Q&A with Doug Labrecque


A conversation with the tenor who joins the Dallas Symphony in a program highlighting the music of George Gershwin.

by Keith Mankin
published Monday, September 4, 2017

Dallas — Someone once said that everyone in America, whether they know it or not, has a Gershwin song running through their head. The Dallas Symphony Orchestra will open their Pops season tapping into that universality with a concert entitled Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, Sept. 8-10 at the Meyerson Symphony Center.

Jeff Tyzik, the Orchestra’s Principal Pops Conductor, a well-known interpreter of Gershwin as well as the entire American Songbook, will be joined by pianist Jon Nakamatsu and tenor Doug LaBrecque in an exploration of Gershwin’s career from his early beginnings and influences to his famous and untimely death of a brain tumor in 1937. The concert includes many of his great orchestral works, of course, including the titular Rhapsody in Blue, Gershwin’s rhythmically astonishing Piano Concerto in F, and the sinuous Cuban Overture now enjoying a much-deserved renaissance. But the program also centers on the popular and Broadway songs that are the very heart of Gershwin’s art. Unlike some programs where the vocal works are the filler that makes a Pops concert “Pop,” Tyzik and LaBrecque have incorporated them to showcase the songs as an integral part of Gershwin’s development and legacy as a composer.

I caught up with LaBrecque to talk about his role in the concert and about the importance of George Gershwin as a songwriter. The tenor has an extensive theatrical résumé, including portrayals of both Raoul and the Phantom in The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway and Gaylord Ravenal in Hal Prince’s recent revival of Show Boat. His regional theater credits are vast as well, but he is particularly proud of his concert experience. He is a self-proclaimed ambassador for both the American and Broadway Songbooks and is a veteran of many appearances on the Meyerson stage.

Read full article here.