FOLSOM – Todd Ellison is one of the most accomplished and sought after music directors working today. Returning to Harris Center for the Arts for the second time this season, Ellison, as host and accompanist, is joined by four talented vocalists from the Broadway stage, including Sacramento native Teal Wicks.
They will perform some of the most romantic songs from classic Broadway musicals such “West Side Story,” “Hello, Dolly!,” “Man of La Mancha,” “South Pacific,” “My Fair Lady” and more.
Joining Ellison for this engagement will be Klea Blackhurst, who performed in The Goodspeed Opera’s 50th anniversary production of “Hello, Dolly!” and created the role of Miss Lemon in the Marvin Hamlisch/Rupert Holmes musical “The Nutty Professor” directed by Jerry Lewis; Teal Wicks, well known for her portrayal of the iconic green witch Elphaba in the Los Angeles, San Francisco and Broadway productions of “Wicked.” Recently she starred opposite Constantine Maroulis and Deborah Cox in the Broadway revival and National Tour of “Jekyll and Hyde.” Wicks was born and raised in Sacramento. Also performing are Ross Lekites, Tony Award-winner for his portrayal of Tony in the first national tour of “West Side Story,”and Keith Spencer, who has performed in “A Connecticut Yankee,” “Broadway Bash,” The Coffee Club Orchestra’s 10th anniversary for City Center Encores! and :The Best of Broadway” with Garrison Keillor.
Comfortable in wearing the many hats of composer, musical director, conductor, arranger, and musician Ellison trained as a classical pianist, like many Broadway conductors. But in college he realized, “He liked Hammerstein more than Haydn and took up a career on the musical circuit,” according to a New York Times interview.
He has been the music director and conductor of the Broadway productions of “Annie,” “Monty Python’s Spamalot” — Tony Award/Best Musical, “La Cage aux Folles” — Tony Award/Best Musical Revival, “42nd Street” — Tony Award /Best Revival, Elton John’s “Lestat,” Michel Legrand’s “Amour,” “The Wild Party,” “On The Town,” “Once Upon a Mattress” (starring Sarah Jessica Parker), “How To Succeed” (starring Matthew Broderick), “She Loves Me,” “Taller than a Dwarf,” “A Class Act,” as well as “Cats,” “Starlight Express” and “Annie 2.”
He was the music director of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular at the famed Radio City Music Hall for several seasons. As Marvin Hamlisch’s music director, Ellison worked with him on his productions of “Ballroom” and “The Nutty Professor” directed by Jerry Lewis. For City Center’s Encores! he conducted their acclaimed version of “On The Town” and was a guest pianist for “No No, Nanette.”
Internationally he has conducted at the Vienna Konzerthaus with Dawn Upshaw and Jerry Hadley, The Dublin Film Orchestra, Radio City Christmas Spectacular – Mexico City, World Science Festival – Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall – Cole Porters’ Jubilee.
As a pops conductor he has conducted the Pittsburgh Symphony, Long Beach Symphony, New Haven Symphony and York Symphony, as well as more than 20 albums including the Grammy Award- winning cast albums of his shows. He has accompanied such stars as Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, Jane Lynch, Barry Manilow, Tyne Daly, Bea Arthur, David Hyde Pierce, Tim Curry and Kelsey Grammar.
Todd Ellison & Friends: The Romance of Broadway will perform at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, June 6. Tickets are $25 to $39 with premium seats available for $45; students with ID pay $12. Tickets are available online at harriscenter.net or from Harris Center ticket office at (916) 608-6888 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and two hours before show time. Parking is included in the price of the ticket.