By Janelle Gelfand
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Big stars from Broadway, Grammy-winning Christian music star Sandi Patty and everyone's favorite Irish flutist will headline the Cincinnati Pops' 2004-05 season in Music Hall.
Erich Kunzel will open the Pops season Sept. 10-12 with "Broadway Divas," starring Tony-winning Debbie Gravitte, Jan Horvath (a graduate of the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music) and Christiane Noll, who recently performed the role of Hope in the touring production of Urinetown.
Sir James Galway, the inimitable Irish flutist (and virtuoso of the penny whistle) will perform classical and Celtic tunes, Oct. 3 and 10. As a bonus, he'll play a duet with his wife, Geannie.
In December, Kunzel's annual holiday extravaganza will star Patty, who appeared with Kunzel on the Pops' PBS special, A Family Thanksgiving. The contemporary Christian music icon will be joined by the multi-talented students from CCM's Musical Theater Department and the May Festival Chorus for five holiday shows, including a Sunday matinee (Dec. 9-12).
Tony Award-winning megastar Kristin Chenoweth (currently playing Glinda the Good Witch in Wicked) will visit the Pops on Jan. 9 and 16 to perform selections by Rodgers and Hart, Ricky Ian Gordon (Avenue Q) and Andrew Lipps (You're a Good Man Charlie Brown).
The Broadway and TV star will also appear with Kunzel and the Pops in their 10th appearance at Carnegie Hall on Jan. 25.
The Pops goes Gospel, Feb. 11-12, with Jennifer Holliday, who has appeared in Fox TV's Ally McBeal and won a Tony for Dreamgirls. She'll be joined by Broadway star Mike Eldred and two area church choirs: the Lincoln Heights Missionary Baptist Church Choir (Charles Fold, director) and Princeton Pike Church of God Powerful Praise Choir (James Phillips, director) for an evening of praise and glory.
On Feb. 27, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, featured in the movie, Swingers, will add their uptempo brand of modern swing to the Pops in a one-night stand.
In April, Kunzel will conduct "Russian Nights" with the Massenkoff Russian Folk Festival - acrobatic dancers, Russian folk musicians and a Russian baritone named Nikolai Massenkoff (April 8-10).
The season ends May 13-15 with the "Golden Age of Cinema." Theatre organist Dennis James will create the atmosphere of the days before "talkies." He and the Pops will perform film scores against the backdrop of two 20-minute silent films.
Kunzel, who is in his 39th season with the orchestra, will record two albums for Telarc next year: A recording of Russian orchestral classics and music from the silver screen.
Later this month, Telarc will release Classics at the Pops, the orchestra's 75th recording for Telarc. More than 8 million Pops albums have been sold worldwide.
With the news of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra's projected deficit of $1.45 million this season, the Cincinnati Pops is also raising ticket prices 20 percent next season. (Pops is part of the same organization.)
All discounts, including those for senior citizens and students, will remain in place.
Subscription packages include a five-concert series ($88.75 to $342.50); a seven-concert series ($117.25 to $451.50) and an eight-concert series ($134 to $516). Single tickets will be $21 to $58.25 ($80.50 for box seats).
Subscriptions go on sale Monday. Renewals will be mailed Friday. Single tickets go on sale Aug. 9. 381-3300 or www.cincinnatipops.org.
What do you think of ticket prices going up? Call Janelle Gelfand at 768-8382 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
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