Like the sailors on shore leave in “On the Town,” New Orleans' own 610 Stompers had a memorable experience in the Big Apple in 2010.
The male dance team was in New York to perform in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade and, in their free time, went to see the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall. The show gave Stomper Paul Treuting an idea.
“I got the inspiration to do a New Orleans version of what they do in New York,” Treuting said.
Treuting's brainstorm became a Broadway-style song and dance extravaganza that he produced for the 610 Stompers, and the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra premiered it as a holiday-themed pops piece in 2015. The third annual “Holiday Spectacular: From the Big Apple to the Big Easy,” headlining the Stompers, will be staged Saturday night and Sunday afternoon at the Orpheum Theater.
Led by guest conductor Constantine Kitsopoulos, 22 Stompers will star in seven of the 20 pieces. Also performing will be the tap-dancing Double Steppers, the concert choir from Landry/Walker High School, the St. Michael Special School Bell Choir and two soloists: Olivia Gray and Nina Ballon, both of the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts.
Audiences will hear Christmas standards like “Jingle Bells,” “Silent Night” and “White Christmas,” as well as Broadway show tunes from “Chicago,” “A Chorus Line,” “Cats,” “Annie” and “Hamilton.”
“We wanted to branch out and find a newer audience and help bring a new audience to LPO," Treuting said. "So it was mutually beneficial ... We dance and they play the music, and it’s a great way to kick off the holiday season in New Orleans.”
In a loose storyline, dancers audition for roles in the Broadway productions featuring their show tunes. “This gives us the opportunity to do a number of different dance styles and musical styles, all within one show,” Treuting said. “For anyone who likes Broadway with some holiday music, it’s going to be a lot of fun to listen to and dance to, and our story will connect all these songs.”
A financial adviser by profession, Treuting described the 610 Stompers, founded in 2009, as “a group of men who need to dance — not just want to dance. We enjoy the camaraderie and the opportunities we’re given to bring joy to our community.”
LPO hired two local choreographers, Karen Hebert and Kelly Fouchi, for the show. Amanda Wuerstlin, LPO’s director of education and community engagement, is coordinating. “These guys have taken an extra special dedication in learning these dance routines,” Wuerstlin said. “These dances are nothing like you’d see danced down St. Charles Avenue. They are diligently putting in the extra work to perfect these moves and make them something special.”
Next up for the LPO is its annual “Baroque Christmas” featuring Handel’s “Messiah” on Dec. 14 at the Orpheum and Dec. 15 in Covington. With its stirring "Hallelujah!" chorus, the 1741 oratorio has become one of the world’s most beloved choral works.
Soloists are soprano Brandie Sutton, mezzo-soprano Kayla Siembieda, tenor Casey Candebat and baritone Dennis Jesse. They will be joined onstage by the NOVA Masterworks Chorale under the direction of Meg Hulley Frazier.
Roderick Cox, associate conductor of the Minnesota Orchestra, will lead the production.
Holiday Spectacular: From the Big Easy to the Big Apple Starring the 610 Stompers
and the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday
WHERE: Orpheum Theater, 129 Roosevelt Way, New Orleans
Baroque Christmas featuring Handel’s “Messiah”
Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra
WHEN/WHERE: 7:30 p.m. Dec. 14, Orpheum Theater, 129 Roosevelt Way, New Orleans and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 15, First Baptist Church, 16333 La. 1085, Covington, LA
INFO: (504) 523-6530. lpomusic.com