Richard Kaufman, conductor
Television, film and Broadway star Vanessa Williams joins Pacific Symphony in an opening night celebration performing songs that span her impressive career such as “Dreamin,” “Save the Best for Last,” “Love Is” and more. The orchestra opens the concert with "That's Entertainment" and themes from the films Splash, The Producers, Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles, Animal House and Airplane.
Vanessa Williams is one of the most respected and multi-faceted performers in entertainment today. She has conquered the musical charts, Broadway, music videos, television and motion pictures. She has sold millions of albums worldwide and has achieved critical acclaim as an actress on stage, in film and on television.
Her albums “The Right Stuff,” “The Comfort Zone and “The Sweetest Days” earned multiple Grammy nominations and have yielded such classic hits as “Save the Best For Last,” “Dreamin,” “Work To Do,” “Love Is,” the Academy Award-winning single “Colors of the Wind,” from Disney’s Pocahontas, and many others. Her recordings also include two holiday albums, “Star Bright” and “Silver & Gold,” “Vanessa Williams Greatest Hits: The First Ten Years” and “Everlasting Love,” a romantic collection of love songs from the 1970’s. Concord Records released Williams’s “The Real Thing,” in June 2009, for which she received a NAACP nomination for Outstanding Jazz Artist.
In 1994, Williams took Broadway by storm when she replaced Chita Rivera in Kiss of the Spider Woman, winning the hearts of critics and becoming a box-office sensation. In 2002 she garnered rave reviews and was nominated for a Tony Award for her performance as the Witch in the revival of Into the Woods. She also headlined a limited special engagement of the classic, Carmen Jones, at the Kennedy Center and starred in the Encore! series staged concert production of St. Louis Woman. Williams also appeared in Stephen Sondheim & James Lapine’s Sondheim on Sondheim, an original Broadway musical that ran in the spring of 2010 at The Roundabout Theatre.
In 2007, Williams achieved a career pinnacle, with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her accomplishments as a performer. In December 2010, the International Foreign Press Academy named Williams as the recipient of the 2010 Mary Pickford Award for Outstanding Artistic Contribution to the Entertainment Industry. The award honors her international achievements and success in film, television, stage and recording over the past 28 years. Her charitable endeavors are many and varied, embracing and supporting such organizations as Special Olympics, The Eye Bank and many others.