OKC Philharmonic to perform ‘Sounds of the Season’ Dec. 19 in Yukon

Annual Christmas concert features Broadway/TV star

Broadway and television star Max Von Essen will be the featured performer for Yukon’s annual “Sounds of the Season” concert Dec. 19 with the Oklahoma City Philharmonic. (Photo provided)

The Oklahoma City Philharmonic is back for one of Yukon’s favorite traditions.

The Philharmonic will present the “Sounds of the Season” holiday concert at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 19 inside the Yukon Fine Arts Auditorium, 850 Yukon Ave.

General admission tickets are $10 and are now on sale at the Yukon Community Center, 2200 S Holly; Jackie Cooper Gym, 1024 E. Main; the Dale Robertson Center, 1200 Lakeshore Drive; as well as all YNB locations.

This year’s concert features Broadway and television star Max Von Essen, as well as the Philharmonic Pops Chorale.

Maestro Joel Levine is returning from retirement to conduct the orchestra.

Von Essen recently starred on Broadway as Gleb Vaganov in Anastasia and then toured the country as Marvin in the Lincoln Center production of Falsettos. His debut album, Call Me Old Fashioned: The Broadway Standard, was released on April 5, 2019.

In 2016, Von Essen completed his run in An American in Paris at The Palace Theater as Henri Baurel, a performance which earned him a nomination for the 2015 Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Award. He also performed in the revival of Evita, playing the role of Agustin Magaldi and frequently stepping in for Ricky Martin in the role of Che.

Other Broadway appearances include Enjolras in the first revival of Les Misérables, Alfred in the ill-fated Dance of the Vampires, starring alongside Michael Crawford, Jean Prouvaire in the closing company of the original Les Misérables, and as a disciple in the 2000 revival of Jesus Christ Superstar.

In that production, Von Essen understudied the role of Jesus and performed it many times.

Among his numerous New York appearances are Yours Unfaithfully at The Mint Theater, Alfred Dreyfus in The Dreyfus Affair at BAM, Maury Yeston’s Death Takes a Holiday at the Roundabout Theatre Company, The Transport Group’s revival of Michael John LaChiusa’s Hello Again (Drama League nomination), Jerry Springer: The Opera at Carnegie Hall, Finian’s Rainbow at the Irish Repertory Theatre, and The Fantasticks at the Sullivan Street Playhouse.

Von Essen has also found himself roller skating across the country in the first national tour of Xanadu as Sonny Malone, as Mary Sunshine in the national tour of Chicago, as Tony in West Side Story throughout Europe and as a backup singer for the legendary Liza Minnelli.

Von Essen‘s regional credits are too numerous to list, but some personal favorites include Colonel Arbuthnot and Samuel Ratchett in the world premier adaptation of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express at The McCarter Theatre, Dominique in The Baker’s Wife at the Paper Mill Playhouse, older Patrick in Mame at The Kennedy Center, Tony in West Side Story at the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera and Houston Theater Under the Stars, Dorian Gray in Dorian at the NOHO Arts Center, the Emcee in Cabaret at The Sacramento Music Circus, Frederic in Pirates of Penzance at the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera, Claude in Hair at the Bay Street Theater and Joseph in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, also at the Sacramento Music Circus.

Von Essen has appeared on television in Law & Order: SVU, Elementary, Boardwalk Empire, The Good Wife, Royal Pains, Gossip Girl, The Beautiful Life, Good Morning America, The Rosie O’Donnell Show, The Tony Awards and in the films, The Intern, Sex and the City 2, Seven Lovers, and Blonde.

He was also a regular on the hit web series, Submissions Only. His recordings include An American In Paris, earning him a Grammy Nomination, Evita, Death Takes a Holiday, Love Songs of Andrew Lloyd Weber, Broadway by the Year: 1928, and Finian’s Rainbow.


Joel Levine is the longest serving music director in Oklahoma City’s history. Maestro Levine’s reputation for exceptional musical collaboration has enabled the Philharmonic to present one of the country’s most distinguished series of world-renowned guest artists. He has collaborated with many of the greatest performing artists of our time and has been called a “remarkable musician and visionary” by Yo-Yo Ma.

For three decades, Maestro Levine has conducted many of the city’s historic programs including “Porgy and Bess” with the legendary Cab Calloway, the Paris Opera Ballet starring Rudolf Nureyev, “Rodeo” for Ballet Oklahoma under the direction of Agnes DeMille, the Philharmonic’s 100th anniversary production of “La Boheme,” the State of Oklahoma’s official Centennial Celebration, and the National Memorial Service following the Oklahoma City bombing. He has also conducted Young People’s programs around the State for thousands of children, 25 Oklahoma City productions of “The Nutcracker” since 1980, and led programs featuring Oklahoma’s celebrated native stars including Vince Gill, Reba McEntire, Jimmy Webb, Patti Page, Blake Shelton, Toby Keith, Kristin Chenoweth, Kelli O’Hara, Megan Mullally, Sandi Patty, and Leona Mitchell.

He has received international recognition for performances reflecting many different styles in the classical repertoire.

Engagements in the great European capitals include concerts with the Czech National Symphony in Prague’s Dvorák Hall, and the Symphony Orchestra of Portugal in Lisbon. Other international invitations have included orchestras in Spain, Israel, Belgrade, Bucharest, and an appearance with the Mexico City Philharmonic.

Maestro Levine has conducted many of America’s major ensembles including three seasons with The National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. and the orchestras of St. Louis, Detroit, Minneapolis, Baltimore, Indianapolis, Seattle, Denver, Nashville and New Orleans.

Known for his work with major artists in the world of classical dance, he has conducted for three of the greatest male dancers: Rudolf Nureyev, Edward Villella, and Peter Martins. For the Kansas City Ballet, he collaborated with famed choreographer, Alvin Ailey and conducted the first contemporary performance of a “lost” Balanchine ballet, “Divertimento.”

Maestro Levine’s résumé includes collaborations with many of the immortal names of jazz, musical theater, film and television. Several of his recordings with Mexico’s Xalapa Symphony Orchestra are in international release and have been broadcast on the BBC.

Maestro Levine has taken an active role in the cultural life of Oklahoma City since he arrived in 1976 as music director for Lyric Theatre. He worked actively for the passage of MAPS 1 and played a key role in the renovation of our hall.

For his work as a founder of the Orchestra, he received The Governor’s Arts Award (1989), was named Oklahoma Musician of The Year (1991), is a 2008 “Treasures of Tomorrow” honoree of the Oklahoma Health Center Foundation, received the 2014 Stanley Draper Award for his contributions to downtown Oklahoma City, and has received an Honorary Doctorate in Music from Oklahoma City University.

The Sounds of the Season concert is hosted by the City of Yukon. It is made possible by generous sponsors who fund the event and make the very affordable $10 ticket price possible.

This year’s sponsors include YNB, The Kirkpatrick Family Fund; Schwarz Paving Company; OG&E; Integris Canadian Valley Hospital; Spanish Cove Retirement Center; Ingram, Smith and Turner Mortuary; BancFirst; Yanda & Son Funeral Home & Cremation Services; and Wesco Insurance Services.

For more information about the City of Yukon’s Christmas events, call 354-8442, 350-8937 or visit http://www.yukonok.gov/ChristmasinthePark.