By: Valerie Milano
Los Angeles, CA (The Hollywood Times) 2/28/23 – Viewers are in for a treat tonight as PBS premiers Black Broadway: A Proud History, A Limitless Future. This concert special celebrates Black artists, featuring iconic stage performances from the best past and current generations of Broadway stars.
The cast includes television and Broadway star Corbin Bleu, Broadway performer and concert soloist Nikki Renée Daniels, Broadway and television star Tiffany Mann, actress/singer Nova Payton, and singer Stephanie Mills. These icons will be performing timely classics such as The Wiz, The Color Purple, Company, Porgy & Bess, Ain’t Misbehavin,’ and several more. The concert will also feature multiple guest conductors and choir students from Howard and Morgan Stanley University, accompanied by the American Pop Orchestra founded by music director Luke Fraizer.
During the recent Television Critics Association (TCA) winter press tour, THT learned how these talented artists got their start in entertainment and got an insight into the show from Corbin Bleu, Nova Y. Payton, Brittany Chanell Johnson, and Luke Frazier.
Everyone was curious to know how the songs were chosen and how Black Broadway is defined; here’s what some of the talent had to say: “I think for too long it’s been relegated to its just this little niche. And what this show tries to tell via many songs, many eras, many styles of music, is that it’s been at the heart of Broadway from the beginning” (Fraizer). Payton joined the conversation, “We also had the opportunity to introduce a new musical that’s about to be on Broadway, “Goddess,” which Amber Iman is in. She brought that to the table, which was great because it does show the future of Broadway. Black, in all of its Blackness and beauty.”
The concert was filmed at Howard University’s Cramton Auditorium and will premiere tonight at 8 p.m. ET on PBS and can be streamed on PBS Passport.
About the American Pops Orchestra
APO was founded in 2015 with a mission to breathe new life into orchestral pops programming and inspire diverse audiences to discover the wealth of the material in the Great American Songbook in dynamic new ways. Seeing an opportunity to challenge the status-quo of the repertoire performed by orchestras, founder and music director, Luke Frazier, created The American Pops with the intent of breaking the mold of the traditional pops orchestra. This new distinctly “American” orchestra brings together versatile musicians and reimagined programming focused on the Great American Songbook, presenting it with an approachable, fresh spin to engage diverse audiences. Through non-traditional orchestral settings, APO aims to deliver popular American classics to those who already know and love them, while also introducing these timeless pieces to younger generations in approachable settings. Other APO appearances made on PBS include UNITED IN SONG; WICKED in Concert; Ella Wishes You a Swinging Christmas; ONE Voice, The Songs We Share; We Are Family and more…. To learn more, visit www.TheAmericanPops.org.