Press Release • May 11, 2015

The upcoming Memorial Day holiday weekend provides the perfect opportunity for The Philly POPS to expand its new Salute Series of performances honoring our nation’s shared traditions, values, and collective commitment to service. POPS at Longwood for Memorial Day — a musical tribute to the nation’s current and past servicemen and women — will be a patriotic and Broadway themed concert conducted by the esteemed Todd Ellison in a 90-minute show featuring award-winning vocalists Klea Blackhurst, Kathryn Guthrie, and Ross Lekites and the 65-member Philly POPS orchestra. It will take place on Saturday, May 23, 2015, at 7:30 p.m., at 1001 Longwood Road in Kennett Square, PA.

This event, one of the featured presentations of the Longwood Gardens Summer Series, will celebrate the holiday while honoring those who have served with a unique POPS performance set amid the lovely backdrop of the lush Longwood Gardens landscape. With every Salute Series concert, there is a Color

Guard Ceremony. The Philly POPS continues to honor service people with special recognition certificates and with the gift of 50 tickets to those who have served from the local community. During the concert, there will be a selection of stirring patriotic tunes — including The Star Spangled Banner, God Bless America, the Stars and Stripes Swing, and The Armed Forces Salute — as well as Broadway favorites like I Got Rhythm, Fiddler on the Roof Medley, and There’s No Business Like Show Business. The event will also include a presentation of the Color Guard.

Philly POPS President and CEO Frank Giordano looks forward with great anticipation to expanding the Salute Series at Longwood Gardens and to have on hand a group of honored veterans attending courtesy of The Philly POPS. “What a beautiful setting for The Philly POPS to show their gratitude and respect to our nation’s servicemen and women,” Giordano says. “We are so pleased to have the opportunity to expand our Salute Series in the beautiful setting of Longwood Gardens as we continue to honor our nation’s traditions and values throughout the year.”

“We are delighted to welcome the Philly POPS to Longwood Gardens,” said Executive Director Paul B. Redman. “A performance by the POPS is the perfect way to kick-off our summer season at Longwood.”

Reserved seating tickets for POPS at Longwood Gardens are available for $55-$85 ($50-$80 for Longwood Gardens Members) and may be purchased online through Longwood Gardens or by calling 215.893.1999. Tickets include all-day admission to Longwood Gardens.

About Guest Conductor Todd Ellison:

One of the most accomplished and sought-after music directors working today, currently Todd Ellison serves as the conductor of the 12-time Tony nominated Broadway production of An American in Paris. His credits include 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, and A Class Act.

About the Vocalists:

Klea Blackhurst is an actress and singer, who has performed on Broadway and nationwide and abroad in concert engagements with symphony orchestras including the London Palladium presentation of Jerry Herman’s Broadway with Angela Lansbury, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra tribute to Marvin Hamlisch, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, New York’s Town Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, and as Ado Annie in the BBC Proms concert of Oklahoma! at Royal Albert Hall. Klea has three CDs: Everything the Traffic Will Allow, Autumn in New York, and Dreaming of A Song.

Kathryn Guthrie, the recipient of awards from the Metropolitan Opera National Council, possesses a sharp-witted style that is equally adapted to new music in both classical music and musical theater. She has traveled the world promoting the opera in concerts. She made her debut in the New York City Opera in 2012 in singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright’s Prima Donna and her Lincoln Center debut this winter in Paul Hindemith’s The Long Christmas Dinner with Leon Botstein and the American Symphony Orchestra. Kathryn has appeared several times as a guest artist in the American Lyric Theater’s Composer and Librettist Development Program.

Ross Lekites is a vocalist who has performed throughout the country, Canada and Japan. He played Tony in West Side Story at the Ogunquit Playhouse in Maine and went on to play the role in the 1st National Broadway Tour. He recently finished a successful run of South Pacific as Lt. Joseph Cable at Riverside Theatre in Vero Beach, FL. His other theatre credits include appearing as Tom Marlowe in Good News! at the esteemed Goodspeed Opera House and at Radio City Music Hall as a vocalist in the Christmas Spectacular. Ross is currently touring with the Tony-winning musical Kinky Boots.

About The Philly POPS

Entering its 37th season, The Philly POPS, presented by Encore Series, Inc., continues to exude revitalized energy under the music direction of Maestro Michael Krajewski. The combined leadership of Krajewski and Philly POPS President and CEO Frank Giordano has brought record-setting sales to The Philly POPS, the largest stand-alone POPS orchestra in America. The POPS has expanded its programming and initiated a Salute Series dedicated to celebrating American traditions and holidays through music. In addition, POPS Presents goes beyond the subscription series of concerts with special programs and concerts that bring guest artists to performances throughout the Philadelphia area. The Philly POPS orchestra boasts a blend of talented musicians from the musically rich Philadelphia region and entertains audiences with an eclectic mix of musical genres — from Broadway to the Beatles, Berlin to The Bee Gees, and beyond. The Philly POPS is proud to perform as a founding resident company of The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, as well as throughout the tri-state region and beyond. In 2014, they toured Northeast America with Salute to Vienna including a performance in Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center in New York City. For more information about The Philly POPS and its 2015-2016 season schedule, please visit