Broadway’s Brightest Lights shines the spotlight on some of the best and brightest talents of today! Curated and conducted by Luke Frazier, the evening features brand new arrangements performed by The American Pops Orchestra.

You can be part of a concert that will be broadcast on PBS later this year!

Tony Award-winning Broadway star Megan Hilty (NBC’s Smash, Wicked, Annie Live!) is joined by Michael Maliakel (Disney’s Aladdin, The Phantom of the Opera, Monsoon Wedding), Nikki Renée Daniels (Company, Hamilton), and Tommy Sutter (White Christmas, Samson et Delilah) to perform some of the greatest showtunes of all time. From Golden Age classics to today’s hits direct from the stages of Broadway, this one-night-only event has something for theatre fans of all ages.

Meet the cast and other PBS associates at the post-concert gala by donating to WUCF through this link or by calling WUCF’s Member Services Team at 407-823-4958.

This event is held in partnership with WUCF as part of their 10th anniversary celebrations.

UCF faculty and staff, and students from any institution with a valid ID can use the code ILOVEUCF2023 for a $5 discount.

WUCF PBS logo.  American Pops Orchestra logo.

Broadway’s Brightest Lights


Megan Hilty
Nikki Renée Daniels
Michael Maliakel
Tommy Sutter
Luke Frazier & The American Pops Orchestra


Musical Selections Include*:

Lerner and Loewe Overture
Just In Time
In the Still of the Night
Wherever He Ain’t
Whatever Lola Wants
If I Loved You/Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow
Send in the Clowns
Suddenly Seymour
Trolley Song
Being Alive
I Dreamed a Dream
It All Fades Away
Before the Parade Passes By/Don’t Rain on My Parade

*Musical Selections subject to change

Orchestrations and Arrangements by:

Nicholas Connors
Conor Keelan
Mitchell McCarthy
Scott Ninmer
Ryan Shirar
Nick Wilders


The American Pops Orchestra

Luke Frazier, Founder and Music Director


Violin I
Hilary Castle Green, Concertmaster
Dilyana Tsenov

Violin II
Maria Im, Principal
Luke Wedge

Hilary Gamble
Elizabeth Stahr O’Hara, Principal

Sean Neidlinger, Principal
Sam Quiggins

Greg Watkins, Principal

Garrett Gleason, Principal

Chris Barrick, Principal

Alex Tang, Principal

Gréta Ásgeirsson, Principal

Brittany Maroud, Principal

Alicia Maloney, Principal

Chris Reardon, Principal

Lauren Yu, Principal

Alto Saxophone
Jeffery Siegfried

Tenor Saxophone
Dave Doescher

Bari Saxophone
Michelle Acton

Philippe Brunet, Principal

Amy Horn, Principal

James Martin, Principal


Production Crew


Executive Producer: Nouveau Productions
Director: Kelly d’Amboise
Production Stage Manager: Lynn Krynicki
Lead Audio Engineer: Amanda Raymond
Assistant Stage Manager: Kayla Rooplal


Cast Bios


Most recognizable for her portrayal of seasoned triple-threat Ivy Lynn in NBC’s musical drama Smash, Tony nominee Megan Hilty is a dynamic performer both on stage and on screen. Hilty most recently played Lily in Annie Live! on NBC. Before that, Megan had the great pleasure of filming Patsy & Loretta, directed by Callie Khouri for Lifetime. Megan was nominated for a Critics Choice Award for Best Actress in a Limited Series for her performance as Patsy Cline. Megan’s television credits include Bravo’s dramedy Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce, Hulu’s Difficult People, the final season of CBS’s The Good Wife, as well as The Good Fight for CBS All Access. Hilty also recurred on Braindead for CBS as well as ABC’s hit series Desperate Housewives. In 2013, Hilty starred on the NBC series Sean Saves the World. On stage, Hilty received critical acclaim for her role of Brooke Ashton in the Roundabout Theater Company’s revival of Noises Off. She earned nominations for a Tony Award, Drama Desk Award and Drama League Award and won a Audience Award for Favorite Featured Actress in a Play. A powerhouse singer, Hilty released a live album comprising of songs from her concert tour entitled Megan Hilty Live at the Café Carlyle which was recorded during one of her residencies at New York’s prestigious Café Carlyle. In 2016, Hilty released her Christmas album entitled A Merry Little Christmas, while continuing to tour across the country. Earlier that year she made her Australian debut as part of the Adelaide Cabaret Festival and went on to tour the country, returning to headline at QPAC and the Sydney Opera House in 2019. That year Hilty also performed a solo concert for the PBS Live from Lincoln Center series. In March 2013, Hilty released her debut solo album, It Happens All The Time, which included fresh interpretations of compositions by contemporary songwriters and producers. Earlier, Hilty starred as Lorelei Lee, the diamond-loving blonde made famous by Carol Channing, in the Encores! production of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, to which she earned rave reviews. Additionally, her voice is featured on numerous animated series including KC the Koala on Disney Jr’s T.O.T.S., Holly Darlin on TrollsTopia, Wammawink on Netflix’s Centaurworld, and as Rosetta in many of Disney’s Tinkerbell films. She has also recorded vocals for It’s Pony, Sofia The First, Madagascar: A Little Wild, Doc McStuffins, Phineas & Ferb, Family Guy, American Dad, and is the singing voice of Snow White in the film Shrek the Third. Hilty can also be heard in the animated film Dorothy of Oz with Kelsey Grammer, Hugh Dancy and Lea Michele. A native of Seattle, Hilty moved to New York City after graduating from the prestigious Carnegie Mellon University, and quickly made her Broadway debut as Glinda in Wicked. She went on to perform the role in both the national tour and in Los Angeles. After receiving high praise for her portrayal of Doralee Rhodes in Broadway’s 9 to 5: The Musical, Hilty was honored with nominations for Lead Actress in a Musical at the Drama Desk Awards, Outer Critics Circle Awards, the Drama League Awards and L.A. Stage Alliance Ovation Awards. Hilty has previously performed at Carnegie Hall with the New York Pops, the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center, the New York Philharmonic at Lincoln Center, the Boston Pops, the Cincinnati Pops, the Houston Symphony, the Phoenix Symphony among many others. She was also featured on TNT’s 2012 Christmas in Washington special and continues to perform at prestigious venues nationwide. Megan is a frequent guest on PBS’ televised Live from Capitol Hill concerts. Her solo concert concerts continue to sellout and receive critical acclaim across the country.

Nikki Renée Daniels recently starred in the Tony Award winning revival of Company on Broadway. Other recent credits include Hamilton (Angelica Schuyler) at the CIBC Center in Chicago and The Book of Mormon (Nabulungi) on Broadway. Nikki has also been seen on Broadway as Clara in the 2012 Tony Award winning revival of The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess, Fantine in Les Miserablés and in Nine, Aida, Little Shop of Horrors, The Look of Love, Promises, Promises, Anything Goes and Lestat. Other New York credits include playing Martha Jefferson in 1776 at City Center Encores! and Rose Lennox in The Secret Garden at David Geffen Hall. Her film and television credits include The Other Woman, The Equalizer, Chappelle’s Show, Madam Secretary and The Sound of Music: Live. Nikki has performed as a soloist with many symphony orchestras across the country and Canada, including the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Pops, the Philly Pops, the New York Pops, the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra and the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra. She has also performed as a soloist at Carnegie Hall, and holds a BFA from the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music. Her debut CD, Home, is available on iTunes.

Indian-American actor Michael Maliakel (pronounced “Molly-uh-kell”) is currently making his Broadway debut as the title role in Disney’s Aladdin. Michael was recently featured in a PBS Broadway in Concert special celebrating the music of revered composer-lyricist team Lerner and Loewe alongside Broadway veterans Jenn Colella, Jose Llana, Aaron Lazar, and Aisha Jackson. Prior to the pandemic, Michael toured North America with the 25th Anniversary production of The Phantom of the Opera. He made his Off-Broadway debut in Anything Can Happen: The Songs of Maury Yeston. Other recent stage highlights include Bernstein’s MASS (Marin Alsop and the Chicago Symphony-Ravinia Festival), Georgin She Loves Me (Play Makers Repertory Company), and the record-breaking world premiere of Mira Nair’s Monsoon Wedding (Berkeley Repertory Theatre). Michael’s on-screen work includes roles on BULL and FBI, both on CBS, as well as appearances on Good Morning America and The View. Michael has performed as a soloist with orchestras and ensembles across the country including the Tallahassee Symphony, the Savannah Philharmonic, the American Pops Orchestra, the Albany Symphony, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, the New Jersey Festival Orchestra, TENET Vocal Artists, the Greenwich Choral Society, the Harmonium Choral Society, and the Long Island Choral Society. He has received top awards from several organizations including the American Traditions Vocal Competition (Gold Medal), the Lotte Lenya Competition (Third Prize), the NATS National Music Theater Competition (First Prize), and the Gerda Lissner Foundation. Michael received his earliest musical training at the American Boychoir School. He attended Georgetown University and the Peabody Institute of Music at Johns Hopkins University. Michael lives in CT, and he and his wife welcomed a beautiful baby girl in May.

Thomas hails from upstate NY and graduated from The Ailey School in 2012. Regional highlights include White Christmas (Westchester Broadway Theatre); Samson et Delilah (Kennedy Center); Hot Shoe Shuffle (The Wick); Swing!, On The Town (Gateway Playhouse); West Side Story, Mamma Mia, Guys and Dolls, Man of La Mancha (Weston Playhouse); Music City Christmas (Nashville Symphony). Film & TV: Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon), Lady in the Lake (Apple TV), BTS, So You Think You Can Dance.

Luke Frazier believes that the future of orchestral music is breaking down barriers between orchestras and audiences. The most important priority for a modern conductor is not only musical excellence, but also creating diverse and engaging programming that brings communities together through the joy of music. Conductors are a bridge between audiences and orchestras and the responsibility that comes with that is something Luke takes to heart everyday. Luke started The American Pops Orchestra in 2015 to present a broad array of popular and classical music in innovative ways to bring new audiences into the orchestral world. Most recently APO has been featured in more than fifteen national broadcasts on PBS with programs ranging from American Roots to a complete re-imagining of the musical WICKED. Artists like Midori, Patti Labelle, Joshua Bell, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Josh Groban and so many more have joined the orchestra sharing orchestral music with audiences across the country, completely free of charge. Creating opportunities for the next generation of music makers and music lovers is always apriority for Luke. Each year Luke spends at least three weeks hosting free elementary school tours as well as finding outstanding college vocalists through APO’s NextGen Vocal Competition. In addition to these special programs, Luke also maintains a busy schedule as a clinician, speaker and panelist for educational organizations across the country. In addition to Luke’s work with APO and PBS, Luke is the Principal Pops Conductor for The National Philharmonic and maintains a busy schedule as a guest conductor and pianist. This season includes guest appearances in venues from Lincoln Center to The Smithsonian, Feinstein’s/54 Below to The Kravis Center and many more across the country conducting classical and popular music alike. Luke is fortunate to call many of the world’s most incredible artists both friends and collaborators. Renée Fleming, Chita Rivera, Harry Connick Jr., Wynton Marsalis, Michael Feinstein, Leslie Jordan, Sandi Patty, Kristin Chenoweth, Jamie Barton, Paulo Szot, Vanessa Williams, Laura Osnes, Jacqueline Schwab, Arturo Sandoval, Rita Moreno and so many more have joined Luke onstage and on film for original programs of all varieties.

APO was founded in 2015 with a mission to build community through the preservation, promotion, and reimagination of American popular music. Through live and virtual performances, educational initiatives and collaborations, APO makes the highest quality art accessible to the broadest audiences. Seeing an opportunity to challenge the status-quo of the repertoire an orchestra performs, Founder and Music Director, Luke Frazier, created The American Pops with the intent of breaking the mold of the traditional pops orchestra. This new, distinctly “American” orchestra brings together versatile musicians and reimagined programming focused around American Popular music, and presents it with an approachable, fresh spin in order to engage diverse audiences and make attending a live orchestral show fun again. Through non-traditional orchestral settings, APO aims to deliver popular American classics to those who already know and love them, while also introducing these timeless pieces to younger generations in approachable settings. To learn more,