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Marvin and his Music: A Celebration of the People’s Composer
August 20 @ 8:00 pm
Celebrating the life and legacy of Broadway’s legendary composer, Pulitzer Prize, Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony award-winner, Marvin Hamlisch. Marvin and his Music: A Celebration of the People’s Composer is brought to life again by the Caroga Arts Ensemble led by J. Ernest Green and special guest vocalists.
Marvin and his Music: A Celebration of the People’s Composer
August 20, 2022 | 8:00pm
Reserved Pavilion Seating, $20
Reserved General Admission, Free
Get tickets here
J. Ernest Green, conductor
Kevin Cole, pianist
Marissa McGowan, vocalist
Bernard Dotson, vocalist
Ella Green, vocalist
Valerie Lemon, vocalist
Alec Green, guitar
Caroga Arts Ensemble
About the Artists
Born in Bay City, Michigan, Kevin Cole graduated from the renowned Interlochen Arts Academy. Soon afterward, he began a history of garnering personal praise from legends like Irving, Berlin, Harold Arlen, E. Y. Harburg, Hugh Martin, Burton Lane, and Stephen Sondheim as well as members of both the Jerome Kern and George/Ira Gershwin families.
Steinway Artist Kevin Cole has delighted audiences with a repertoire that includes the best of 20th Century American music. Kevin Cole’s performances, especially his interpretation of Gershwin, have prompted accolades from some of the foremost critics in American music. “A piano genius…he reveals an understanding of harmony, rhythmic complexity and pure show-biz virtuosity that would have had Vladimir Horowitz smiling with envy”, said critic Andrew Patner of the Chicago Sun-Times. “When Cole sits down at the piano, you would swear Gershwin himself was at work…Cole stands as the best Gershwin pianist in America today,” wrote Howard Reich, arts critic for the Chicago Tribune. Edward Jablonski, author of the Encyclopedia of American Music and renowned Gershwin scholar said, “Kevin is the best Gershwin pianist since Gershwin himself – no one can touch him.”
A step in a new direction featured Mr. Cole as a singer / pianist in the Gershwin’s Lady, Be Good! at the Teatro Nacional Sao Carlos, Lisbon, Portugal. Performances for the Chicago Humanities Festival include two concerts with opera great William Warfield in tribute to Duke Ellington and George Gershwin and an evening, Around the World with Cole Porter. Cole has had the pleasure of opening for Doc Severinsen and the Tonight Show Band as well as sharing a concert evening with Broadway musical legend Barbara Cook. He was invited to be a featured performer with the Irving S. Gilmore International Keyboard Festival. Cole has played at the requests of such notables as Chicago’s Mayor Richard M. Daley and the legendary Muhammed Ali.
Kevin Cole’s awards as music director and archivist include Joseph Jefferson Award, Forever Plaid, (Chicago, 1995); Bay Area Critics’ Award, Oh, Kay! (San Francisco, 1994) and The Boys From Syracuse (San Francisco 1995), San Francisco Shakespeare Festival. Additionally, Kevin arranged music and directed for Sweet, Smart, Rodgers & Hart, Pasadena Playhouse and two original revues ( with writer/director Leeds Bird) R.S.V.P Jerome Kern and The Gershwin Years. He collaborated with Broadway choreographer Randy Skinner (42nd Street) to create sparkling new dance music arrangements for the smash hit revival of Babes in Arms for Goodspeed Opera House. As artistic director for Ravinia Festival’s new Steans Institute Musical Theatre Initiative, Cole presented staged readings of his new Deitz / Schwartz musical, A Shine On Your Shoes. His solo debut at Chicago’s Orchestra Hall was entirely his own compositions. Currently, a piano concerto and three new musicals absorb Kevin’s free time.
In addition to his busy touring and performing schedule, Kevin is currently Artist in Residence in Musical Theatre and Voice at Saginaw Valley State University.
Marissa McGowan last appeared on Broadway in the Roundabout Theatre Company Revival of Kiss Me Kate at Studio 54, playing the Wardrobe Mistress and understudying Lilli Vanessi, played by the incomparable Kelli O’hara. Marissa had the honor to be chosen by Mr Marvin Hamlisch to star as Stella Purdy in the world premier of Marvin’s last musical THE NUTTY PROFESSOR (directed by the legendary Jerry Lewis), for which she won the “best leading actress” award in Nashville for her performance. Marissa has appeared on Broadway in the A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC Revival along side Catherine Zeta Jones and Angela Lansbury (Original Cast Recording),BONNIE AND CLYDE (Original Cast Recording) and LES MISERABLES (Revival and National Tour) where she performed both the roles of Eponine and Cosette, as well as ROBBER BRIDEGROOM at The Roundabout Theatre Company. Favorite regional roles include CHESS at the Kenedy Center, Heather in the World Premiere of HUMAN ERROR at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Magnolia in SHOW BOAT at the Asolo Repertory Theatre, Maria in THE SOUND OF MUSIC with the Lyric Theatre ,Petra in A Little Night Music at American Conservatory Theatre (Theater Bay Area Award for Outstanding Actress), Guinevere in CAMELOT and Mary Jane in BIG RIVER at the Goodspeed Opera House, Johanna in SWEENEY TODD at the Geva Theater and Adelaide in Guys and Dolls, Marian in The Music Man and Philia in …FORUM at the WESTON PLAYHOUSE. Television: Major Crimes (TNT), Odd Mom Out (BRAVO). Numerous recordings and readings of new works all over NYC. Concert work includes Lincoln Center (tribute to Marvin Hamlisch, directed by Mike Nichols) Susan in Sweet Smell of Success in Concert (Hudson Theater NYC), Guest Soloist with Indianapolis Symphony, Naples Philharmonic, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Omaha Symphony, Houston Symphony , Kalamazoo Symphony, Phonecia Festival of the Voice, New Albany Symphony, Annapolis Chorale, Alpine Theatre Project, and the American Cancer Society Marvin Hamlisch tribute at the Hudson Theater in NYC. As a teacher, Marissa has taught master classes all across the country and has a roster of private students in the NYC area. Marissa grew up on Long Island and then attended Syracuse University, where she received a BFA in musical theater.
A native of Los Angeles, Bernard Dotson began performing nationally and internationally, singing the Walt Disney Songbook. Concerts: the music of Frank Loesser with The New York Philharmonic, Merrily We Roll Along, Live Arts Maryland’s “One Singular Sensation: The Music Of Marvin Hamlisch,” and “Dreamgirls.” Broadway: Finian’s Rainbow, Chicago, Imaginary Friends, Sweet Smell of Success, Jesus Christ Superstar and Ragtime. Regional, National and International Tours: Smokey Joe’s Cafe, Five Guys Named Moe, Kiss Me, Kate, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Paradise Square. Bernard can be seen performing his critically acclaimed one-man show, “Unexpected Songs.”
Born and raised in Severna Park, Maryland, Ella Green is a Nashville based performer. Growing up with an orchestra conductor as a father and a singer as a mother, making music has been one of the most important parts of her life since she was born. She has been vocally trained in many different styles, with a foundation in classical technique. She began her training and the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University – Preparatory Institute. Here she studied classical vocal techniques with an emphasis in legit musical theater styles.From there she went on to attend Belmont University to pursue a BFA in Musical Theater. There she studied many vocal styles including Jazz, Pop, Musical Theater (legit and belt), Classical, and Country. She also studied dance styles including Ballet, Tap, Jazz, and Modern. Some of Ella’s performing credits include Alice Murphy in Bright Star (Belmont University), Martha in The Secret Garden (Live Arts Maryland), Rona Lisa Peretti in 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Murfreesboro Center for the Arts), and Marmee in Little Women (Belmont University), “Light of the World” soloist in Godspell (Infinity Theatre Co.), and others.
J. Ernest Green is the Artistic Director of Live Arts Maryland and the Music Director of the Annapolis Chamber Orchestra and Annapolis Chorale. He served as a Cover Conductor with the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, where he worked with such artists as Metropolitan Opera star Denyce Graves, Sir James Galway, Pinchas Zuckerman, Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, Osmo Vanska among others. He received acclaim for conducting the National Symphony Orchestra for a subscription weekend with a last minute call with less than 20 minutes notice!
As a Pops Conductor, he worked with and conducted for the late Marvin Hamlisch. In January 2013, he conducted the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra’s tribute to Mr. Hamlisch, featuring Idina Menzel, Robert Klein and Lucie Arnaz, Maria Friedman, Brian D’Arcy James and Klea Blackhurst. In fall 2012, he was the Musical Advisor for the Memorial Concert for Mr. Hamlisch at The Juilliard School where he worked with Mike Nichols, Liza Minnelli, Aretha Franklin, Chris Botti, Kevin Cole, Maria Friedman, Lang Lang, and Barbara Streisand.
Mr. Green work conducts for “Late Night” Music Director Paul Shaffer and Valerie Simpson (of Ashford and Simpson) for his symphony show. They have done shows with the Kalamazoo Symphony, and Vancouver Symphony. He also recorded a live CD, “Play It Again Marvin” – featuring the music of Marvin Hamlisch which was released released in 2018 on Varése Sarabande. Recently, Mr. Green was the Musical Supervisor and Conductor for a new production of “Sweet Smell of Success” at the Hudson Theatre on Broadway. In June 2013 he was the Music Director and Conductor for “One Singular Sensation” a Broadway celebration honoring Mr. Hamlisch at the Hudson Theatre featuring, in addition to the artists listed above, Donna McKechnie, Marissa McGowan, Matthew Morrison, John Lloyd Young, Stephanie J. Block, Teal Wicks, Capathia Jenkins, Michael Douglas, Bernadette Peters, and Joel Grey.
Known for his adventurous and creative programming as he pushes the boundaries of the concert hall, Mr. Green has created several “fusion” programs combining standard concert repertoire with popular and contemporary music, which he has lead with orchestras both here and abroad. In addition, he has received acclaim for his concert productions of operas and other stage works, among them Verdi’s “La Traviata,” “Sweeney Todd” and Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Oklahoma!” He created a new concert production of “Don Giovanni,”. J. Ernest Green has appeared with many orchestras including: The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, The Philadelphia Orchestra, The National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center, The Florida Orchestra, The Kalamazoo Symphony, The Tuscia Festival Orchestra (Italy), Annapolis Symphony, Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, Lincoln Symphony, Orquestra Sinfonica Nacional (Santo Domingo), Mesa Symphony, and the Trinity Chamber Orchestra (Cleveland). He has toured with the Ballet Arabesque (Bulgaria) MozartFestival Opera and the Teatro Lirico d’Europa.
J. Ernest Green is a graduate of the Peabody Conservatory of Music and while there, was a student of Frederik Prausnitz, who he was also an assistant conductor for. In addition to his musical activities, Mr. Green is an avid advocate for the arts. He has served as a music panelist for the Maryland State Arts Council and an advisor on itsStrategic Planning Committee. In 2002, he was given the Performing Arts Award by the Arts Council of Anne Arundel County and, in 2012 was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Valerie Lemon has performed across the United States as a concert soloist for Award-winning composer Marvin Hamlisch. Their 12-year association resulted in Mr.Hamlisch writing a solo act for her that has been performed around the globe. ValerieLemon Sings Music by Marvin Hamlisch debuted at the Metropolitan Room November 2008 to wonderful reviews. In 2009 Valerie appeared at Feinstein’s to an SRO audience! She returned there with Music by Marvin Hamlisch in 2010 with Marvin as her “Special Guest”. The show was rewritten and renamed Marvin and Me and has played recently at The Musical Theatre of Connecticut and The Gateway Playhouse in Somers, New Jersey.
Valerie performed with the Adrian, Annapolis and New Albany Symphonies for tributes honoring Marvin conducted by Maestro J. Ernest Green. She also has been presenting several cabaret and gala shows in Annapolis for “Live Arts Maryland”. Recently she was honored to have spoken about Marvin in the American Masters Series on PBS; Marvin Hamlisch, What He Did For Love. She is also incredibly proud to be a part of Len Prince’s Exhibit and Book “MARVIN HAMLISCH”. Valerie was asked by Marvin’ wife, Terre Blair Hamlisch, to become an ambassador to schools in the area to present and teach children about Marvin’s Book, Marvin Makes Music. Valerie is a nine-year veteran of The Mabel Mercer Cabaret Conventions, where in 2015 she performed honoring Marvin Hamlisch and Vernon Duke, in 2016 honoring Sheldon Hardnick and in 2018 Jerry Herman.
Valerie’s special love for cabaret and live performing has resulted in three solo cabaret shows: The Way of the Heart, The Jane Froman Song Book (most recently performed at the Wold Theater in Boca Raton) and Valerie singing the music of Marvin Hamlisch Marvin and Me, All shows received rave reviews. Valerie has also appeared on the stage in past years in Colette, starring Diana Rigg, The Student Prince, Closer Than Ever, Blue Window, A Dance For Rylie, just to mention a few. When not performing you will often find Valerie playing with and loving her four rescue cats: Moose, Lobo, Petey and Tommy. Valerie’s CD’s are available at CdBaby.com or through her website www.ValerieLemon.com.
Alec Green is a multitalented guitar player, singer-songwriter, and audio engineer. Alec graduated from the prestigious Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University with degrees in classical guitar and audio engineering. Equally at home performing classical repertoire as he is rock, pop, and theatre, his own compositions incorporate musical elements and techniques from all of these genres. Alec’s creative endeavors include playing classical guitar recitals, performing with the band “Dollar Store Fire,” working as lead sound engineer for the popular band Millennium, and playing in the orchestra for theaters all around the DC Baltimore area. Alec Green also teaches guitar as part of the faculty at Washington College.
Recent projects that showcase his many talents including the release of the original album “Summer Storm”, the audio recording and engineering for Monumental Theatre’s virtual production of “Songs for a New World,” guitarist for Constellation Theatre’s production of “The Last 5 Years”, and a role as creative video director and editor for the 2020 Marvin Hamlisch International Music Awards.
Concert will happen rain or shine, no refunds for inclement weather.
Sponsored by ZASH