Pasadena POPS Set for Saturday Arboretum Debut

The Pasadena POPS open their first summer season at the Arboretum on Saturday,

Sure-footed Lucie Arnaz, who inherited her comedy chops from her parents, Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball, will appear with Robert Klein at the Pasadena POPS summer season opener at the on Saturday. 

Arnaz and Klein will offer a reprise of their 1979 hit Broadway show "They're Playing Our Song" with the Pasadena POPS orchestra, led by the show's composer, Marvin Hamlisch.

Hamlisch also serves as the POPS' principal conductor.

Saturday's opening night is sure to be a gala event, as it marks the beginning of an association between the Pasadena Symphony Association and the Los Angeles Arboretum Foundation, which oversees the operation of the Arboretum.

"It's one singular, sensational spot," Hamlisch said Thursday of the Arboretum.

He then sat down at a piano to play "Singular Sensation" from the hit musical "A Chorus Line" for a small gathering to celebrate the POPS' Arboretum debut.

The Pasadena POPS has taken over the venue formerly occupied by the California Philharmonic Orchestra for 15 years. The CalPhil orchestra, meanwhile, to , where they begin at their new home on June 30.

Pasadena Symphony Association CEO Paul Jan Zdunek said his organization has already sold more pre-sale tickets then all the tickets sold during the POPS' 2011 summer season.

He added that this season will go down as one of the POPS' best.

"We're looking forward to what wonderful surprises will be coming," Zdunek said, hinting at Hamlisch's penchant for inviting unannounced guest performers to surprise concert goers.

The collaboration for the POPS first concert of the summer season combines the talents of Arnaz and Klein with conductor Hamlisch to offer scenes from "They're Playing our Song." That show, with a book by Neil Simon, lyrics by Carole Bayer Sager and music by Marvin Hamlisch, was based on Hamlisch and award-winning lyricist Sager's relationship — one that was apparently full of wisecracks from him and off-beat observations from her. 

Arnaz, in singing the title song, tells us "It's a total expression of me."

We believe that. Arnaz will also present a musical tribute to her mom and dad. 

The Pasadena POPS Orchestra concert begins at 7:30 p.m. with gates open for picnicking at 5:30 p.m. Ticket prices begin at $10 for children and $20 for adults. Seating arrangements include a lawn area at the rear of the Bauer Lawn and tables surrounding the stage.

For tickets or more information, contact the Pasadena Symphony and POPS Box Office at www.PasadenaSymphony-Pops.org or call (626) 793-7172.

Order ahead at Pasadena's Porta Via and Marston's restaurants or Juilenne in San Marino and have your meal waiting for you at the Arboretum. There will also be several upscale food trucks available, including a dessert one.

The Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden is located at 301 N. Baldwin Ave., Arcadia.  Information: (626) 793-7172.

The Pasadena POPS Summer Concert Schedule is as follows:

June 16

"They're Playing Our Song."

Guest Performers: Lucille Arnaz and Robert Klein


July 21

A Tribute to Cole Porter

Guest Performer: Michael Feinstein


August 18

A musical medley of opera, pop, rock and Broadway hits

Guest Performers: Poperazzi


September 8

A Tribute to Gershwin

Guest Performer: Kevin Cole


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