With the advent of podcasts as a new medium to provide a unique combo of education and entertainment, the DC theatre community welcomed it into the mainstream with happily attentive ears. Theatrical podcasts like The Original Cast started the local trend, and now we have the birth of a new brand: The American Popscast.
This podcast is the brainchild of Maestro Luke Frazier who is the creator and Music Director of The American Pops Orchestra founded in 2015. Well into its third season, the organization is changing minds with each show with the goal of reinventing what it means to attend and appreciate events that feature orchestral music.
“I want to remove the stigma that comes with orchestral music as something that people say isn’t for them,” said Frazier. “We are keeping the American songbook alive by breaking down the wall that keeps people from learning what an orchestra is and what it means.”
Since the beginning, Frazier and the orchestra booked big Broadway talent like Christine Ebersole – who just closed War Paint with Patti LuPone in New York – and combined them with pop stars like Michelle Williams of Destiny’s Child to create a brand new musical experience for their patrons. Cue the entrance of their podcast, or shall we refer to their branding and say “Popscast,” eh?
We asked Frazier why he started something that people rarely think of in relation to a night out at an orchestra concert. He said, “It’s a great way to connect with our audience and humanize the organization. People will get to know who’s creating the shows.”
Their kick-off episode featured Michael Peterson who co-led a one-of-a-kind community outreach program called Tranquility with Frazier. At this event, patrons participated in a yoga class that featured live orchestral musicians to set the mood. Amazing, right? And this is just the beginning!
The next two episodes will feature interviews with Mary Michael Patterson, the featured singer of the orchestra’s first concert in 2015 and who is on tour with Love Never Dies, the sequel to Phantom of the Opera, and Claybourne Elder, a DC favorite and writer of their upcoming children’s show Around the World in 80 Days.
Frazier and his team plan on at least 12 episodes per season featuring a range of guests from big stars to behind-the-scenes staff.
Here is how to get in on this: Download the first episode on iTunes and subscribe to stay updated on new installments. Then be sure get your tickets to see the orchestra in person! They conveniently have a holiday concert on Friday, December 15 at the MGM at National Harbor featuring television/film star Rumer Willis, Lea DeLaria of Orange is the New Black, pop sensation Mobley, and tapper Luke Hawkins alongside DC darling Nova Y. Payton.
Experiencing an orchestra now crosses mediums and The American Pops Orchestra is the leading the charge making this reality. So join the cool kids who listen to the Popscast, and we will see you and your friends at the next concert!