Those who prefer a sprinkle of pizzazz in their orchestral music will want to take note of the Houston Symphony's just released Cynthia Woods Mitchell POPS at Jones Hall 2014-15 season, a nine-concert lineup teeming with jazz, blues, ragtime, Hollywood celebs, Broadway sparkle and holiday merriment.
Principal pops conductor Michael Krajewski leads the season themed "Music You Know and Love."
A man such as Jason Alexander should need no further introduction. Of course, he's best known for his role as George Costanza in the hit sitcom Seinfeld. And now George and more are coming to Houston. Alexander's Texas orchestral debut, An Evening of Comedy and Song (Sept. 5-7), looks back at his career on stage, television and film with popular tunes from Music Man, Pippin and Merrily We Roll Along.
MADtv funny gal Nicole Parker joins New York Pops conductor Steven Reineke for TV's Greatest Hits (Sept. 26-28). The program includes opening themes from beloved crime dramas, cartoons, game shows, variety shows and comedies such as Downton Abbey, Hawaii Five-O, The Flintstones and M*A*S*H while paying homage to big personalities of yesterday, including Carol Burnett, Judy Garland and Ethel Merman.
Ragtime, Blues & All That Jazz (Oct. 31-Nov. 2) is headlined by charismatic trumpeter and vocalist Byron Stripling, who's respected for his ability to interpret classic bebop. The music of Scott Joplin, Jelly Roll Morton, B.B. King and Muddy Waters will be coupled with commentary about the melodies and their composers.
Closing the pops season is a multimedia world premiere with Houston-based artist Dann Dunn.
No holiday season in Houston is complete without Very Merry Pops (Dec. 12-14), which features a collection of scores that enliven the end of the year spirit with well-liked numbers such as "Sleigh Ride," "Little Drummer Boy" and "Winter Wonderland."
Vocalist and dancer Sutton Foster, who made her mark on Broadway with Thoroughly Modern Millie and Shrek: The Musical, stars in Broadway's Leading Lady (Jan. 30-Feb. 1, 2015). With Reineke on the stage, expect songs such as "Gimme, Gimme" and "Anything Goes" to put a skip in your step.
Into film soundtracks? Blockbuster Film Scores (March 6-8, 2015) looks back at the past 30 years of Hollywood with music from Forrest Gump, Titanic, The Lord of the Rings and Avatar, among others.
U.K. Rocks (April 2-4, 2015) highlights tuneful contributions from artists of British provenance, from The Beatles to Adele. Vocalists Storm Large and J. Robert Spencer join Krajewski for this performance.
Maestro Jack Everly celebrates the life of a legendary composer in A Tribute to Marvin Hamlisch (April 24-16, 2015), which showcases the late award-winning tunesmith, who died in 2012, with selections from A Chorus Line, The Way We Were and Sophie's Choice.
Closing the pops season is a multimedia world premiere with Houston-based artist Dann Dunn. The Paintjam Concert Experience (May 22-24, 2015) melds visual arts and music in an improvisatory format that includes speed painting.
POPS subscriptions start at $132 for a six concert package and $162 for a nine concert package. Subscriptions may be purchased online or by calling the Houston Symphony at 713-224-7575.