Four and a half stars
Northwest Airlines Pops series Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra; Hilbert Circle Theatre; June 1-3
This Symphonic Pops world premiere sparkled with arrangements of a past generation of songs and the stylists who made them famous. Conductor Jack Everly, whose opening downbeat facing the audience precluded a gasp of delight when we spotted the neon lights on the back of his jacket when he turned away, delivered a combination of glitz and understated risqué-ness. Impersonation reached a high point with pianist Martin Preston as a tastefully charismatic Liberace performing on the Olympic-Steinway by Chihuly and vocalist Brian Duprey’s stylistic tribute to Frank Sinatra. Joe Cassidy and Allison Briner artfully carried off a “Joe & Ally” knock-off routine. The “fabulous Vegas showgirls” are indeed just that. Entertainment Themes Indiana, Inc. filled the lobby with gaming stations and a pianist played whatever came to mind, all thoroughly enjoyed during pre- and post-concert and intermission. And, yes, Elvis showed up in multiple forms before he “left the building.” As always, the mainstay is the fabulous playing by the ISO, whose configuration and personnel changed to include a swing band.