The recently announced lineup of performers scheduled to visit the Naples Philharmonic Center during their 2011-12 season reads like a who's who list of acting, singing, musical and entertainment greats, the likes which have never been seen in Southwest Florida before.
Names like Tony Bennett, Liza Minnelli, Debbie Reynolds, Larry King, Barbara Walters, Yanni and Loretta Lynn are all bringing their talents to The Phil this upcoming season, which will launch with a performance by Huey Lewis & The News on Nov. 2.
"This is our most wide-ranging season ever," said Myra Janco Daniels, founder and CEO of the Philharmonic Center. "There's truly something for everyone at The Phil in 2011-12."
'Memphis,' the 2010 Tony Award winner for Best Musical, will come to the Naples Philharmonic for eight performances, from Feb. 14-19, 2012.
The opening night gala, on Nov. 5, will feature a performance by Broadway superstar Audra McDonald and the Naples Philharmonic Orchestra. McDonald, who portrays Dr. Naomi Bennett on the ABC television drama "Private Practice," is a four-time Tony Award winner who will star in the new production of "Porgy & Bess" this fall in New York City.
The Phil's Legend Series features Oscar, Grammy, Golden Globe and Tony-winning singer Liza Minnelli (Jan. 11), 15-time Grammy winning singer Tony Bennett (March 21) and Hollywood icon Debbie Reynolds (March 25), best known for her roles in "Singin' In The Rain" and "Tammy and the Bachelor."
Back by popular demand in the Encore Series is Johnny Mathis (Jan. 9), Michael Feinstein (Feb. 4), Neil Sedaka (March 22) and Yanni (April 22). Highlighting the Jazz Series is singer/pianist Diana Krall (Feb. 12), Wynton Marsalis & The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra (March 11) and "Piano 2 Piano" with Brian Culbertson and David Benoit (March 24).
Larry King (Jan. 22), Barbara Walters (Feb. 20) and Bill O'Reilly (March 12) are featured in the Speaker Series, while Loretta Lynn (Dec. 8) and Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder (March 16) comprise the upcoming Country Series.
Rock fans will enjoy The Music of Queen with guest conductor Brent Havens (Nov. 21), A Tribute to The Beatles (Dec. 5-6) and ABBA: The Concert (May 18).
Longtime patrons of The Phil will want to take part in a very special pair of tributes to Daniels, who announced her retirement earlier this year. A "Thank You Myra" Grand Gala, featuring the Naples Philharmonic Orchestra with Boston Pops conductor Keith Lockhart, will be held on Jan. 14 at 8 p.m. The following day from noon to 4 p.m. is "Thank You Myra" Community Day & Open House.
"This year will close the curtain on my own involvement as CEO of The Phil - but the show must go on!" added Daniels.
Highlights of this year's holiday lineup includes Miami City Ballet's performances of The Nutcracker (Nov. 26-27), Dave Koz & Friends (Nov. 28) and Michael McDonald (Dec. 9).
The Broadway Series will include 2010 Tony Award winner for Best Musical "Memphis" (Feb. 14-19), "Le Miserables" (Jan. 24-29), "Damn Yankees" (Feb. 2), "La Cage Aux Folles" featuring George Hamilton (Feb. 28-March 4), "Fiddler On The Roof" (March 26) and "Come Fly Away," a new musical featuring vocals by Frank Sinatra (April 5-7).
Other highlights on the 2011-12 calendar include Regis & Joy Philbin in concert with an 18-piece orchestra (Dec. 29), Dennis Miller (Jan. 4), "Blues Brothers - The Original Tribute" (Feb. 3), John Pizzarelli (Feb. 7-8), Lynda Carter (Feb. 9-10), Charo (March 13-14) and Sergio Mendes & Jon Secada (April 10).
For additional information or to purchase tickets, call 239-597-1900 or visit www.ThePhil.org.