Press Release • September 11, 2018

Philadelphia, PA (September 11, 2018) — International singing sensation, R&B hitmaker and Tony and Grammy winner Heather Headley will join The Philly POPS BIG Band at the Kimmel Center on Oct. 12 in the one-night-only show: “The Philly POPS Presents: Heather Headley’s Broadway My Way.” Headley has personally selected favorites from her memorable performance career. She will tell her life story through song, adding a personalized appeal to her trademark powerhouse delivery of gospel, Broadway and R&B hits. 

Heather is the original Nala from The Lion King on Broadway, the Tony-winning star of Aida and the Laurence Olivier Award nominee for her star turn in The Bodyguard. She’s a Grammy winner and Billboard chart-topper for her R&B and gospel albums. 

Heather also performed at July 4’s POPS on the Parkway with the BIG Band, which previewed her Oct. 12 show. POPS audiences also saw her last December at the Wells Fargo Center while she was on tour with Andrea Bocelli. Her unforgettable performance of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” at that concert last winter had audiences begging for more. 

Complementing Heather’s performance will be Broadway giant, Philadelphia native and special guest artist Hugh Panaro. Hugh is famous for his portrayal of The Phantom in The Phantom of The Opera on Broadway and for his role as Jean Valjean in a Walnut Street Theatre production of Les Misérables—a role which earned him the Barrymore Award. Hugh will sing several pieces, including solos and duets with Heather. 

All guests are welcome to arrive 90 minutes prior to each concert for free pre-concert entertainment, including a conversation led by CBS Radio Philadelphia’s RJ McKay and festive music in the Plaza in the Kimmel Center lobby.  

Tickets: $35-$153

The Philly POPS Subscription Series is made possible thanks to 40th Anniversary Season Sponsor, PARX Casino®. 

About Heather Headley 

Described by Billboard Magazine as “among the top singers with a vocal that absolutely astounds with its intensity … This woman is one of the great entertainers of the day, on record and on stage.” Tony and Grammy Award winner Heather Headley originated the role of Nala in the original Broadway cast of the Elton John and Tim Rice’s hit Tony-winning musical The Lion King

She won the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical and Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Musical for her portrayal in the title role of Aida

Heather followed up her Broadway success on the pop charts with her 2002 debut album This Is Who I Am. Two songs — “He Is” and “I Wish I Wasn’t” — both emerged as Top 5 R&B and Dance chart hits. The album earned numerous accolades, including Grammy Award nominations for Best New Artist and Best Female R&B Vocal Performance, Soul Train Lady of Soul Awards for R&B/Soul Album of the Year and Best R&B/Soul or Rap New Artist, NAACP Image Awards nominations for Outstanding New Artist and Outstanding Female Artist, and BET Awards in the “Cool Like That” category. 

The title track of her long-awaited second solo album In My Mind became Heather’s first #1 hit, topping the Dance charts. Her third studio album Audience of One won the Grammy Award for the Best Contemporary R&B Gospel Album. 

In 2016, Heather made a triumphant return to Broadway playing Shug Avery in The Color Purple

Over the past few years, she has displayed her versatility as one of Andrea Bocelli’s favorite singing partners in many of his American and international tours. She and the POPS performed in Bocelli’s 2015 and 2017 concerts at the Wells Fargo Center. 

About Hugh Panaro 

Hugh Panaro has been described as “the leader of Broadway’s dwindling supply of great leading men.” Critically lauded and adored by fans, he demonstrates versatility, charisma and tremendous vocal talent. 

Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Hugh attended LaSalle High School and studied at music at Temple University and moved to New York City immediately after graduation. Hugh quickly found a role in I Have Found Home. In 1988, Hugh originated the role of Marius Pontmercy in the first national touring production of Les Misérables, moving up to the Broadway company several months later. 

In 1999, Hugh donned the iconic mask in The Phantom of the Opera at the Majestic Theatre. Six months later, he originated the title role in the U.S. tour of Martin Guerre. Following the tour, Hugh drew praise for performances in Gentleman Prefer Blondes and Merrily We Roll Along in Los Angeles and as Anthony Hope in the Kennedy Center’s 2002 production of Sweeney Todd

Hugh returned to play The Phantom in 2003. One of the most popular actors to fill the role, he remained with the show until October 2005, later returning on September 7, 2010 to lead the show’s historic 25th anniversary performance. 

In 2007, Hugh was one of the four Broadway performers who joined Barbara Streisand on her first European concert tour. In 2008, he starred as Jean Valjean in the Walnut Street Theatre’s outstanding production of Les Misérables, a role which earned him praise from audiences and reviewers alike, as well as the Barrymore award. Most recently, Panaro has starred as Sweeney Todd in an off-Broadway production of Sweeney Todd

About The Philly POPS  
The Philly POPS, the largest standalone pops orchestra in the United States, delights audiences with the inspired performance of American popular music. The POPS celebrates this distinctive musical heritage through an expanding repertoire of innovative concert performances and a robust set of educational and engagement initiatives. 

Now celebrating its 40th Anniversary Season, the POPS, the official POPS orchestra of Pennsylvania and the City of Philadelphia’s partner in civic celebration, serves a consistently growing audience of over 200,000 annually. Music Director Michael Krajewski and the 65-piece Philly POPS orchestra keep listeners tapping their toes to an impressive repertoire of songs from American traditional music up through to today’s chart-toppers. The Philly POPS BIG Band, an 18-20 piece ensemble performing a rock and rhythm and blues repertoire, premiered in 2017 to enthusiastic response at the July 4 Welcome America Concert on the Parkway. 

Outside the concert hall, free Salute Series performances – including Memorial Salute, July 3 POPS on Independence, July 4 POPS on the Parkway and the I’ll Be Home for Christmas: A Salute to the Military and First Responders concert – celebrate the American tradition of service around important national holidays. POPS in Schools enhances music education for Philadelphia School District students; POPS Outside brings POPS music to local communities. The Philly POPS performs as a founding resident company of The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, and at venues throughout the mid-Atlantic region.