In 2001, John Sawoski arranged, orchestrated, played, and conducted a concert at the Library of Congress, produced by Dennis McNeil, and featuring Lisa Vroman and two other sopranos, all three of whom had played the role of Christine Daaé in Andrew Lloyd Websber's The Phantom of the Opera.
Sawoski and the Phantom sopranos then co-founded a partnership, creating an act called "The Leading Ladies," which they performed across the country until 2006 in many live concert venues as well as on television and CD. Aside from hiring the musicians, conducting, playing the piano, and co-managing the business, Sawoski created around 200 arrangements and orchestrations for trio, quartet, six players, ten players, 14 players, 18-21 piece big band, small orchestra (around 30-35 players), and larger orchestras of up to 53 musicians (with expanded woodwind and percussion sections), much of which is still being performed around the world today. He also co-produced the group's CD in 2002.
The Leading Ladies, under the musical direction of John Sawoski, performed at theatres such as the Annenberg ( Palm Springs, CA ), the Norris (Palos Verdes, CA), and the Cinegrill in Hollywood. They appeared in galas for Oklahoma City Repertory Theatre, A.G. Edwards and the American Heart Association, in San Francisco ’s R.E.A.F. AIDS benefits and L.A. ’s S.T.A.G.E. benefits, and on national television for the 2004 Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon – sharing the stage with Michael Feinstein, Maureen McGovern, Lucie Arnaz, Tony Danza, Jack Jones and many others. Musicians contracted and/or conducted by Sawoski included members of the Stockton Symphony, top Los Angeles session and freelance players like Rick Baptist, Ken Wild, Larry White, Gene Cipriano, Sal Lozano, Albie Berk, Dave Tull, Dave Stone, Steve Pemberton, Kirk Smith, and many more. The group also appeared with the Capistrano Valley Symphony and the Boca Pops, with orchestrations and piano-playing by John Sawoski.
Eventually the Phantom's leading ladies Laurie Gayle Stephenson, Mary D'Arcy, and Luann Aronson performed with the group as well.
Playbill Online published several articles about the new group, among them "...'Leading Ladies' ... New Concert Act"
Regarding Sawoski's work, The Leading Ladies vocalists said: "We feel really lucky to have found our musical director, John Sawoski. He’s a fabulous pianist and his arrangements are so wonderful!"
"Extraordinary... Superb voices and blend are truly magic…" -- Lee Miller, Producer, 2004 Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon
"I could have listened all night." -- Rick Rogers, The Daily Oklahoman
"Pure, elegant fun!" -- Peter Jaffe, conductor, The Stockton Symphony
Satisfied clients included:
THE 2004 JERRY LEWIS MDA TELETHON
THE PALM SPRINGS AIR MUSEUM
THE AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION
THE CHILDREN’S BURN FOUNDATION
THE CENTER THEATRE GROUP, LOS ANGELES
THE MIZNER CENTRE FOR THE ARTS, BOCA RATON, FL
THE RICHMOND-ERMET AIDS FOUNDATION, SAN FRANCISCO
THE JEWISH VOCATIONAL SERVICE
THE RUBICON THEATRE COMPANY, VENTURA, CA
THE QUEEN CREEK PERFORMING ARTS CENTER, QUEEEN CREEK, AZ
THE CALIFORNIA YACHT CLUB
KEMPER LESNIK INSURANCE
THE JONATHAN CLUB
OKLAHOMA CITY REPERTORY THEATRE
THE GRUPE COMPANY
THE ANNENBERG THEATRE, PALM SPRINGS, CA
THE NORRIS THEATRE, PALOS VERDES, CA
THE SOUTHLAND THEATRE ARTSTS GOODWILL EVENT (S.T.A.G.E.)
LEISURE WORLD, SEAL BEACH, CA
Tony Danza with Lisa Vroman, John Sawoski, and others backstage after The Leading Ladies performed at Salon XII at the Taper, It's Magic, Celebrating Musical Legacy of Songwriter Sammy Cahn, April 19, 2004. The show featured Michael Feinstein, Barry Manilow, Tony Danza, The Leading Ladies, Jack Jones, Robert DiNiro, Niki Haris, Gogi Grant, Wesla Whitfield, Rodney Gilfry, Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr.
Lisa Vroman with M.C. Monty Hall, after The Leading Ladies performed at the Jewish Vocational Service's 75th Anniversary Gala at Loew's Santa Monica Beach Hotel, Santa Monica, CA.
Guest vocalist Laurie Gayle Stephenson, Conductor Karl Jurman, and Mary D'Arcy after The Leading Ladies' April 2004 outdoor concert with orchestra at Mizner Centre in Boca Raton, Florida.
The late John Raitt, Lisa Vroman and Dennis McNeil raising their glasses and making a toast after The Leading Ladies performed at Salon XII at the Taper.
Lisa Vroman performing with The Leading Ladies and members of the Stockton Symphony at the 2003 Grupe Country Fair at Shady Oaks in Lodi, California.
- Jack Jones having a drink with
- The Leading Ladies at Salon XII at the Taper.
Drummer Carl Rigoli, bassist Richard Maloof, Mary D'Arcy, and John Sawoski after concert at Fullerton's Plummer Auditorium.
Senator Alan Simpson after attending The Leading Ladies performance at the 2003 Palm Springs Air Museum Gala.
Lisa Vroman on Broadway
Baritone Robbie Britt after performing in concert with The Leading Ladies.
Elizabeth Ward Land after singing at January 2004 event honoring Harriet Hochman, the new Chair of the Board, The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles
The Leading Ladies with Pianist/Musical Director John Sawoski after Holiday 2001 Concert in Hollywood
For more historical information about The Leading Ladies, search for TheLeadingLadies.com at http://www.archive.org .
Audio of The Leading Ladies is not currently available online, although used CD's may be purchased through eBay.
|For John Sawoski's approved biography, click here.|
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