Late Night With Leonard Bernstein
First rate fare ... the audience filled the room with lusty laughs and applause. The New York Times
Of the centenary tributes accorded Leonard Bernstein this year, few could be more personal. It struck the right balance between biographical portraiture, charming nostalgia, and loving remembrance. Burton, who could make you weep singing the federal budget, Boriskin, and Musto each contributed to the engaging, relaxed atmosphere of this moving afternoon. As for Jamie Bernstein, all fathers should have such a daughter to lovingly perpetuate their memory. The Washington Post
It’s probably the most haimisch two hours (to borrow from the Yiddish for “homey”) anyone will spend in the presence of the composer-conductor-musical explainer this centenary year.The Philadelphia Inquirer
Conceived by George Steel and written by Jamie Bernstein and George Steel
A well-known insomniac for whom night was a time for creativity and friendship, deep introspection, and revelry, the iconic Leonard Bernstein loved to work at all hours, often entertaining friends and guests late into the night and dazzling them with charismatic performances across a wide range of musical styles. Late Night with Leonard Bernstein – hosted and narrated by his daughter Jamie and featuring acclaimed soprano Amy Burton and noted pianists John Musto and Michael Boriskin – is an affectionate, multi-media portrait of the personal side of this singularly public figure. This vibrant evening captivated audiences at Lincoln Center and Copland House when it first opened, and has been enchanting concertgoers in sold-out performances at the New York Philharmonic, Ravinia and Gilmore Festivals, Skirball Center (Los Angeles), National Museum of American Jewish History (Philadelphia), Phillips Collection (Washington), Cleveland Museum of Art, and Brandeis University, and in cities across the U.S.
The program traces Bernstein's journey back to his years as a prodigiously-gifted undergraduate who loved jazz, classics, and thorny modernists with equal passion, and his early efforts as an aspiring composer and arranger of musicals, dance, and pop novelties. Several of his most intimate works are performed, along with some of his favorite compositions by Copland, Schubert, Grieg, Zez Confrey, Noel Coward, Ernesto Lecuona, and others. Brief audio and video excerpts of the Maestro himself are among the program's many highlights. The entire evening was conceived by the New York City Opera's former Director George Steel, and is woven together through a personal, affecting script by Steel and Jamie Bernstein, and rare archival photographs of the legendary artist and his family, friends, and colleagues.
As The New York Times noted, "here were lots of little surprises ... early bits of aborted projects that later surfaced, re-imagined, in famous works like West Side Story and Mass; a tongue-twisting parody [of Tchaikovsky's 4th Symphony] by Bernstein's buddy Adolph Green; a film clip of Bernstein at the piano, singing a Marc Blitzstein novelty number."