In September, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts will launch a yearlong centennial celebration of late composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein, entitled Leonard Bernstein at 100. The multitude of presentations will feature Broadway stars, the National Symphony Orchestra, Washington National Opera, NSO Pops, American Ballet Theatre, and more.
The celebration will launch September 21 with the opening of a Leonard Bernstein at 100 exhibition, curated by the Grammy Museum, which will be on display through November. Attendees can expect to enjoy more than 150 photographs, personal items, scores, correspondence, costumes, and films, along with multi-media presentations and interactive displays. Following the Kennedy Center, the exhibition will move on to venues in New York, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Portland, and Tulsa.
There are several events of special interest to theatre fans: a September 22 Bernstein on Broadway concert in the Eisenhower Theater will feature a host of Broadway talent (under the direction of Tony winner Kathleen Marshall and music director Rob Fisher) performing songs from West Side Story, Wonderful Town, Candide, and more; the September 24 National Symphony Orchestra Gala will be headlined by Tony winner Cynthia Erivo, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, and conductor Gianandrea Noseda; three concert performances of West Side Story will run February 14, 16, and 17, 2018, led by NSO Principal Pops Conductor Steven Reineke and featuring the NSO Pops and soloists to be announced at a later time; the Glimmerglass Festival production of Bernstein's biting satire Candide will be presented May 5-26, 2018 at the Washington National Opera with direction by WNO Artistic Director Francesca Zambello.
“It's fitting that the national celebration of Leonard Bernstein's centennial starts here,” said Kennedy Center President Deborah F. Rutter in a statement. “Bernstein was closely associated with the national cultural center before it was even named for our 35th president—he served as Master of Ceremonies at a gala fundraising concert for the Center in 1962, and also led its inaugural concert on September 8, 1971. That performance, honoring the late President Kennedy, featured the premiere of Bernstein's Mass, a work commissioned for the opening. We hope that this wide-ranging celebration honoring Bernstein—the artist, the educator, the humanitarian—reflects his innumerable contributions to music and society.”