Michele Lee
(© Tristan Fuge)
Michele Lee
(© Tristan Fuge)
Michele Lee will be one of the many stars participating in The New York Pops Celebrate Hope, a gala concert celebrating the legacy of late actor and comedian Bob Hope, to take place at 7pm on Monday, May 2 at Carnegie Hall. Lee recently spoke to TheaterMania about the show and her memories of the legendary star.

I think the show is going to be great," says Lee. "Not only will it use clips film clips, but all the performers will be doing things that remind us of who Bob was, or things we did with him. It will really work well. "

Lee will performing the classic song, "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes," from Roberta, and she recalls working with Hope in a 1969 television version of the musical. "Bob had done the original Broadway show in 1933, and then he wanted to do this special, which we videotaped before a live audience in Texas. John Davidson played my love interest and Janis Paige played Bob's," she notes. "To him, I was this young girl -- this "enthusiastic kid", he called me -- and he really wanted me to shine during the production, and I appreciated that. Over the years, we would be together at a lot of parties or live shows, and I was always the "young kid."

Lee was also in the house in when Hope received the coveted Kennedy Center Honor in 1985. "There was this famous moment when various war veterans were on the stage showing appreciation to Bob;, and many of these guys came forward with stories of how Bob's appearances for the troops brought light to their lives in their darkest moment," she recalls. "And Bob was just sitting there crying. I remember that was stunning moment. His support of the military, both in wartime and not, became a symbol of what we were and who we are as a country, and the image of what a true star should be. "

In addition to Lee, the concert will feature appearances by Angela Lansbury, Cheyenne Jackson, Christine Ebersole, Kelli O'Hara, Maurice Hines, Cartier Williams, The Camp Broadway Kids, The West Point Glee Club, Tyne Daly, Tom Wopat, Gregg Edelman, Aaron Lazar, Tony DeSare, and Jamie Barton, along with the New York Pops under the baton of music director Steven Reineke.

The evening's honorees are The Bob Hope Legacy, an organization founded by Linda Hope to preserve her father's memory, and Interpublic Group. Following the concert, a black tie dinner and dance will be held at the Plaza Hotel.

For concert tickets, call 212-247-7800 or visit www.carengiehall.org. For benefit tickets and information, call 212-765-7677 or visit www.newyorkpops.org.