For its March 29 performance, the Greenville Symphony Orchestra is trading Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, and Mahler for Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, and James Brown.
Closing out its 2018-19 Pops Series, the GSO presents “Dancing in the Street: The Music of Motown,” co-produced by Schirmer Theatrical and Greenberg Artists.
“We can’t wait for Motown,” says Todd Weir, GSO marketing director. “It’s going to blow a lot of people’s minds. They’ll see the symphony in a very unexpected way.”
“Dancing in the Street: The Music of Motown” is a full-evening, symphonic tribute with new orchestral arrangements of more than two dozen Motown standards by the Grammy Award-winning arranger Jeff Tyzik.
Motown-era artists featured in the program include Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, James Brown, Martha Reeves, Smokey Robinson, Lionel Richie, Nick Ashford & Valerie Simpson, The Four Tops, and Earth, Wind & Fire.
The nearly two dozen songs in the queue include Motown standards “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” “I Feel Good,” “My Girl,” “Reach Out (I’ll Be There),” “Let’s Groove Tonight,” “Superstition,” “You Really Got a Hold on Me,” “Touch Me in the Morning,” “How Sweet It Is,” “Could It Be I’m Falling in Love,” “Don’t Leave Me This Way,” “Signed, Sealed, Delivered,” “My Guy,” and “Endless Love.”
“The Greenville Symphony Orchestra is thrilled to bring the magic and music of Motown to the Upstate of South Carolina,” says Julie Fish, GSO executive director. “‘Dancing in the Street: The Music of Motown’ is a whole new exciting way to experience all of your favorite Motown tunes with three dynamic singers and full orchestra accompaniment by the Greenville Symphony Orchestra.”
The GSO will be conducted by Broadway music director, conductor, and pianist William Waldrop and will feature three award-winning vocalists: Shayna Steele, Chester Gregory, and Michael Lynche.
Equally comfortable on the podium with the orchestra on stage or conducting from the pit, Waldrop recently finished a highly celebrated run as music director and conductor of the Broadway revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Cats” at the Neil Simon Theatre in New York City. He has conducted productions of Lloyd Webber’s “The Phantom of the Opera” in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and Pittsburgh (National Tour), as well as Germany.
The three vocalists touring with the program boast numerous Broadway, TV, and film credits.
Vocalist Shayna Steele first appeared on Ed McMahon’s “Star Search” at 15 years old. Steele’s Broadway credits include “Rent,” “Jesus Christ Superstar,” and the original cast of “Hairspray.” Vocal credits for movie soundtracks include “Cloverfield,” “The Backup Plan,” “Hairspray,” “The Bourne Legacy,” and “Sex and the City 2.” Vocal credits for television soundtracks include NBC’s “Smash,” 2008 summer Olympic highlights on BBC, “The Shanghai Restoration Project,” and HBO’s “The Sopranos.” Steele most recently reprised her role with The Dynamites in NBC’s “Hairspray Live.”
Chester Gregory, an award-winning singer and actor, starred in “Motown the Musical” as Berry Gordy. His Broadway credits include “Hairspray,” “Tarzan,” “Cry Baby,” and “Sister Act.” Other credits include August Wilson’s “Fences” and “Two Trains Running.” He has toured nationally with Dreamgirls, Sister Act, and his one-man show, “The Eve of Jackie Wilson.”
Rising from obscurity, “American Idol” season 9 finalist Michael Lynche performed throughout the U.S. as part of the American Idol LIVE! Tour. He has released two studio albums, toured as an opening act for Boyz II Men, Lalah Hathaway, Faith Evans, and Lyfe Jennings, and recently took his show overseas for the first time to headline a tour of the Mediterranean.
“Dancing in the Street: The Music of Motown”
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. March 29
WHERE: Peace Center
INFO: Call the Peace Center box office at 864-467-3000 or visit greenvillesymphony.org.