by BWW News Desk
The National Symphony Orchestra (NSO) Pops continues the international celebration of Leonard Bernstein at 100 with West Side Story in Concert, led by Steven Reineke.
Featured soloists for this timeless tale of forbidden love and fierce family loyalties include: Corey Cott as Tony (Broadway's Newsies and Bandstand), Solea Pfeiffer as Maria (Eliza in Hamilton tour), Ana Villafañe as Anita (Gloria Estefan in Broadway's On Your Feet!), Ephraim Sykes as Riff (Seaweed in NBC's 2016 live production of Hairspray Live!), and Joel Perez as Bernardo (Broadway's Fun Home).
Bernstein's legendary musical interpretation of Romeo & Juliet features lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. This NSO presentation will be lightly staged, with theatrical lighting, and costumes, and is directed by Washington National Opera Artistic Director Francesca Zambello and assistant director Eric Sean Fogel. S. Katy Tucker and Mark McCullough are the visual designers; Lynly Saunders designed the costumes.
"What was a originally a period piece about New York gangs in the 1950s has become one of the most relevant and provocative pieces of music theater ever as it continues to resonate about life in contemporary society," said director Francesca Zambello. "Revisiting West Side Story today with the NSO gives performers and audiences alike a chance to not only explore a work quintessential to American music theater history, but to see its many layers make a profound statement about America."
"Leonard Bernstein has long been one of my personal idols as a conductor, composer, musician, and educator," said Steven Reineke. "I'm thrilled to be celebrating his centennial with our NSO performances of one of the most classic and archetypal pieces of American Musical Theater ever written. With its powerful and iconic score, this story continues to resonate with audiences of all ages as it tells its timeless tale of forbidden love and social prejudice."
Three performances of West Side Story in Concert take place in the Concert Hall at the Kennedy Center on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, February 14, 16, and 17, at 8 p.m.
Born on August 25, 1918, in Lawrence, Massachusetts, Leonard Bernstein became a towering figure of 20th-century music and culture. Bernstein was world-renowned as the composer of West Side Story, Candide, and On the Town, among numerous stage and orchestral works; as the celebrated music director of the New York Philharmonic and other leading orchestras, with whom he created a trove of acclaimed recordings; as an educator whose televised Young People's Concerts with the New York Philharmonic created more than one generation of music lovers; and as a lifelong humanitarian who spoke out whenever he witnessed injustice.
"Leonard Bernstein at 100" is a year of local, national, and worldwide events that pay tribute to this iconic artist whose influence and impact on arts and culture in the U.S. and around the world have transcended both genres and generations. Throughout the centennial celebration, which begins at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., performances of theater, classical, jazz, choral works, dance, and education events will explore and celebrate the many facets of Leonard Bernstein as musician, composer, educator, and humanitarian.
While truly a citizen artist to the world, Washington, D.C. was one of Leonard Bernstein's creative homes. Bernstein frequented the Kennedy White House, regularly composed for and conducted Washington ensembles and at area venues, served as emcee for the fundraiser for the National Performing Arts Center (later named the Kennedy Center) and premiered lasting and notable works such as MASS-at the opening of the Center-and West Side Story here in the nation's capital.
IF YOU GO:
WEST SIDE STORY in Concert
Wednesday, February 14, 2018, at 8 p.m.
Friday, February 16, 2018, at 8 p.m.
Saturday, February 17, 2018, at 8 p.m.
National Symphony Orchestra
Steven Reineke, conductor
Francesca Zambello, Director
Eric Sean Fogel, Assistant Director
S. Katy Tucker, visual designer
Mark McCullough, visual designer
Lynly Saunders, costumes
Corey Cott as Tony
Solea Pfeiffer as Maria
Ana Villafañe as Anita
Joel Perez as Bernardo
Ephraim Sykes as Riff
Part of the Kennedy Center's Leonard Bernstein at 100 celebration
Tickets ($24-$109) are available at the Kennedy Center Box Office, online at kennedy-center.org, and via phone through Instant Charge, (202) 467-4700; toll-free at (800) 444-1324. For all other ticket-related customer service inquires, call the Advance Sales Box Office at (202) 416-8540.