic music.

About the Artists

Michael Cavanaugh
Soloist

Michael Cavanaugh is the new voice of the American Rock & Roll Songbook and a charismatic performer and musician made famous for his piano/lead vocals in the Broadway musical Movin’ Out. Handpicked by Billy Joel to star in Movin’ Out, Cavanaugh evokes a style rivaling the Piano Man. He appeared in the show for 3 years with over 1,200 performances, and received multiple accolades. The show culminated in 2003 with both Grammy and Tony award nominations.

Michael began playing at age 7, when his parents bought their first piano. Encouraged by family and friends, and inspired by his hero Billy Joel, Michael formed his first band at age 10 and began playing local functions, fine-tuning the craft that would become his chosen career. His first full time gig as a musician was an extended engagement in Orlando, Florida at a piano bar called Blazing Pianos. In January of 1999, Michael received an offer that would unknowingly change his life: an opportunity to play Las Vegas at the famed New York, New York Hotel and Casino. It was there that Billy Joel spotted Michael and joined him on stage one fateful night of February 2001. It only took 2 songs before Billy was convinced that he had found his new Piano Man: Michael Cavanaugh. Michael closed up shop at New York, New York and moved to New York City to work alongside Billy Joel and Twyla Tharp, to shape the Broadway Musical that would be called Movin’ Out. In the lead role, he received both Tony and Grammy nominations.

With the close of Movin’ Out at the end of 2005, Michael began touring in his own right, creating a show that reinterprets the modern pop/rock songbook. Michael soon became one of the hottest artist’s in the private events market and he continues to perform worldwide for company and charity events as well as sporting events including countless PGA tour events, the SuperBowl, and the Indy 500. His interpretation of the modern rock/pop songbook led to Billboard calling him “The New Voice of the American Rock and Roll Songbook” and he was recognized by Reuters as Entertainer of the Year for the private events market.

It wasn’t long before Symphony Orchestras discovered Michael’s talents and audience appeal. He accepted his first orchestral booking, “Michael Cavanaugh – The Songs of Billy Joel and More” which debuted in April 2008 with the Indianapolis Symphony and continues to tour today. In October 2008, he signed with Warner/ADA to distribute his first CD, In Color. In June 2010, Michael debuted his second symphony show in the Generations of Rock series entitled “Michael Cavanaugh: The Songs of Elton John and More” and then debuted his third symphony show “Singers and Songwriters: the Music of Paul Simon, Neil Diamond and James Taylor,” in 2012. In 2015, He debuted his fourth symphony show: Rockin’ Christmas with the Pops. He continues to tour all four symphony productions along with performing with his band in Performing Arts Centers and other public venues.

“The Way I Hear It” , his second commercial album, was released in April 2017 and it debuted at #17 on the Billboard Heatseakers chart.

Larry Blank
Conductor

Resident Pops Conductor, Larry Blank is one of the most prolific and sought after composers, conductors, and orchestrators in the entertainment business today. His work has been presented all over the world, including some of Broadway’s most successful musicals, Carnegie Hall, and top television and film projects.

He was the Music Director/Conductor and/or vocal arranger for many shows on Broadway and in Los Angeles including They’re Playing Our Song, Evita, Sugar Babies, La Cage Aux Folles, Phantom Of The Opera, Onward Victoria, Copperfield, Colette, A Chorus Line and A Little Night Music. He has been nominated three times for both the Tony Award and the Drama Desk Award for his orchestrations in The Drowsy Chaperone, Irving Berlin’s White Christmas and with Marc Shaiman for Catch Me If You Can. Larry received a Drama Desk Nomination for orchestrations for A Christmas Story

Larry contributed to the orchestrations for both the stage and film production of The Producers, the film Chicago andis a regular conductor and arranger for BBC RADIO 2 Friday Night Is Music Night in the UK. Larry is also the Music Supervisor and Orchestrator (along with Mark Cumberland) for the Olivier Awards in London.

Blank has worked with top talent from varied fields of the entertainment world, notably as personal conductor to Michael Crawford. He has also worked with Michael Feinstein, Marvin Hamlisch, Bernadette Peters, Kelsey Grammar, Christine Baranski, Roberta Flack, Pete Fountain, Peabo Bryson, Sally Kellerman, Nancy Dussault, Marc Shaiman, Jerry Herman, Ann- Margaret, Davis Gaines, Bette Midler, George Benson, Placido Domingo, Randy Newman, Trisha Yearwood, Tom Scott, Quincy Jones, Michael Bolton, John Raitt and Diana Rigg.

Blank’s background includes orchestrating and arranging songs for South Park and was Music Supervisor and Orchestrator for Jerry Herman’s movie, Mrs. Santa Claus starring Angela Lansbury and Charles Durning. Some of the films he lent his talent to include The Kid, Kiss The Girls, The American President, Forget Paris, City Slickers II, The Net, That¹s Entertainment III, North, I¹d Do Anything, and Stuart Saves His Family. Blank’s music can be heard on the animated feature films, Cats Don’t Dance and All Dogs Go To Heaven as well as the 101 Dalmations Christmas Special.

Mr. Blank’s television work includes orchestrating and composing music for several of the Grammy Awards and Academy Award shows as well as numerous television movies and shows.

Mr. Blank has guest conducted most of the orchestras throughout the world, including The San Francisco Symphony, The New York Philharmonic, Western Australia Symphony Orchestra, The Los Angeles Philharmonic, Palm Beach Pops, Auckland Symphony, The National Symphony Orchestra, The Boston Pops, The Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Calgary Symphony, New Orleans Symphony and Toronto.

Subscriptions and single tickets are on sale now and you can purchase them three ways: through the box office by calling 626-793-7172;  at the Arboretum the day of the concerts; or purchasing tickets online at https://pasadenasymphony-pops.org/concerts/sierra-summer-concert-series-2019/

 

 

 

 

 

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