Lyric Opera Of KC Welcomes Jamie Bernstein, Today
General Director and CEO Deborah Sandler today announced that Lyric Opera will co-sponsor a FREE special event with the Kansas City Public Library on Thursday, Sept. 13 at 6:30 p.m. in the Truman Forum at the Plaza Branch of the Kansas City Public Library (4801 Main St., KCMO 64112) featuring Jamie Bernstein, eldest daughter of revered composer/conductor Leonard Bernstein. A writer, broadcaster, concert narrator, and filmmaker, Ms. Bernstein offers a rare look at her father on the centennial of his birth in her deeply intimate and evocative new book, FAMOUS FATHER GIRL: A Memoir of Growing Up Bernstein. The program will include some Leonard Bernstein songs, performed by members of Lyric Opera's Resident Artist and Young Artist programs, that underline the passion and the compassion of this great American composer. Afterward, Ms. Bernstein will sign copies of her book, which will be available for purchase at the event through Rainy Day Books. Ms. Bernstein's high res headshot is available upon request. West Side Story artist headshots, bio and set renderings can be found here.
David Charles Abell, one of Leonard Bernstein's students and assistants, and conductor of Lyric Opera of Kansas City's season-opening new production of West Side Story, joins Ms. Bernstein in conversation to discuss the book, the man, and the musical and cultural impact of West Side Story.
Leonard Bernstein, the composer of On the Town and West Side Story, chief conductor of the New York Philharmonic, television star, humanitarian, friend of the powerful and influential, and the life of every party, was an enormous celebrity during one of the headiest periods of American cultural life, as well as the most protean musician in twentieth-century America. A fantastic set of characters populated his world-the Kennedys, Mike Nichols, John Lennon, Richard Avedon, Stephen Sondheim, Jerome Robbins, and Betty (Lauren) Bacall, among them. But to his eldest daughter, Jamie, he was, above all, the man in the scratchy brown bathrobe who smelled of cigarettes; the jokester and compulsive teacher who enthused about Beethoven and the Beatles; the insomniac whose 4 a.m. composing breaks involved spooning baby food out of the jar. He taught his daughter to love the world in all its beauty and complexity, even when his own personal torments-his conflicted sexuality, his insecurity, his vanity-threatened to tear apart the fabric of their family. In public and private, Lenny was larger than life.
In FAMOUS FATHER GIRL, Bernstein invites us into her family's glamorous world. But this is also the story of a young girl who herself caught the creative bug and the desire to express herself musically. And the tension of doing so, while living under the shadow of the country's most renowned musician, forms this memoir's emotional core.
The September 13 event is free, although registration is required and space is limited. Sign up at http://www.kclibrary.org/signature-events .
The 2018-2019 Lyric Opera of Kansas City season opens Sept. 22 - 30 at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts with the award-winning work that transports Romeo & Juliet to the streets of New York City, a NEW PRODUCTION of West Side Story, featuring the original Jerome Robbins choreography and the original orchestral score. Created by Leonard Bernstein, Arthur Laurents, Stephen Sondheim, and Robbins, all of whom set out to surpass the expectations of musical theater, this production will give audiences the rare opportunity to experience West Side Story at the scale in which it was originally conceived.
To purchase tickets to West Side Story, call Ticketing & Patron Services (816) 471-7344. Patrons can select their own seat and print their tickets at home by visiting www.kcopera.org.