Big acts to benefit local students

Woodbine Productions will present concerts by Tony Award-winning actress Patti LuPone, longtime “Tonight Show” bandleader Doc Severinsen and the internationally acclaimed Soweto Gospel Choir during the 2011-12 school year.

All three performances will take place at the Performing Arts Center on the SDSU campus. The dates are:

•          Patti LuPone—Thursday, October 27;

•          Doc Severinsen and His Big Band—Tuesday, February 28, 2012; and

•          Soweto Gospel Choir—Friday, March 30, 2012.

Woodbine Productions is a project of the SDSU Foundation and is underwritten by an anonymous benefactor who is committed to bringing great performances to Brookings as well as helping the next generation of musicians. Proceeds from all ticket sales fund competitive scholarships for Music Department students.

 Patti LuPone:

Broadway vocalist Patti LuPone will present her critically acclaimed solo performance The Gypsy in My Soul.

LuPone is best known for her Tony-award winning performances as Eva Peron in the 1979 stage musical Evita and as Rose in the revival of Gypsy in 2008, when she swept the theatre awards by winning the Tony, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle Awards for Best Actress in a Musical and the Drama League Award for Distinguished Performance.

Recent stage credits include:

• LuPone’s debut with the Los Angeles Opera in Mahagonny (the CD recording of that production recently won two Grammy Awards for Best Classical Recording and Best Opera Recording),

• The world premiere of the new opera To Hell and Back with San Francisco’s Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, and

• Mrs. Lovett in the award-winning Broadway production of Sweeney Todd (Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle Award nominations – Best Actress in a Musical; Drama League Award for Outstanding Contribution to Musical Theatre)

Among her film credits are Driving Miss Daisy and City by the Sea. She also has appeared on the television programs Law and Order, Frasier, and Evening at the Pops with John Williams and Yo Yo Ma.

 Doc Severinsen:

“Heeeeere’s Johnny!” That lead-in, followed by a big band trumpet blast, was the hallmark of late-night television for three decades. The ‘Johnny’ was Johnny Carson, the announcer was Ed McMahon and the bandleader was Doc Severinsen. Beginning in October 1962, The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson ruled the night air for thirty years. On May 22, 1992, it came to an end, but it also marked the beginning of a new career for Severinsen.

Within a week of the final telecast, Severinsen and His Big Band was on the road. Their repertoire includes Ellington and Basie standards, pop, jazz, ballads, big band classics and, of course, The Tonight Show theme.

Nicknamed “Little Doc” after his father, a dentist, Severinsen, in his early years, toured with Ted Fio Rito, Tommy Dorsey, and Benny Goodman. Severinsen arrived in New York City in 1949 to become a staff musician for NBC. After years of playing with the peacock network’s studio bands, Severinsen was invited to do a gig with the highly respected Tonight Show Band. An impressed conductor, Skitch Henderson, asked him to join that band in 1962 as first trumpet.

Five years later, Doc took over as music director and stayed until Carson retired.

Soweto Gospel Choir:

The South Africa choir’s twenty-six singers, dancers, and instrumentalists deliver traditional and contemporary songs infused with an irrepressible African spirit.

Since Soweto Gospel Choir’s introduction to the world eight years ago, the choir has amassed an international fan base and have won numerous Grammy Awards in the Best Traditional World Music category (Blessed and African Spirit), and also in the Best Song in a Movie category the film Wall-E.

The Soweto Gospel Choir has performed at prestigious venues such as Carnegie Hall, the Sydney Opera House, and the Royal Festival Hall in London as well as to sell-out crowds alongside superstars Bono, Queen, Celine Dion, Josh Groban, Aretha Franklin, and Stevie Wonder.



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