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Media Contact:
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Tel: (852) 2721 9035
Cell: (852) 9776 8445
Email:doris.chan@hkphil.org

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Tel: (852) 2721 1585
Cell: (852) 6112 9575
Email:jenny.lee@hkphil.org

HKPO and Broadway Stars pay Tribute to
Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers with Song and Dance

19 February 2008

Hong Kong, 19 February 2008 – Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers are possibly the most famous dancing duo ever paired on screen. The Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra (HKPO) will present a unique combination of dance and song at the Easter weekend, 21 and 22 March, paying tribute to the most famous big-screen dancing legends of the 1930s and 40s. Backed by the versatile and brilliant Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, the concerts will feature famous song and dance numbers from such Fred and Ginger classics as such as Top Hat, Shall We Dance, The Gay Divorcee, Follow the Fleet as well as such Broadway musicals as Girl Crazy, Annie Get Your Gun, The Wizard of Oz and Kiss Me Kate. Michael Krajewski will conduct the HKPO, joined by four Broadway actors/actresses - Susan Egan, Doug LaBrecque, Joan Hess and Kirby Ward.

Fred Astaire made a total of 41 films, in 10 of which he was partnered by the woman whose name was to be inextricably linked with his, Ginger Rogers. More than that, their on-screen chemistry and undoubted dancing mastery created an entire musical genre; a genre in which dance was of equal – if not greater – importance than the song lyrics. The world’s greatest ballet masters and dancers – George Balanchine, Rudolph Nureyev and Mikhail Baryshnikov – all admired Astaire greatly, rating him one of the greatest dancers of the twentieth century.

Susan Egan has traversed all four corners of the entertainment industry, making powerful impressions in theatre, film, television and music. She starred on Broadway as Thoroughly Modern Millie, won critical acclaim as Broadway’s (longest-running) “Sally Bowles” in Cabaret, and received Tony Award and Drama Desk nominations for “Best Actress” as the original “Belle” in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.

Doug LaBrecque thrilled theatre audiences as The Phantom and Raoul in the Harold Prince production of The Phantom of the Opera. In addition, LaBrecque has starred on Broadway as Ravenal in the Hal Prince revival of Showboat, a role he also performed in Canada and Chicago. He was featured in Oscar Hammerstein’s 100th Birthday Celebration on Broadway at The Gershwin Theatre, and toured nationally with Les Miserables.

Joan Hess’s Broadway credits include Dirty Rotten Scoundrels as Sophia, Edie and Hattie in Kiss Me Kate , Patsy in Crazy for You and Ann in The 1940's Radio Hour, which she received a Best Actress Nomination. She appeared at Lincoln Center in the lead role in the powerful new Lynn Ahrens/Stephen Flaherty piece, Dessa Rose, directed by the 10 time Tony Award nominee, Graciela Daniele. Most recently, most recently she had the great fortune to play the plum role of Billie Dawn in Garson Kanin's classic play Born Yesterday.

Kirby Ward has worked in the arts on five continents and in film, television and stage for almost thirty years. When cast as Bobby Child in the London production of Crazy For You, his portrayal of the lead character in this West End premiere netted him an Olivier award nomination. As an actor, Ward has run the gamut of song and dance roles, playing every “Billy” or “Bobby” from My One and Only to 42nd Street. Departing from the song and dance motif has led him into such roles as King Herod in Jesus Christ Superstar.

Michael Krajewski is Principal Pops Conductor of the Houston, New Mexico and Jacksonville Symphonies, and is conductor of the New Hampshire Music Festival pops series. Much in demand as a guest conductor, he has appeared with the Boston Pops Orchestra and the symphony orchestras of San Francisco, Detroit, Baltimore and many others.

Programme Details:
Let’s face the music and dance -
A tribute to Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers

21 & 22/3/2008 (Friday and Saturday)
HK Cultural Centre Concert Hall 8 pm
HK$380, $280, $180, $120
Available at URBTIX outlets
URBTIX website: www.urbtix.hk
Reservations: 2734 9009
Credit Card booking: 2111 5999
Programme Enquiries: 2721 2030

Artists
Michael Krajewski conductor
Joan Hess, Kirby Ward dancers
Susan Egan, Doug LaBrecque vocalists

Programme
Highlights from big-screen musicals, including

Top Hat, White Tie and Tails
Steppin’ Out
Begin the Beguine
I Won’t Dance
Night And Day
Cheek To Cheek
Shall We Dance?
Slap That Bass
I Got Rhythm
Crazy for You overture
and more….

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ABOUT THE HONG KONG PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA
Hailed as “one of Asia's top orchestras”, the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra (HKPO) is led by the internationally renowned Artistic Director and Chief Conductor Edo de Waart. Enriching Hong Kong’s cultural life for over a century, the Orchestra has grown into a formidable ensemble of Chinese and international talents in the last three decades, attracting world-class artists to perform on the same stage. In April 2006, The Swire Group Charitable Trust became the Hong Kong Philharmonic’s Principal Patron, committing HK$36 million over three years to enable Maestro de Waart’s artistic vision for the Orchestra to be realized. HKPO annually touches the lives of 200,000 music lovers through more than 150 performances, including a series of outreach activities including the city’s largest outdoor symphonic concert in Happy Valley, Swire Symphony under the Stars. Please visit www.hkpo.com for more information about the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra.

The Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra is financially supported by the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

SWIRE is the Principal Patron of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra.