Sept.22, 2018 at 8PM | Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater

You’ve Got a Friend: A Singer-Songwriter Celebration will feature music by the greatest American singer-songwriters, including James Taylor, Nina Simone, Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Joan Baez and more. This will be a fresh, APO take on the songs that have woven the tapestry of American music in the classic singer-songwriter era.

“These artists all share a common legacy: they’re committed to bringing people together through music that uplifts and unites us all, and their songs are immediately recognizable and relatable.” says Luke Frazier, APO’s musical director and founder. “With so much talk about how divided our country is, there couldn’t be a better time to share and celebrate their songs as part of the American songbook, and their artistic spirit as part of our culture that binds us together.” 

Saturday, September 22, 2018
8:00 PM

Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater -
Fichandler Stage

1101 6th St SW
Washington, DC 20024

Rayshun LaMarr

Rayshun LaMarr was born and raised in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. He discovered his gift of singing at the young age of seven. It was later on that Rayshun moved to Washington, D.C. and attended The Duke Ellington School of the Arts as a Vocal Performance major. To further his studies, he enrolled in Philadelphia’s University of the Arts (UARTS), as a Vocal Jazz major with a minor in Classical Music. Rayshun’s exceptional training coupled with his natural gift of music is stellar.

After college, Rayshun sored to new heights including a win of Best Male Vocalist and Most Outstanding Vocalist in a national singing competition in Missouri.  He released his debut album “The Legacy Begins” in 2007 and in 2015 Rayshun sang at Diana Ross’s estate for her son Evan Ross’s wedding. Rayshun continues to perform around the world with several artists and groups. Most recently, Rayshun toured with The Legend Stephanie Mills and the international award-winning band, “Sound Connection”.

Rayshun LaMarr’s talent also landed him roles in musical theatre shows such as, Freedom’s Song at the legendary Ford’s Theater, Samson the Musical, The Wiz, Shake Loose, Blackberry Daze, Ragtime and many more.

Rayshun’s new success recently came from the Emmy Award-winning Tv show NBC The Voice.

In the blind audition of The Voice Season 14, Rayshun LaMarr impressed all the judges with his incredible vocal range when he performed Don’t Stop Believing by Journey.  As a cancer survivor, LaMarr underwent extreme medications and chemotherapy which made him temporarily lose his voice and hearing. Incredibly gifted with a unique voice, LaMarr is amongst the strongest contender in The Voice 2018.

He delivers a smooth and mature sound influenced by Stevie Wonder, Donnie Hathaway, Ella Fitzgerald, Otis Redding and John Legend. Rayshun would like to thank GOD, his family and friends, and most of all the people who support him and his ambitions.

Nia Savoy

Nia Savoy is a senior Musical Theatre major at Howard University from Shreveport, LA. She has been in Howard University’s Department of Theatre Arts productions of Sarafina and Aint’ Misbehavin’ and Toby Dinner Theatres’ productions of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Mamma Mia!. Savoy is the 2015 Michael Feinstein Great American Songbook Inspiration Award Winner and one of the first place winners of the 2018 NextGen: Finding the Voices of Tomorrow Vocal Competition.

Ari Shapiro

Ari Shapiro is the award-winning host of NPR'sAll Things Considered, the most listened-to radio news program in the United States. As a journalist, he has reported from above the Arctic Circle and aboard Air Force One. He has covered wars in Iraq, Ukraine, and Israel and filed stories from five continents. Before joining the All Things Considered host team in 2015, he was NPR’s international correspondent based in London. Shapiro joined NPR’s international desk after four years as White House Correspondent during the Obama presidency. In 2012, he embedded with the presidential campaign of Republican Mitt Romney. He was NPR’s Justice Correspondent for five years during the George W. Bush administration.

Ari is also a frequent guest performer with the "little orchestra" Pink Martini, from Portland, Oregon. He has appeared on four of the band’s albums, singing in several languages. Since his 2009 debut at the Hollywood Bowl, he has performed in some of the world’s most storied venues, including Royal Albert Hall in London, L’Olympia in Paris, and Carnegie Hall in New York. He was featured in the American debut of the play Request Concert at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. He was also a guest singer in the Washington Ballet’s original production of The Sun Also Rises and a soloist at the Kennedy Center with the Washington Chorus in Igor Stravinsky’s Oedipus Rex. In 2016, Ari debuted his original one-man show, Homeward, as part of the Halcyon House cabaret series in Washington, DC. He subsequently performed it at Joe’s Pub in New York, with featured guest singer Alan Cumming.

Mariand Torres

Broadway: Wicked (Elphaba Standby), Original cast of In Transit. National Tour/International: Wicked (Elphaba Standby), Japan world premiere of Prince of Broadway, directed by Harold Prince/Susan Stroman. Off-Broadway: School of Rock (World Premiere, Gramercy Theatre), Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812 (Original Off B’way Cast). Select Regional: Eva Peron in Evita (Kansas City Rep), Lady of the Lake in Spamalot (Connecticut Rep), world premiere of Michael John LaChiusa's Giant (Signature Theatre). TV: Madam Secretary. Mariand has also participated in the development of new musicals with New York Theatre Workshop, LAByrinth Theatre Company, New York Stage and Film, The Old Globe and Yale Rep, to name a few. She has performed in concerts in throughout NYC (Lincoln Center, Birdland Jazz, Joe's Pub and others) and as far as Beijing, China. 

Yasmin Williams

Yasmin Williams is an acoustic fingerstyle guitarist with an unorthodox, modern style of playing. She utilizes various techniques including alternate tunings, percussive hits, and lap tapping techniques in her music to great effect. She has won various local talent shows, was a finalist in the Rolling Stones Young Gun guitar competition, was the Grand Prize winner of New York University's Ultra Violet Live talent show, and was the Grand Champion of Culpeper Has Talent. She grew up in northern Virginia where various genres of music from smooth jazz to hip-hop were played in her household. She was introduced to the guitar after playing the video game Guitar Hero in 2009. She begged her parents to buy her a real electric guitar and once she received her first guitar and amplifier, she taught herself how to play the guitar by ear. After a few years of playing the electric guitar, she taught herself how to play the bass guitar, 12 string guitar, and classical guitar and eventually decided to switch her focus to the acoustic guitar because she discovered the music of other spectacular acoustic guitarists. She graduated from NYU in 2018 with a degree in Music Theory and Composition. Her first EP, Serendipity, released in 2012, is available online via her Bandcamp page. Her first full-length album, Unwind, is out now on her Bandcamp page, iTunes, and all major streaming services.