Orchestral maneuvers in the park

By Kali Jo Wolkow
Michael Seelbach, courtesy photo

Lansing Symphony starts summer with a trip to the '80s

Tuesday, June 4 — The ‘80s are cycling back into more than just 21st century fashion. Wednesday, they’re taking center stage at the Lansing Symphony Orchestra’s Summer Pops Concert, “Music of the ‘80s.”

Lansing residents voted for the set at the Pick Your Picnic Pops contest in April. Now, the LSO has invited everyone to party like it’s 1999 at its two-hour concert, featuring both symphonic and individual performances conducted by recently renewed maestro, Timothy Muffitt. Local radio personality Tim Barron will serve as emcee.

Special guests include Broadway performers Michael Seelbach and Jenny Lee Stern — who will sing along with the LSO on a few of the pieces — and Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero (who will introduce the concert, not sing). Despite the show’s name, however, the weather is expected to be decidedly un-summery, with temperatures in the low 50s, and there’s about a 40 percent chance of rain, according to the National Weather Service.

Jenny Lee Stern, courtesy photo Courtney Millbrook, executive director of LSO, said Stern and Seelbach are particularly known for their energy, adding that both were selected for the vitality they will bring to the show. The Broadway veterans will cover a medley of the decade’s favorites, featuring songs by David Bowie, Prince, Bruce Springsteen and Madonna. The LSO will roll through the decade with numbers such as “It’s still Rock and Roll to Me,” “Faith” and “Footloose,” which has a personal connection with Seelbach.

After making his 1998 debut in this ‘80s musical adaptation of “Footloose,” Seelbach went on to perform in “Jesus Christ Superstar” and “Wicked.” His talents have also been seen taking decade dives Off Broadway in performances such as the ‘30s-era spoof “Reefer Madness” and the ‘60s-set rock musical “Hair.” Stern, meanwhile, has been part of the Broadway national touring production of “Jersey Boys,” as well as regional theater productions of “Chicago” and “Grease.”

“Michael and I are super excited, “Stern said. “(The show) will be a flashback to our childhoods. It lets us go back in time and reminisce about growing up.”

Lansing Symphony Orchestra Summer Pops Concert
Featuring “Music of the ‘80s"
7 p.m. Wednesday Adado Riverfront Park, Lansing