The Boston Pops are putting an emphasis on the stars part of their stars and stripes celebration for July 4 this year.
The orchestra revealed on Thursday that “Hamilton” actor and singer Leslie Odom Jr. has been added to the Fireworks Spectacular lineup, joining previously announced musical guests Melissa Etheridge and Andy Grammer. The holiday show will be the Tony and Grammy Award-winning performer’s second appearance with the Pops in 2017 following a pair of performances in June at Symphony Hall.
The man behind Broadway’s version of Aaron Burr won’t be the event’s only big highlight, as the Firework Spectacular will also feature the world premiere of “The Sum of Us.” The orchestral piece is a brand new work composed by Tony winner and lyricist Jack Feldman, as well as musical theater icon and frequent Walt Disney film score composer Alan Menken.
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While this year’s show will be the first since longtime executive producer David Mugar stepped down in 2016, the Pops plan on maintaining many of the event’s beloved traditions. Fighter jets will once again take part in a military flyover during the opening performance of the “Star Spangled Banner,” and Grucci Fireworks will organize the 20-minute pyrotechnic extravaganza for the show’s explosive ending.
Additional performances include musical appearances by the U.S. Army Field Band and Soldiers' Chorus, plus patriotic locals like the Middlesex County Volunteers Fifes and Drums. The orchestra will also play selections from their recently released album, “Lights, Camera...Music! Six Decades of John Williams,” in honor of the former Pops conductor and legendary composer.
If you plan on attending this year’s July 4 festivities, make sure to get to the Hatch Shell early, as crowds of more than half a million people visit the Charles River Esplanade annually for the big bash.
If you go:
July 4, 8:30 p.m. to 11 p.m., DCR Memorial Hatch Shell, 47 David. G. Mugar Way, Boston, free, bostonpopsjuly4.org