11/20/2010. Leonard Bernstein is one of my all time heros and a major NYC icon. This post is way overdue.
A few weeks ago, I saw A Quiet Place at the NYC Opera. It was Leonard Bernstein's last opera and it was never produced in NYC. Why now? I think, because of the success of Mad Men. Forget the advertising part of Mad Men. Leonard Bernstein wrote the music for an opera about a generic dysfunctional family in the 1960's at a time when people didn't want to see this on stage. A Quiet Place is Mad Men with a wonderful musical score that you won't leave the theatre humming. I hope the cast of Madmen got a chance to see it. 11/21/2010 is the last performance. I hope it is revived again soon.
The current live production of West Side Story is closing soon but it is going on tour so you can see it where you live. No matter how much you (or I) love the movie which I first saw at Grauman's Chinese Theatre when visiting my grandparents in California over 40 years ago, this live production needs to be seen. Arthur Laurents at 91 did some tinkering with the book that made a whole lot of sense. If you can't get to the show, rent or buy the 40th anniversary edition DVD which includes a DVD about the making of the movie. The second DVD has great shots of 60's NYC.
In two days, it will be the anniversary of the assassination of JFK. A few years ago, there was a Leonard Bernstein film festival at Lincoln Center. Young Peoples Concerts, Omnibus TV shows, and performances filmed all over the world were aired. The Playbill included the text of a speech given by Bernstein a few days after Bernstein chose to totally change the Philharmonic program and perform a Mahler symphony in memory of JFK. A scan of that speech is at left. I hope to replace it with a readable link to the speech in the near future. I could not find it anywhere on line. I am hoping that Playbill or the Leonard Bernstein organization will provide a link or I can find my original and get a better scan. It needs to be read by a larger audience. In the meantime, you can learn more about Leonard Bernstein here.
There is a Leonard Bernstein program at Le Poisson Rouge on Tuesday Nov 23rd but I probably won't be done with work early enough to go.
This post will be revised again soon!