This season marks the 100th birthday of Leonard Bernstein and we celebrate all year long, with works for stage, screen, and concert hall by the legendary American composer beginning with the adored and pioneering West Side Story. Follow the New World's most famous star-crossed lovers from timeless hits like “Tonight,” “Maria,” and “Somewhere” (with lyrics by the then-unknown Stephen Sondheim). The Philadelphia Orchestra will be onstage with a cast of talented Broadway vocalists, drawing talent from the success of Bernstein's MASS in 2015. This is Bernstein's complete score, in all its breathless, nuanced—and ultimately heartbreaking—beauty. View the full cast list here.
The Philadelphia Orchestra in partnership with in partnership with The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts local community-based cultural organization Taller Puertorriqueño, has announced a fundraising initiative to take place during the performances of West Side Story at Verizon Hall to assist with hurricane relief efforts in Puerto Rico. In light of the devastating impact of Hurricane Maria and the closely linked subject matter of the performance, collections will be accepted in the lobby of the Kimmel Center to be distributed through Unidos Pa' PR – a coalition of community organizations formed to raise funds for recovery efforts in Puerto Rico. The performances also will serve as a powerful reminder of the ongoing relevancy of Bernstein's work and the continued need for unity, embracing Puerto Rico as a U.S. territory, and awareness of economic conditions in the area.
“We invite everyone to join us for the poignancy of West Side Story, particularly during this Bernstein centenary, and to take part in our efforts to help those in need in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria's devastation,” said Orchestra President and CEO Allison Vulgamore. “West Side Story remains incredibly powerful, speaking to societal and economic issues that are still part of our national dialogue 60 years later. These performances will turn the spotlight on our ongoing need for unity, as told in this historic and meaningful work, offered at a historic and meaningful moment for our country.”