An Evening with Stephen Sondheim & Andrew Lloyd Webber
Richard Kaufman, conductor
Debbie Gravitte, Scarlett Strallen and Hugh Panaro, vocalists
An opening night celebrating two Broadway legends! “Jesus Christ Superstar,” “Evita,” “Phantom of the Opera,” “Cats,” “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” “Gypsy” and much more!
One of Broadway's biggest personalities, Debbie Gravitte has found herself in demand from the Broadway Stage to the concert stage and beyond. She won the prestigious Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for her performance in Jerome Robbins’ Broadway, along with a Drama Desk Award Nomination and New York Showstopper Award. After making her Broadway debut in the original cast of They’re Playing Our Song, she went on to appear in: Perfectly Frank (Drama Desk Nomination), Blues In The Night, Ain’t Broadway Grand, Zorba, Chicago and Les Miserables. Gravitte has appeared in the Encore’s series productions of The Boys From Syracuse, Tenderloin, and Carnival at New York’s City Center.
Gravitte has performed her nightclub act worldwide, from New York’s Rainbow and Stars, 54 Below, to London’s Pizza on the Park, and back home again to Atlantic City, where she’s had the honor of performing with Jay Leno, Harry Anderson and the legendary George Burns. A favorite with symphony audiences, she has sung with over 100 Orchestras around the world. She has toured with Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops, appeared with Lang Lang and the Chinese Philharmonic in Beijing, along with Peter Nero and the Philly Pops, National Symphony (with Marvin Hamlisch), The New York Pops with the legendary Skitch Henderson, Atlanta Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony, Utah Symphony and Opera, St. Louis Symphony, Houston Symphony, Dallas Symphony and San Diego Symphony.
Overseas, Gravitte has sung with the London, Aalborg, and Birmingham Symphony Orchestras, Stockholm Philharmonic, the Gotesborg and Jerusalem Symphonies, Munich Philharmonic, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Orchestra Massimo del Palermo and Symphonica of Brazil. On television, Gravitte co-starred on the CBS series Trial and Error, was seen on NBC’s Pursuit of Happiness, and has starred in several specials for PBS, including Live from the Kennedy Center, The Boston Pops Celebrate Bernstein, Rodgers and Hart for Great Performances, and Ira Gershwin’s 100th Birthday Celebration.
Gravitte has 3 solo CD’s to her credit: Defying Gravity, The MGM Album and Part of Your World: The Music of Alan Menken. Her other recordings include: Calamity Jane, Unsung Sondheim, Lucky Stiff, Miss Spectacular, Louisiana Purchase, A Broadway Christmas as well as Mack and Mabel in Concert: live from the Drury Lane Theatre, among others. She is currently working on her latest project: Big Band Broadway. Gravitte has sung with the New York City Ballet in Peter Martin’s Thou Swell at Lincoln Center, appeared with Bette Midler in the Universal Feature, Isn’t She Great?, and can be heard as one of the voices in Disney’s The Little Mermaid. Gravitte is the proud mother of three beautiful children.
Scarlett Strallen has starred in productions on Broadway, London’s West End, and is a frequent soloist on the concert stage. She is currently starring on Broadway as Gwendolyn in Travesties and has appeared in the title role of Mary Poppins, a role she also played in the West End and as Sibella Hallward in A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder.
Additional theater credits include Mabel in Pirates of Penzance at Barrington Stage Company, Lady Macduff in Macbeth at the Armory in New York, Cunegonde in Candide at the Menier Chocolate Factory, Cassie in A Chorus Line at The London Palladium, Kathy Selden in Singin’ in the Rain at Chichester Festival Theatre and The Palace Theatre London (Olivier Award Nomination for Best Actress in a Musical), Amalia in She Loves Me at the Chocolate Factory, and Clara in Passion at Donmar Warehouse. Prior to this she played Marian in The Music Man at Chichester Festival Theatre and at the Royal Shakespeare Company playing Anne Page in Merry Wives of Windsor. Her performance of Josephine at Regents Park Open Air Theatre in HMS Pinafore won her an Olivier nomination. Other productions at Regents Park include Cymbeline and Twelfth Night, Truly Scrumptious in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (London Palladium), and original casts of Mamma Mia! (Prince Edward), The Witches of Eastwick (Theatre Royal, Drury Lane) and Peggy Sue Got Married (Shaftesbury). In 2014, Scarlett received the ‘Whatsonstage’ awards for best actress in a musical for A Chorus Line at the London Palladium and Candide at the Menier.
A frequent soloist with orchestras around the world, Scarlett made her German debut at the Philharmonie in Berlin with the John Wilson Orchestra in “A Celebration of the MGM Film Musicals”. Recent concerts include “Disney on Broadway” at the Royal Albert Hall, “I Love Musicals” arena tour of Sweden with Peter Joback, “Cole Porter in Hollywood” UK tour with the John Wilson Orchestra, a broadcast on Sky television from the Royal Albert Hall in London and “Bernstein Stage and Screen” at the BBC Proms with the John Wilson Orchestra which was broadcast on BBC television.
Scarlett has recorded with Simon Keenleyside “Something’s Gotta Give” for Chandos conducted by David Charles Abel. Film and television credits include: Kevin Spacey's movie Beyond The Sea, the title role in the BBC production of Mary Poppins celebrating HM Queen Elizabeth’s 80th birthday.
Hugh Panaro is perhaps best known for having played the coveted role of the Phantom in Broadway's The Phantom of the Opera over 2,000 times, including the 25th Anniversary production. In fact, Hugh is one of the few actors to be cast by Harold Prince as both The Phantom and Raoul in the show's Broadway production and is currently starring as the titular role in the immersive Off-Broadway production of Sweeney Todd.
Hugh made his Broadway debut in the original production of Les Misérables as Marius, the role he originated in the First National Company. He also created the roles of Buddy in the original Side Show (Sony cast recording); Julian Craster in Jule Styne's last musical, The Red Shoes; and the title role in the American premiere of Cameron Mackintosh's Martin Guerre. Hugh was nominated for an Outer Critics Circle Award for his performance in the title role of Elton John's Lestat, based on Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles.
He made his West End debut in the original London company of Harold Prince's Show Boat as Gaylord Ravenal, the role he previously played in the Broadway and Toronto productions.
At the prestigious 5th Avenue Theater in Seattle, Hugh played George Seurat in Sam Buntrock's Tony Award-winning production of Sunday in the Park with George, and Robert in Stephen Sondheim's Company. Hugh's performance as Jean Valjean in the Walnut Street Theater's production of Les Misérables earned him the prestigious Barrymore Award, for which he was again nominated after a turn as Fagin in Oliver! In 2012, Hugh was honored with the Edwin Forrest Award for his long-term contribution to the theater.
An active concert artist, Panaro has performed with numerous symphony orchestras including Dallas, Detroit, San Francisco, Seattle Utah Symphonies, and the London Sinfonietta, among many others. He had the privilege of performing in the world premiere of Penderecki’s Te Deum at Carnegie Hall and was a guest soloist with the Buffalo Philharmonic, conducted by Marvin Hamlisch. His recordings include Jerome Kern Treasury, the original cast recording of Side Show, Tap Your Troubles Away (Herman), The Centennial (Weil), and Life On The Wicked Stage (Kern). His first solo CD, recorded with Sony/BMG, was released in the summer of 2007. In addition, he toured throughout Europe with the legendary Barbra Streisand. A native of Philadelphia, Panaro graduated from Temple University and was awarded the Boyer College of Music Certificate of Honor.