Santino Fontana, Norm Lewis, Beth Malone, Laura Osnes and More to Lead BERNSTEIN ON BROADWAY at the Kennedy Center

Santino Fontana, Norm Lewis, Beth Malone, Laura Osnes and More to Lead BERNSTEIN ON BROADWAY at the Kennedy Center

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts launches the year-long international centennial celebration of Leonard Bernstein with the opening weekend of Leonard Bernstein at 100.

Some of Broadway's brightest stars will come together on Friday, September 22 at 8 p.m. for Bernstein on Broadway, a one-night-only performance celebrating the indelible and lasting impact Leonard Bernstein's work had on American culture through the Broadway stage.

Three-time Tony Award-winning director Kathleen Marshall and music director Rob Fisher will lead Mikaela Bennett (The Golden Apple at Encores!), Santino Fontana (Cinderella, Act One), Matthew Hydzik (the Kennedy Center production of Side Show), Norm Lewis (Porgy and Bess), Beth Malone (Fun Home), and Laura Osnes (Bandstand, Cinderella) in an extraordinary evening of Bernstein's music for the theater. Joining them will be an ensemble of Broadway triple-threats including Max Clayton, Kim Fauré, Keven Quillon, Shina Ann Morris, Brandon Rubendall, Samantha Sturm, Erica Sweany, and Anthony Wayne.

Bernstein on Broadway will feature a lush 40-piece orchestra and the acclaimed Choral Arts Society of Washington as more than 75 performers fill the Eisenhower Theater with the unforgettable music of West Side Story, Wonderful Town, and Candide. The performance will also include the irresistibly tuneful score and dancing from On the Town, as well as selections from Bernstein's Mass, originally commissioned by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis for the opening of the Kennedy Center in 1971.

On Saturday, September 23 at 4 p.m. in the Family Theater, audiences are invited to take part in Bernstein, The Arts and Race, a forum that will engage with Leonard Bernstein's commitment to an integrated society. This manifested throughout his work and career with an inclusive approach to artists of color. Using Carol Oja's book, Bernstein Meets Broadway: Collaborative Art in a Time of War as a starting point and including lively presentations and conversations, the panel will look at where we were then and where we are now. Panelists will include author Carol Oja; Bernstein's daughter and director Jamie Bernstein; American soprano Harolyn Blackwell; Broadway Theatre League Trustee & ASU VP of Cultural Affairs, Colleen Jennings-Roggensack; and Tony Award-winning actress Karen Olivo.

Gianandrea Noseda will conduct an all-Bernstein program as he makes his highly anticipated first appearance as the seventh music director of the National Symphony Orchestra (NSO) at on Sunday, September 24, at the NSO's annual season-opening gala concert. Featuring world-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma and Tony Award-winning vocalist Cynthia Erivo, the program includes the Overture to Candide; "Three Meditations" from Mass with Ma as soloist; selected vocal works, sung by Erivo; and the Symphonic Dances from West Side Story. The performance, which begins at 6 p.m. in the Concert Hall, will be streamed live for free worldwide viewing on and the NSO's Facebook page, as well as at the Kennedy Center's website. The performance will be available for free on-demand viewing for an additional 90 days following the livestream.

The opening weekend celebration extends to the Millennium Stage's free daily programming on September 23 at 6 p.m., when Keyboard Conversations with Jeffrey Siegel will feature excerpts from West Side Story, the Overture to Candide, his poetic Anniversaries, the unpublished Meditation on a Wedding (given to Siegel by Bernstein's biographer Humphrey Burton), and Bernstein's dazzling solo piano arrangement of Copland's popular orchestral work El Salón Mexico. The program will conclude with a Q&A and will be livestreamed in full on the Kennedy Center website, Facebook, and YouTube accounts.

The festivities will begin on Friday, September 21 with the opening of the Leonard Bernstein at 100 exhibition, curated by the GRAMMY Museum, in the Terrace Gallery. This free special traveling exhibit draws from more than 150 photographs, personal items, papers, correspondence, costumes, furniture, and films. The official exhibition of the centennial, Leonard Bernstein at 100 is the most comprehensive retrospective of Bernstein's life and career ever staged in an exhibition setting. The exhibit will remain at the Kennedy Center through November 5, 2017.

The centennial celebration of Leonard Bernstein continues at the Kennedy Center and around the Washington, D.C. area with 15 artistic partner organizations throughout the year. For more information and a full list of events, visit the Kennedy Center website.

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.

Leonard Bernstein at 100 partners include AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center; Atlas Performing Arts Center; Baltimore Symphony Orchestra; Cathedral Choral Society; a collaboration between Catholic University of America Music Theatre Division and Arena Stage; CityDance Conservatory; the Gay Men's Chorus of Washington, D.C.; Levine School of Music; The Phillips Collection; Vocal Arts D.C.; Washington Master Chorale; Washington Performing Arts; and Wolf Trap.

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.

Related Articles

More Hot Stories For You