New York's Symphony Space will offer a 12-hour "Wall To Wall" Leonard Bernstein celebration March 22, featuring performances of his work and reminiscences by those who worked with him.
The tribute is being staged by Isaiah Sheffer, who founded the Wall-To Wall series in 1978. He told Newsday's Aileen Jacobson, "We've alternated classical and musical theatre with some forays into folk and jazz. Berntein cuts across all those forms."
Scheduled for the 11 AM-11 PM presentation are selections from the "Chichester Psalms," "Kaddish" Symphony and pieces he wrote for family and friends. Tenor Paul Sperry will conduct a concert version of Bernstein's one-act opera, Trouble In Tahiti (5:25 PM) featuring mezzo Jane Bunnell.
Also at the show will be theatre legends Betty Comden and Adolph Green. "We knew him well before we started working together," Comden, who met Bernstein in 1939, told Newsday. When Jerome Robbins decided to expand the "Fancy Free" ballet into On The Town, it was Bernstein who suggested Comden and Green for the book and lyrics.
Also on the bill will be Phyllis Newman (singing selections from her show, The Madwoman Of Central Park), and appearances by Sarah Jessica Parker (Once Upon A Mattress), Tony Roberts (Victor/Victoria, Jerome Robbins' Broadway) and Harolyn Blackwell (the upcoming revival of Candide). (For information on the concert call (212) 864-1414. If you can't make it to Symphony Space on 95th Street, you can hear the show live on WNYC-FM, 93.9.)
Speaking of Bernstein & Candide, the official Leonard Bernstein Website -- http://www.leonardbernstein.com -- is sponsoring a contest to win six pairs of Opening Night tickets to the show at the Gershwin. Winners also get round-trip U.S. Airfaire, Doubletree hotel accommodations, and a pre-theatre dinner or brunch at Tavern On The Green.
You can enter by filling out a form on the website itself or by sending a 3X5" card with the words "Candide Opening Night" to N2K Candide Opening Night On Broadway Contest, c/o N2K Entertainment, 55 Broad Street, 10th Floor, New York, NY 10004. Make sure to include your name, address and phone number. The contest begins March 24; all entries must be received by middle-of-the-day April 18. According to site director Jonas Gray, winners will be announced/contacted April 18 or soon thereafter.
Please note that Playbill On-Line is not sponsoring or in any way connected to this contest.
--By David Lefkowitz