Two stage and screen stars will help make the Philadelphia Orchestra’s garden grow as they join the company’s upcoming symphonic staging of Candide. Bradley Cooper and Carey Mulligan will narrate the June 20–22 performances at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, which serve as the culmination of the orchestra's multi-year centennial celebration of Leonard Bernstein.
The Tony and Oscar nominees join a company that includes opera vets Alek Shrader in the title role, Erin Morley as Cunegonde, and Denyce Graves as The Old Lady.
The production, directed by Kevin Newbury and conducted by Philadelphia Orchestra and Metropolitan Opera Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin, will set the operetta in the early 1990s, drawing inspiration from such titles as Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The scholarly Candide is now a bookish nerd, and Cunegonde is head cheerleader.
Cooper, who earned a Tony nomination for The Elephant Man and three Oscar nods for his directorial film debut with A Star Is Born, is slated to play Bernstein himself in an upcoming biopic; he was recently spotted donning a “Hunky Brute” t-shirt as a nod to the celebrated composer.
Mulligan, who was Tony-nominated the same year as Cooper for Skylight, recently starred Off-Broadway in the solo show Girls and Boys. She earned an Oscar nomination in 2010 for An Education.
Rounding out the cast are Kevin Vortmann, Timoth McDevitt, Amanda Lynn Bottoms, William Burden, Benjamin Krumreig, Curtis Bannister, Daniel Rowan, Isabel Santiago, J.D. Webster, Meredith Lustig, Ward Billeisen, Brittany Bigelow, and Nicholas Cunningham. They will be joined by the Philadelphia Symphonic Choir.