Jason Alexander. Photo-Louisville Orchestra


Louisville Orchestra POPS: Jason Alexander

Louisville Orchestra
Teddy Abrams, conductor

Review by E. P. Stewart

Entire contents copyright © 2014 by E. P. Stewart. All rights reserved.

The evening opened, as all Pops concerts do, with an assortment of orchestral arrangements that in some way relate to the guest performer. Conductor Bob Bernhardt obviously loves introducing each piece, and the more of a stretch the connection is, the better. The corniness of his jokes is always endearing. He’s like the LO audience’s favorite high school math teacher.

Included in this segment were several familiar favorites like Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl and John Williams’s Far and Away. There was also the incredibly moving Ase’s Death from Peer Gynt, in which the richness and depth of the strengths palpably echoed the aching physical sensations of grief. It was stunning.

But, of course, the second act is when the program really began with the entrance of America’s favorite stocky, bald man: Jason Alexander. Dressed in a snappy suit with bold purple shirt, Mr. Alexander looked fantastic. His performance throughout the evening lived up to this first impression.

While almost everyone is familiar with Jason Alexander from his iconic portrayal of George Costanza on television’s Seinfeld, few realize that he began his acting career on the stage. He starred in the original Broadway cast of Stephen Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along and is the winner of two Tony Awards for Best Actor in a Musical and Best Musical for his work in Jerome Robbin’s Broadway.

Mr. Alexander is a true song-and-dance man, surprisingly spry for someone of his stature and with a gesture, tap, or sway for every moment of every song. His lovely singing voice is a stark contrast to the tight, staccato barking of George Costanza, and in musical performance, Mr. Alexander finds velvety open tones and beautiful resonance in all the right places.

While some of his jokes toed the line of good taste, his generally self-effacing demeanor endeared him to the audience. We were ready to go on a ride with him. A self-professed “musical theatre nerd” since childhood, Mr. Alexander spent his portion of the evening performing personal favorites for us, introducing each song within the context of what it meant to him. A tribute to his father was particularly moving, and one piece that involved significant audience participation received a standing ovation. The Louisville Orchestra’s musicians were clearly enjoying themselves as the evening rolled along, and guest vocalist Emily Albrink was glowing as she sang backup on one song.

While some in the audience were disappointed that Mr. Alexander offered no encore, his finale was an absolute riot. Entitled The Inappropriate Medley, he rushed through a compilation of songs (with an assortment of accompanying hats) sung by all the characters he has been told he will never be right to play, including such classics as Jesus from Jesus Christ Superstar, Anita from West Side Story, and Effie from Dreamgirls. It elicited hoots of laughter and bouts of boisterous applause from his crowd.


Louisville Orchestra POPS: Jason Alexander

September 27, 2014

Louisville Orchestra
Kentucky Center for the Arts
501 West Main Street
Louisville, KY 40202



EmilyPikeStewartlegitheadshot-2E. P. Stewart is proud to be a native Louisvillian and to support the city’s vibrant arts community. She has performed with several local companies and teaches in the conservatory at Walden Theatre. Emily holds a BFA from New York University. She creates audiobooks through her business GoBunny Media, and her work has earned multiple Audie Awards and a Grammy.