Little Rock Look Back: President Clinton performs with Arkansas Symphony

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton addresses the audience after reciting Martin Luther King’s famous speech, ‘I Have A Dream’, to the music of Alexander L. Miller at Robinson Auditorium March 25, 2003 in Little Rock. (Photo by Karen E. Segrave/Getty Images)

On March 25, 2003, former President Bill Clinton took the stage of Robinson Center Music Hall to perform with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra. Entitled “Let Freedom Ring – A Patriotic Celebration,” the evening was a joint fundraiser for the Symphony and the Clinton Foundation.

Before a packed house, Clinton narrated Aaron Copland’s A Lincoln Portrait which weaves excerpts from Lincoln speeches with Copland’s own unique classical take on American heartland music.  Clinton also narrated Let Freedom Ring, a symphonic setting by Alexander Miller of Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech.

The evening also consisted of Broadway veteran and Little Rock favorite Lawrence Hamilton singing “Wheels of a Dream” from the musical Ragtime.  On Broadway and on national tour, Hamilton had previously sung the song.

The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra also performed An American in Paris by George Gershwin and “Jupiter” from The Planets by Gustav Holst.  This final selection was a tribute to the seven astronauts who had died in the crash of the space shuttle Columbia on February 1, 2003.

David Itkin, who was then the musical director of the ASO, conducted the concert.

69th Tony Awards wrap up (published on 6/9)

Tony Tony TonyThe 69th Tony Awards have been distributed. The medallions have been spun. Producers are already starting to think about their shows for the 70th ceremony in June 2016. And actors are auditioning for the next jobs.

While Little Rock’s Will Trice did not personally pick up another Tony this year, two of the Tony winners were for shows he produced.  Annaleigh Ashford won the Tony for Featured Actress in a Play for her performance in You Can’t Take It with You.  Christopher Oram won the Tony for Costume Design of a Play for Wolf Hall, Part One and Two.  Catherine Zuber, who won a Tony for her costume design of The King and I will be working with Trice next season on a production of Fiddler on the Roof.

One of the Tony Awards went to Bob Crowley and 59 Productions for Scenic Design of a Musical for An American in Paris.  Ben Pearcy is the American representative of 59 Productions.  Ben’s father grew up in Little Rock, and his grandmother Janet Pearcy was a longtime supporter of Wildwood, the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra and the Arkansas Rep.   One of Ben’s first Broadway projects was on the lighting design team of the Broadway revival of Chicago which earned him a mention from Ken Billington in his Tony acceptance speech.

Time will tell, but undoubtedly some of the titles nominated for Tonys will eventually be performed in Little Rock either at the Rep, on tour courtesy of Celebrity Attractions, or as part of one of the seasons of one of the volunteer theatre seasons. This month, on stage in Little Rock are 2008 Tony winning Best Play August: Osage County at the Rep, 2009 Tony nominee 9 to 5 at Community Theatre of Little Rock and 2010 Tony nominee The Addams Family.

A couple of more Little Rock connections to Sunday’s ceremony.  Nick Jonas, who appeared at the Clinton Center 10th anniversary concert, was one of the presenters at the ceremony. Darren Criss, who attended the Clinton Center 10th anniversary events, hosted a red-carpet preview program.

I went 19 for 24 in my predictions.

The ones I got right:

Play The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Simon Stephens

Revival of a PlaySkylight

Revival of a Musical – The King and I

Actor, PlayAlex Sharp, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Actress, Play – Helen Mirren, The Audience

Actor, MusicalMichael Cerveris, Fun Home

Featured Actress, Play – Annaleigh Ashford, You Can’t Take It with You

Direction, PlayMarianne Elliott, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Direction, MusicalSam Gold, Fun Home

ChoreographyChristopher Wheeldon, An American in Paris

Book of a MusicalLisa Kron, Fun Home

Original ScoreJeanine Tesori & Lisa Kron, Fun Home

OrchestrationsChristopher Austin, Don Sebesky, Bill Elliott, An American in Paris

Scenic Design, PlayBunny Christie & Finn Ross, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Scenic Design, MusicalBob Crowley & 59 Productions, An American in Paris

Costume Design, PlayChristopher Oram, Wolf Hall Parts One & Two

Costume Design, MusicalCatherine Zuber, The King and I

Lighting Design, PlayPaule Constable, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Lighting Design, MusicalNatasha Katz, An American in Paris

 

I missed:

Musical – Fun Home (I picked An American in Paris)

Actress, Musical – Kelli O’Hara, The King and I (I picked Kristen Chenoweth, On the Twentieth Century)

Featured Actor, Play – Richard McCabe, The Audience (I picked Nathaniel Parker, Wolf Hall, Parts One and Two)

Featured Actor, Musical – Christian Borle, Something Rotten! (I picked Andy Karl, On the Twentieth Century)

Featured Actress, Musical – Ruthie Ann Miles, The King and I (I picked Judy Kuhn, Fun Home)

 

69th Tony Awards Tonight!

Tony Tony TonyThe 69th Antoinette Perry “Tony” Awards are tonight. The telecast starts at 7pm central on CBS.

Here are my predictions for winners (in bold) and my favorites (with an asterisk).

Play

  • *The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Simon Stephens
  • Disgraced, Ayad Akhtar
  • Hand to God, Robert Askins
  • Wolf Hall Parts One & Two, Hilary Mantel and Mike Poulton

 

Musical

  • *An American in Paris
  • Fun Home
  • Something Rotten!
  • The Visit

 

Revival of a Play

  • The Elephant Man
  • Skylight
  • This Is Our Youth
  • *You Can’t Take It with You

 

Revival of a Musical

  • The King and I
  • *On the Town
  • On the Twentieth Century

 

Actor, Play

  • Steven Boyer, Hand to God
  • Bradley Cooper, The Elephant Man
  • Ben Miles, Wolf Hall Parts One & Two
  • Bill Nighy, Skylight
  • *Alex Sharp, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

 

Actress, Play

  • Geneva Carr, Hand to God
  • *Helen Mirren, The Audience
  • Elisabeth Moss, The Heidi Chronicles
  • Carey Mulligan, Skylight
  • Ruth Wilson, Constellations

 

Actor, Musical

  • Michael Cerveris, Fun Home
  • *Robert Fairchild, An American in Paris
  • Brian d’Arcy James, Something Rotten!
  • Ken Watanabe, The King and I
  • Tony Yazbeck, On the Town

 

Actress, Musical

  • Kristin Chenoweth, On the Twentieth Century
  • Leanne Cope, An American in Paris
  • Beth Malone, Fun Home
  • *Kelli O’Hara, The King and I
  • Chita Rivera, The Visit

 

Featured Actor, Play

  • Matthew Beard, Skylight 
  • K. Todd Freeman, Airline Highway
  • Richard McCabe, The Audience
  • Alessandro Nivola, The Elephant Man
  • Nathaniel Parker, Wolf Hall Parts One & Two
  • *Micah Stock, It’s Only a Play

 

Featured Actress, Play

  • *Annaleigh Ashford, You Can’t Take It with You
  • Patricia Clarkson, The Elephant Man
  • Lydia Leonard, Wolf Hall Parts One & Two
  • Sarah Stiles, Hand to God
  • Julie White, Airline Highway

 

Featured Actor, Musical

  • Christian Borle, Something Rotten!
  • Andy Karl, On the Twentieth Century
  • Brad Oscar, Something Rotten!
  • Brandon Uranowitz, An American in Paris
  • *Max von Essen, An American in Paris

 

Featured Actress, Musical

  • Victoria Clark, Gigi
  • *Judy Kuhn, Fun Home
  • Sydney Lucas, Fun Home
  • Ruthie Ann Miles, The King and I
  • Emily Skeggs, Fun Home

 

Direction, Play

  • Stephen Daldry, Skylight
  • *Marianne Elliott, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
  • Scott Ellis, You Can’t Take It with You
  • Jeremy Herrin, Wolf Hall Parts One & Two
  • Moritz von Stuelpnagel, Hand to God

 

Direction, Musical

  • Sam Gold, Fun Home
  • Casey Nicholaw, Something Rotten!
  • John Rando, On the Town
  • Bartlett Sher, The King and I
  • *Christopher Wheeldon, An American in Paris

 

Choreography

  • Joshua Bergasse, On the Town
  • Christopher Gattelli, The King and I
  • Scott Graham & Steven Hoggett for Frantic Assembly, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
  • Casey Nicholaw, Something Rotten!
  • *Christopher Wheeldon, An American in Paris

 

Book of a Musical

  • Karey Kirkpatrick & John O’Farrell, Something Rotten!
  • *Lisa Kron, Fun Home
  • Craig Lucas, An American in Paris
  • Terrence McNally, The Visit

Original Score

  • John Kander & Fred Ebb, The Visit
  • Wayne Kirkpatrick & Karey Kirkpatrick, Something Rotten!
  • Sting, The Last Ship
  • *Jeanine Tesori & Lisa Kron, Fun Home

 

Orchestrations

  • *Christopher Austin, Don Sebesky, Bill Elliott, An American in Paris
  • John Clancy, Fun Home
  • Larry Hochman, Something Rotten!
  • Rob Mathes, The Last Ship

 

Scenic Design, Play

  • *Bunny Christie & Finn Ross, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
  • Bob Crowley, Skylight
  • Christopher Oram, Wolf Hall Parts One & Two
  • David Rockwell, You Can’t Take It with You

 

Scenic Design, Musical

  • *Bob Crowley & 59 Productions, An American in Paris
  • David Rockwell, On the Twentieth Century
  • Michael Yeargan, The King and I
  • David Zinn, Fun Home

 

Costume Design, Play

  • Bob Crowley, The Audience
  • *Jane Greenwood, You Can’t Take It with You
  • Christopher Oram, Wolf Hall Parts One & Two
  • David Zinn, Airline Highway

 

Costume Design, Musical

  • *Gregg Barnes, Something Rotten!
  • Bob Crowley, An American in Paris
  • William Ivey Long, On the Twentieth Century
  • Catherine Zuber, The King and I

 

Lighting Design, Play

  • Paule Constable, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
  • Paule Constable and David Plater, Wolf Hall Parts One & Two
  • Natasha Katz, Skylight
  • *Japhy Weideman, Airline Highway

 

Lighting Design, Musical

  • Donald Holder, The King and I
  • *Natasha Katz, An American in Paris
  • Ben Stanton, Fun Home
  • Japhy Weideman, The Visit

Little Rock Look Back: President Clinton performs with Arkansas Symphony

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton addresses the audience after reciting Martin Luther King's famous speech, 'I Have A Dream', to the music of Alexander L. Miller at Robinson Auditorium March 25, 2003 in Little Rock, Arkansas. Clinton was the honored guest for a performance by the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra to benefit the William Jefferson Clinton Presidential Foundation. (Photo by Karen E. Segrave/Getty Images)

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton addresses the audience after reciting Martin Luther King’s famous speech, ‘I Have A Dream’, to the music of Alexander L. Miller at Robinson Auditorium March 25, 2003 in Little Rock, Arkansas. Clinton was the honored guest for a performance by the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra to benefit the William Jefferson Clinton Presidential Foundation. (Photo by Karen E. Segrave/Getty Images)

On March 25, 2003, former President Bill Clinton took the stage of Robinson Center Music Hall to perform with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra. Entitled “Let Freedom Ring – A Patriotic Celebration,” the evening was a joint fundraiser for the Symphony and the Clinton Foundation.

Before a packed house of over 1700, Clinton narrated Aaron Copland’s A Lincoln Portrait which weaves excerpts from Lincoln speeches with Copland’s own unique classical take on American heartland music.  Clinton also narrated Let Freedom Ring, a symphonic setting by Alexander Miller of Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech.

The evening also consisted of Broadway veteran and Little Rock favorite Lawrence Hamilton singing “Wheels of a Dream” from the musical Ragtime.  On Broadway and on national tour, Hamilton had previously sung the song.  The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra also performed An American in Paris by George Gershwin and “Jupiter” from The Planets by Gustav Holst.  This final selection was a tribute to the seven astronauts who had died in the crash of the space shuttle Columbia on February 1, 2003.

David Itkin, who was then the musical director of the ASO, conducted the concert.