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The Dayton Philharmonic Travels the “Freeway of Love” in 2020 with a Rockin’ Queens of Soul Concert Featuring a Tribute to the One and Only Aretha Franklin

DAYTON, OH (December 10, 2019) – On Saturday, January 4, 2020 at 8 pm in the Mead Theatre of the Schuster Center, the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, under the direction of Conductor Neal Gittleman, will present the third concert in the 2019–2020 Dayton Freight Rockin’ Orchestra Series, Queens of Soul, with a Tribute to Aretha Franklin.

Neal Gittleman and the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra (DPO) kick off the New Year 2020 just right with a jam-packed performance featuring some of the most exciting women of rock over the last six decades. Soul meets symphony at the Schuster through the music greats of Whitney Houston, Tina Turner, Etta James, Adele, and of course the Queen of Soul herself, Aretha Franklin. This tribute to these ladies of soul is a full-on extravaganza of pop and orchestral music, with three headliner vocalists out front doing their thing!

No tribute to the Queens of Soul would be complete without the anthem “Proud Mary” by Tina Turner to set the tone for the night to come. The evening continues with Tina’s 1984 hit “What’s Love Got to Do with It,” Etta James’ unforgettable “At Last,” Whitney’s show-stopping “I Wanna Dance with Somebody,” Adele’s emotional “Rolling in the Deep,” and smash hits by other queens of soul we all know and love. Then, this special tribute to Aretha Franklin will bring some of THE Queen of Soul’s biggest hits to the stage, including songs like “Freeway of Love,” “I Never Loved a Man (the Way I Love You),” and the battle cry for just a little “Respect.”

The DPO proudly invites guest vocalists Shayna Steele, Tamika Lawrence, and Brie Cassil to the Schuster Center stage for this performance. All three women have had outstanding musical career to date and are sure to leave their undisputed mark on the music world as their careers continue to soar.

On stage and in the studio, New York City–based vocalist and songwriter Shayna Steele proves she is a vocal force with which to be reckoned. After Broadway appearances in Rent, Jesus Christ Superstar and the original cast of Hairspray, Steele began writing music with partner David Cook in 2002. The two quickly developed a creative synergy, collaborating on Steele’s eponymous debut album in 2004, from which emerged her breakout soul-funk single “High Yella.” She has since taken the stage alongside big names in the industry, including with luminaries Ledisi, as opening act for George Clinton and the Sugar Hill Gang, as featured singer with Björkestra, and with Grammy-winning conductor, composer, and trumpeter Dave Douglas. Steele has worked with music greats like Natasha Bedingfield, John Legend, Queen Latifah, Dolly Parton, Rihanna and Kelly Clarkson. Her voice has been featured on several movie productions, including the film soundtracks to Hairspray, The Bourne Legacy, and Sex and the City 2, as well as small screen musical features, including NBC’s “Smash,” the BBC’s 2008 Summer Olympic Highlights, and HBO’s “The Sopranos.” This December, Steele reprised her original role with the Dynamites in NBC’s “Hairspray Live.”

Tamika Lawrence is a Grammy-winning recording artist and actor whose credits stretch from Broadway to television to film to the rock ’n’ roll stage. She has appeared on stage productions both on- and off-Broadway, including Come from Away, Gettin’ the Band Back Together, Beautiful, If/Then, Matilda, The Book of Mormon, RENT, and The Tempest. Her television credits include “The Last OG,” “The Wiz Live!” “Blue Bloods,” “Law and Order: SVU,” and HBO’s “Vinyl” and “Show Me a Hero.” Lawrence has also appeared on the big screen in White Girl and Breakable You. Her powerful vocals have been featured on the soundtracks of Dear Evan Hansen and The Greatest Showman, and she has worked with music artists The Roots, Idina Menzel, Hugh Jackman, and Zendaya. She recently released her debut solo album Two Faced, and in 2017, she released the album UGLY by Tamika and The Slay, available for download on all music platforms. The New York Times calls Lawrence simply “rock dreams in confidence.”

Brie Cassil is a singer, actress, and composer who also makes her home in New York City. Music has led her to stages all over the world, from Musical Theatre Workshops in Brazil to an opening gig with her band Rebel for Guns N’ Roses’s original drummer Adler. Cassill has performed across all genres of music in her career, from opera to rock. She has graced the stage with roles in several smash-hit theater productions, including Belle in Beauty and the Beast, Little Sally in Urinetown, Mimi in RENT, Suzy in The Marvelous Wonderettes, and Blast in new rock musical Chix 6. Queens of Soul offers Cassil the opportunity to honor some of the biggest influences who have shaped her electrifying musical career.

Tickets for Queens of Soul start at $24 and are available at Ticket Center Stage (937) 228-3630 or online at www.daytonperformingarts.org. Senior, teacher and student discounts are available at the box office. For more information or to order subscriptions, including flexible subscription types that include performances by Dayton Philharmonic, Dayton Opera and Dayton Ballet, visit www.daytonperformingarts.org.

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About the Dayton Performing Arts Alliance
The Dayton Performing Arts Alliance was formed in July 2012 as the result of a groundbreaking and innovative merger between the Dayton Ballet, the Dayton Opera, and the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra. Together, they are the largest performing arts organization in the community, offering a tremendous variety of performance and education programs and setting a new standard for artistic excellence.  Dayton Performing Arts Alliance performances are made possible in part by Montgomery County and Culture Works, the single largest source of community funds for the arts and culture in the Miami Valley. The Dayton Performing Arts Alliance also receives partial funding from the Ohio Arts Council, a state agency created to foster and encourage the development of the arts and to preserve Ohio’s cultural heritage. Funding from the Ohio Arts Council is an investment of state tax dollars that promotes economic growth, educational excellence, and cultural enrichment for all Ohio residents. In 2013, The Dayton Performing Arts Alliance was thrilled to be one of five performing arts organizations in the country selected to receive a three-year “Music Alive” grant from New Music USA and the League of American Orchestras. The Dayton Performing Arts Alliance is the proud recipient of a 2017-2018 Art Works grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.