Philadelphia Native Bradley Cooper and Carey Mulligan to Narrate Philadelphia Orchestra Production of Leonard Bernstein’s Candide June 20-22, 2019
Symphonic staging, led by Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin, will be the grand finale of
The Philadelphia Orchestra’s Leonard Bernstein Centennial Celebration
Star-studded cast drawn from the worlds of film, opera, and musical theater
(Philadelphia, May 20, 2019)––The Philadelphia Orchestra concludes its celebration of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Leonard Bernstein with a star-studded grand finale: a symphonic staging of his complex, irreverent, and humorous operetta Candide, led by Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin, June 20-22. Academy Award-nominees Bradley Cooper and Carey Mulligan will narrate the performances. They join a cast from the worlds of opera and Broadway, including Alek Shrader, Erin Morley, Denyce Graves, Kevin Vortmann, and Timothy McDevitt, reuniting many of the collaborators from the Orchestra’s previous Bernstein projects.
Stage Director Kevin Newbury will set the production of Bernstein’s coming-of-age story in the early 1990s, unfolding in a high-school classroom and inspired by films such as Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Dazed and Confused. The characters will be portrayed as the archetypes of early-1990s high-school life: Candide as the bookish nerd; Cunegonde as the ambitious head cheerleader; Paquette as the introverted goth; and Maximilian as the flamboyant drama club president. The setting will trace how these characters change from naïve teenagers to expectant graduates.
First performed in 1956, Candide has come into its own in recent decades, thanks to Bernstein’s endless musical inventiveness and collaborators from Stephen Sondheim to Dorothy Parker—and Voltaire, who wrote the original story, published in 1759. Nézet-Séguin’s great love for Bernstein’s music has shone throughout the centennial celebration, and in previous Philadelphia Orchestra seasons, beginning with the Orchestra’s production of MASS in 2015 and continuing through West Side Story and a cycle of his complete symphonies. Candide brings The Philadelphia Orchestra’s celebration of a remarkable musician’s life to a joyous conclusion.
Seven-time Oscar nominee Bradley Cooper (Narrator) recently made his directorial debut with the Oscar-nominated film A Star Is Born, which he co-wrote, produced, and starred in. Additional film credits include Clint Eastwood’s The Mule; the Oscar-nominated films American Sniper, American Hustle, and Silver Linings Playbook; Derek Cianfrance’s The Place Beyond the Pines; The Hangover Trilogy by Todd Phillips; Limitless; Avengers: Endgame; Avengers: Infinity War; Guardians of the Galaxy (volumes 1 and 2); War Dogs; David O’Russell’s Joy; Wedding Crashers; and Wet Hot American Summer.
In 2015, Cooper garnered critical acclaim and a Tony Award nomination for his portrayal of John Merrick in the five-time Tony-nominated revival of The Elephant Man on Broadway, directed by Scott Ellis. He also performed this role during a limited run of the play in London in 2015 and originally at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in 2012 (also directed by Ellis). Other theater credits include Joe Mantello’s production of Three Days of Rain (2006, Broadway debut) and the critically acclaimed Theresa Rebeck play The Understudy (2008, Williamstown Theatre Festival). In 2012, he entered into a first-look deal with Warner Bros. and producing partner Todd Phillips to form Joint Effort, which has produced the films War Dogs, Joy, A Star Is Born, and the upcoming Joker by Todd Phillips.
Born in Philadelphia, Cooper graduated with honors in the English program from Georgetown University. After moving to New York City, he obtained his Masters in the Fine Arts program at the Actors Studio Drama School. In 2015, he started the One Family Foundation to help make a difference in the lives of patients with cancer. Through launching patient navigator programs, working to shift perceptions, and exploring innovations in the field, the Foundation is aiming to improve patients’ experiences with cancer throughout their treatment. Cooper has been a longtime partner to Stand Up to Cancer and numerous veteran’s organizations throughout his career.
Academy Award-nominee Carey Mulligan (Narrator) first broke out in a starring role in the critically acclaimed film An Education. The role garnered her the BAFTA Award for Best Actress and nominations for an Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award, and a SAG Award. In 2018, she received an Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best Female Lead for her role in IFC’s Wildlife opposite Jake Gyllenhaal and directed by Paul Dano. The film premiered at Sundance, Cannes, TIFF, the New York Film Festival, and the London Film Festival. Also last year, Mulligan garnered rave reviews for her one-woman show Girls & Boys, written by Dennis Kelly and directed by Lyndsey Turner. The show premiered at the Royal Court Theatre in London last winter and off Broadway in the summer.
Mulligan’s other film credits include Mudbound, Suffragette, Far from the Madding Crowd, Inside Llewyn Davis alongside Oscar Isaac directed by Joel and Ethan Coen, The Great Gatsby alongside Leonardo DiCaprio directed by Baz Luhrmann, Shame alongside Michael Fassbender directed by Steve McQueen, Drive alongside Ryan Gosling directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, Never Let Me Go, Brothers, Public Enemies, The Greatest, And When Did You Last See Your Father?, and Pride & Prejudice. Her television credits include My Boy Jack, Doctor Who, Northanger Abbey, The Amazing Mrs. Pritchard, Waking the Dead, Miss Marple, Bleak House, and Trial & Retribution. Mulligan made her West End stage debut in 2014 alongside Bill Nighy in the critically acclaimed revival of David Hare’s Olivier Award-winning play Skylight, directed by Stephen Daldry. A year later, the play transferred to Broadway, for which Mulligan received Drama League, Drama Desk, and Tony Award nominations. In 2008, she made her Broadway debut in the revival of The Seagull as Nina, in which she played the same role in the Royal Court Theatre’s production of the play a year prior. Other theater credits include the off-Broadway production of Through a Glass Darkly in 2011, the Almeida Theatre’s The Hypochondriac in 2005, and her first on-stage production, the Royal Court Theatre’s Forty Winks in 2004.
Mulligan is a supporter of the Alzheimer’s Society and is also an ambassador for War Child, a family of independent humanitarian organizations that work together to help children affected by armed conflict. War Child exists to create the conditions that will fulfill the protection, development, and survival rights for children and young people who are living with, or recovering from, the effects of armed conflict.
This season tenor Alek Shrader (Candide) has appeared as Tony in West Side Story at the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome and the Edinburgh Festival. He also performed the title role in Mozart’s La clemenza di Tito with Opera Oviedo and Almaviva in Rossini’s The Barber of Seville at Michigan Opera Theatre. Future engagements include Jupiter/Apollo in Handel’s Semele with Opera Philadelphia, Almaviva at Minnesota Opera, Handel’s Messiah with the National Symphony, and returns to the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, and Washington National Opera.
Following his win in the 2007 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and receiving a Sarah Tucker Grant from the Richard Tucker Foundation, Shrader made his Metropolitan Opera debut in Ades’s The Tempest and returned to sing Almaviva. Since then he has returned to the Met for Tamino in Mozart’s The Magic Flute and Camille in Lehár’s The Merry Widow. Other recent engagements include Benedict in Berlioz’s Beatrice and Benedict at Seattle Opera and his debut with Washington National Opera in the title role of Candide, with a reprisal at Santa Fe Opera. He has also been seen as Alfredo in Verdi’s La traviata with Opera Philadelphia, David in Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg and Emilio in Handel’s Partenope at San Francisco Opera, Jupiter/ Apollo with Seattle Opera, and Donizetti’s Daughter of the Regiment at Santa Fe Opera.
Shrader has been featured in two of Marilyn Horne’s On Wings of Song recitals and has given recitals at the Music Academy of the West and Santa Monica College for the Performing Arts, both sponsored by the Marilyn Horne Foundation, as well as at Wigmore Hall. Highlights of his concert engagements include Candide with the Vancouver Symphony, Ferdinand in The Tempest for his San Francisco Symphony debut, and Ferrando in Mozart’s Così fan tutte with the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
Soprano Erin Morley (Cunegonde) has stepped into the international spotlight in recent years with a string of critically acclaimed appearances in the great opera houses of the world. She has appeared as a soloist with America’s premiere symphony orchestras, including The Philadelphia and Cleveland orchestras, the Chicago and Boston symphonies, and the New York Philharmonic.
This season, Morley made a number of notable appearances at the Metropolitan Opera, first in her role debut as Pamina in Mozart’s The Magic Flute, then as the Forest Bird in Wagner’s Siegfried and as Constance in Poulenc’s Dialogues of the Carmelites. Her orchestral appearances include a debut in Debussy’s The Martyrdom of St. Sebastian with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester.
A graduate of the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program, Morley has now sung more than 80 performances at the Metropolitan Opera. Equally at home on the concert stage, she has appeared on tour with Harry Bicket and the English Concert, Louis Langrée and the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and with the Met Chamber Ensemble in Carnegie’s Zankel Hall.
Mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves (The Old Lady) has appeared in the world’s great opera houses and concert halls. She has become particularly well-known to operatic audiences for her portrayals of the title roles in Bizet’s Carmen and Saint-Saëns’s Samson and Delilah. These signature roles have brought her to the Metropolitan Opera, the Vienna State Opera, the Royal Opera Covent Garden, San Francisco Opera, the Opéra National de Paris, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Washington Opera, the Bavarian State Opera, the Arena of Verona, the Deutsche Oper Berlin, the Zurich Opera House, the Teatro Real in Madrid, Houston Grand Opera, Dallas Opera, the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, Los Angeles Opera, and the Maggio Musicale in Florence.
Highlights of Graves’s appearances have included Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress at San Francisco Opera; the title role in Danielpour’s Margaret Garner in the world premiere performances at Michigan Opera Theater with further performances at Cincinnati Opera, Opera Carolina, and the Opera Company of Philadelphia; Charlotte in Massenet’s Werther for Michigan Opera Theater; and Judith in Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle at Los Angeles Opera, Washington National Opera, and Dallas Opera. Recent appearances include the world premieres of Cuomo’s Doubt at Minnesota Opera and Blanchard’s Champion at the Opera Theatre of St. Louis, as well as the role debuts of Katisha in Sullivan’s The Mikado for Lyric Opera of Kansas City and Herodias in Strauss’s Salome for Palm Beach Opera.
Graves has worked with the finest symphony orchestras and conductors, including Riccardo Chailly, Myung-Whun Chung, Christoph Eschenbach, James Levine, Zubin Mehta, Lorin Maazel, Kurt Masur, Riccardo Muti, and Mstislav Rostropovich. As a sough-after recitalist, her programs include classical repertoire as well as the popular music of Broadway musicals, crossover, jazz, and American spirituals.
June 20 at 7:30 PM—Thursday evening—Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts
June 21 at 8:00 PM—Friday evening—Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts
June 22 at 8:00 PM—Saturday evening—Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts
Yannick Nézet-Séguin Conductor
Bradley Cooper Narrator—Philadelphia Orchestra Debut
Carey Mulligan Narrator—Philadelphia Orchestra Debut
Alek Shrader Candide—Philadelphia Orchestra Debut
Erin Morley Cunegonde
Denyce Graves The Old Lady—Philadelphia Orchestra Subscription Debut
Kevin Vortmann Dr. Pangloss/Beggar
Timothy McDevitt Maximilian/Prefect
Amanda Lynn Bottoms Paquette—Philadelphia Orchestra Subscription Debut
William Burden Governor/Vanderdendur
Benjamin Krumreig Captain/Crook
Curtis Bannister Prince Ragotski—Philadelphia Orchestra Debut
Daniel Rowan Baron/Grand Inquisitor/Don Issachar—Philadelphia Orchestra Debut
Isabel Santiago Baroness/Sheep
J.D. Webster Heresy Agent/Priest
Meredith Lustig Sheep
Ward Billeisen Prisoner/Aide
Brittany Bigelow Dancer—Philadelphia Orchestra Debut
Nicholas Cunningham Dancer—Philadelphia Orchestra Debut
Philadelphia Symphonic Choir
Joe Miller Director
Kevin Newbury Stage Director
Leslie Stifelman Music Supervisor
Melissa Mahon Choreographer—Philadelphia Orchestra Debut
Andrew Boyce Stage Design—Philadelphia Orchestra Debut
Christopher Fry Lighting Design
Paul Carey Costume Design
S. Katy Tucker Video and Projection Design—Philadelphia Orchestra Debut
Anne Ford-Coates Hair and Make-Up Design—Philadelphia Orchestra Debut
Rick Jacobsohn Sound Design
Stephanie Klapper Casting Director
James Onstad Assistant Stage Director—Philadelphia Orchestra Debut
Victoria Bek Costume Coordinator—Philadelphia Orchestra Debut
Yasmine Kiss Stage Manager—Philadelphia Orchestra Debut
Michael Repper Rehearsal Accompanist—Philadelphia Orchestra Debut
Bernstein Candide—First Philadelphia Orchestra Complete Performances
The Bernstein Centennial Celebration in its entirety is made possible in part
by the generous support of the Presser Foundation.
These concerts are also sponsored by an anonymous donor.
By arrangement with Boosey & Hawkes, Inc., Sole Agent for Leonard Bernstein Music Publishing Company LLC, publisher and copyright owner.
Tickets are on sale now and start at $300. Tickets are available online at or by phone at 215.893.1999.
# # #