The Axelrod Performing Art Center presents an original two-day concert to celebrate the 100th birthday of Leonard Bernstein on April 21 at 8 pm and April 22 at 3 pm. A Time for Us: The Leonard Bernstein Centennial will feature the Monmouth Civic Chorus, with a 30-piece orchestra and eleven soloists, conducted by Ryan Brandau.
While most music lovers associate Leonard Bernstein with his famous masterpiece “West Side Story,” he also composed full symphonies, ballet suites, operas, song cycles, film scores, choral pieces as well as musicals.
“Bernstein remains a towering figure in the American musical imagination,” says Brandau. “As a conductor and sometimes composer myself, I stand in awe of his polyglot mastery of so many genres and styles. His tunes are simple enough to be unforgettable, but a second look at his scores reveals all kinds of sophisticated, subtle nuances.”
Many of Bernstein’s most celebrated scores defy categorization: is “Candide”
a musical or an operetta?; why was the musical “1600 Pennsylvania Avenue” reworked into “The White House Cantata”?; what exactly is the jazz-infused “Mass: A Theater Piece for Singers, Players and Dancers”?
Songs from all Bernstein’s Broadway scores will be included in the concert, as well as the complete “Chichester Psalms,” featuring American countertenor Logan Tanner with the Monmouth Civic Chorus. Other soloists include three distinguished singers from the New York opera scene: sopranos Claire Leyden and Andrea DelGuidice and tenor Jordan Weatherston Pitts, plus seven professional singers from the musical-theater world, Jenna Bitow, Zach Miller, Austin Ryan, Jake Shatsky, Gabrielle Stravelli, Heather Varley and Ken Wasser, all regular performers with Cabaret for Life, whose efforts on the concert will help to raise funds for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.
Many of the composer’s most beloved songs will be included: “Tonight,” “Maria” and “Somewhere” from “West Side Story,” “New York, New York” and “I Can Cook Too” from “On the Town,” “Glitter and Be Gay” and “Make Our Garden Grow” from “Candide,” “A Little Bit in Love” and “Lucky to Be Me” from “Wonderful Town” and many more.
“A Time for Us: The Leonard Bernstein Centennial” takes place on April 21 at 8 pm and April 22 at 3 pmat the Axelrod Performing Arts Center (100 Grant Ave, Deal Park, NJ). Tickets range from $35 to $42. Call the box office at 732-531-9106, ext 14, or visit www.axelrodartscenter.com.