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Press Release


Jean Oelrich
Director of Communications
(714) 876-2380

Pacific Symphony Announces Actors for Peter Boyer’s ‘Ellis Island’ April 7-8; Concert Being Filmed ror Later Broadcast on PBS Series, ‘Great Performances’

Orange County, Calif. — March 29, 2017

Pacific Symphony announces a seven-star cast of film-and-television actors to join the orchestra and Music Director Carl St.Clair for two performances of Peter Boyer’s “Ellis Island: The Dream of America” during the April 7-8 concerts being filmed for PBS’ acclaimed series, “Great Performances.” This first-ever national broadcast from the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall showcases Boyer’s Grammy-nominated masterpiece celebrating America’s immigrant heritage, an ambitious blending of narration, projected historical images and orchestral writing. Boyer’s dramatic and evocative music frames seven stories of real people who came to America through Ellis Island between the years 1910 to 1940, which were collected by the Ellis Island Oral History Project. Actors reading these stirring accounts are as follows:


  • Barry Bostwick (reading the words of Emanuel “Manny” Steen, emigrated from Ireland, 1925) has had a wide-ranging career, from his portrayal of the quintessential all-American Brad Majors in “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” to the hilarious Mayor Randall Winston on ABC’s “Spin City.” Bostwick received his first Tony nomination for the role of Danny Zuko in “Grease,” and his second for the role of Joey in “They Knew What They Wanted.” He won the Tony Award for “The Robber Bridegroom,” a role he originally created at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles. Bostwick was also featured on the 2005 NAXOS recording of “Ellis Island: The Dream of America.”
  • Michael Nouri (reading the words of James Apanomith, emigrated from Greece, 1911), who has enjoyed a long career spanning film, television and theater. His film work includes “Flashdance,” “The Proposal,” “Invincible” “The Terminal,” “Last Holiday,” starring Queen Latifah, “Finding Forrester,” starring opposite Sean Connery, among many others. In television, Nouri will next be seen in Discover Channel’s new miniseries “Manifesto.” He has recently appeared guest starring in “Blue Bloods,” “Chicago PD” and “Heartbeat.”
  • Camryn Manheim (reading the words of Katherine Beychok, emigrated from Russia, 1910) just made her Broadway debut in the Tony-nominated “Spring Awakening.” She spent eight years playing defense attorney Ellenor Frutt on ABC’s Emmy Award-winning drama, “The Practice,” for which she won an Emmy Award and a Golden Globe Award. Manheim was nominated once again for an Emmy and Golden Globe for her portrayal of “Gladys Presley” in the CBS miniseries Elvis.
  • Lesley Fera (reading the words of Helen Lansman Cohen, emigrated from Poland, 1920) is best known for her role as Veronica Hastings on the ABC Family series “Pretty Little Liars.” She has also had recurring roles in “24,” “CSI: Miami” and “Southland,” as well as performing in a number of theater productions.
  • Samantha Sloyan (reading the words of Lillian Galletta, emigrated from Italy, 1928) is best known for her roles in “In the Key of Eli” and “Scandal.” Sloyan was also seen playing Sarah in the 2016 film “Hush” as well as Dr. Penelope Blake in the medical drama “Grey’s Anatomy” in Season 11 and 12.
  • Lucas Near-Verbrugghe (reading the words of Lazarus Salamon, emigrated from Hungary, 1920) is known for his roles in “Our Idiot Brother” starring Paul Rudd and Zoey Deschanel, “Lazy Eye” and “A Birder’s Guide to Everything.”
  • Kira Sternbach (reading the words of Helen Rosenthal, emigrated from Belgium, 1940) is known for her roles in “Neighbors” “My Normal” and “Lately There Have Been Many Misunderstandings in the Zimmerman Home.”

The producer of “Ellis Island” on “Great Performances” is John Walker, who has received 14 Emmy nominations and two Emmy wins for his distinguished body of work. The director is Matthew Diamond, whose directing credits range from "The Metropolitan Opera HD Live" to "The Wiz Live." David Horn is the executive producer and Bill O’Donnell is the series producer for “Great Performances.” The national broadcast premiere of “Ellis Island” will occur during the 2017-18 season, with subsequent broadcasts planned over the next three years.

Also the Symphony’s 2017 American Composers Festival, the April 6-8 concerts open with works by two of today’s top contemporary California composers, John Adams and Frank Ticheli. In celebration of Adams’ 70th birthday, the orchestra performs the composer’s “The Dharma at Big Sur,” featuring preeminent electric violinist, Tracy Silverman. The program opens with Ticheli’s jazz-infused “Blue Shades.” A 3 p.m. matinee of only “Ellis Island: The Dream of America” takes place on Sunday, April 9. The April 6 and April 9 performances of “Ellis Island” will have a different cast than announced above. Tickets are $25-$125. For more information or to purchase tickets, call (714) 755-5799 or visit

The National Endowment for the Arts generously supports the 2017 American Composers Festival. The concert sponsor for all performances is Ellis Island Medal of Honor recipient Charles Zhang and Ling Zhang. The corporate sponsor for the Saturday evening performance is Bank of America. Pacific Symphony’s Classical Series is made possible by the Hal and Jeanette Segerstrom Family Foundation, and receives additional support from The Westin South Coast Plaza, KUSC and PBS SoCal.