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Bernstein on Broadway: Songs and family stories

  • Jun 24, 2010
[caption id="attachment_2715" align="alignright" width="203" caption="Leonard Bernstein"][/caption]What could be better than a night filled with the irresistible show tunes of Broadway composer/conductor, Leonard Bernstein? Now imagine pairing those catchy tunes with insider stories told by his daughter, Jamie Bernstein, who narrates the concert, giving us a rare peek into Bernstein’s life and work. In Bernstein on Broadway Jamie Bernstein takes us on a colorful tour of four of her father’s best-loved musicals—Candide, Our Town, Wonderful Town, and West Side Story—sharing personal anecdotes along the way. She even reads from letters between Bernstein and his wife, revealing the tumultuous twists and turns of bringing his shows to the stage. It’s a special connection to present Bernstein’s Broadway narrated by Jamie this season at the OBF; Leonard Bernstein mentored the OBF's Helmuth Rilling in the mid 1960s. Listening to Bernstein’s Broadway music with these insights will be a unique experience: you can hear how Bernstein intertwines the “New York, New York” motive in the “Times Square” ballet music from On the Town, or how he sneaks in the theme from “Somewhere” under the lovers’ duet, “Tonight,” from West Side Story. Jamie grew up in a home full of music, theater, and literature. Leonard Bernstein, together with her mother, pianist and actress Felicia Montealegre, and their legions of friends in the arts, imbued Jamie with a love for the arts from a young age. She works as a narrator, writer, and broadcaster who, in the tradition of her father’s lifelong passion for teaching, has written and produced several concerts for families and young people on the music of Copland, Mozart, Bernstein, and others Robert Moody conducts the OBF orchestra. Soloists include Soprano Michelle Areyzaga, who has performed with such companies as the Lyric Opera of Chicago, DuPage Opera Theatre and Chicago's Light Opera Works; Mezzo Elizabeth Shammash, acclaimed by the Boston Globe as a “mezzo voice that makes one sit up and take notice.” Tenor, Jeffrey Picon, who debuted with the New York City Opera in performances of Carmen, Cendrillon and Madama Butterfly; and young Canadian baritone Hugh Russell who made his company debut as the title role in Barber of Seville with the New York City Opera. Leonard Bernstein had a gift for combining symphonic strains with the gusto of Broadway. And Jamie Bernstein’s presentation has proven just about as popular— Bernstein on Broadway has been a hit with the Vancouver Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, Phoenix Symphony, San Antonio Symphony, and Rochester Philharmonic, and in cities as far-flung as Beijing, China and Little Rock, Arkansas.