Regional Reviews: Washington, D.C.
Director/choreographer Kathleen Marshall brought together such noted performers as Norm Lewis (Porgy and Bess, Sweeney Todd Off-Broadway), Laura Osnes (Bandstand, Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella), Osnes' Cinderella co-star Santino Fontana, and Beth Malone (Fun Home) in the Eisenhower Theater to celebrate Bernstein's five Broadway musicals, his songs added to a production of Peter Pan (the play, not the famous musical version), and Mass. Music director Rob Fisher conducted the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra in front of Greg Emetaz' projections of show art, scenes from original productions, New York City in past decades, and Bernstein and his collaborators at work.
Bernstein's daughter Jamie provided remarks throughout the performance, sharing memories of growing up with a genius in a home filled with music and learning from her father the goal of making the world a better place.
The seven numbers from Wonderful Town, which Marshall directed and choreographed for Broadway in 2003, included a zany "Conga!" pitting Malone against four male dancers, Osnes' flirtatious "A Little Bit in Love," and a sultry "Ballet at the Village Vortex" for four couples. Other highlights included Lewis' soaring "Lonely Town" and Malone's sassy "I Can Cook Too," both from On the Town, Matthew Hydzik's straightforward rendition of "A Simple Song" from Mass, and the choral finale, "Make Our Garden Grow" from Candide (which Washington National Opera will perform next spring).
For a complete schedule of the Kennedy Center's activities honoring Bernstein, visit tkc.co/bernstein100.