Wonderful Town (1953)
A lighthearted look at two small-town sisters determined to make it in New York City, Wonderful Town was a collaboration between Leonard Bernstein (music), Joseph Fields and Jerome Chodorov (book), and Betty Comden and Adolph Green (lyrics). The musical won five Tony Awards for the 1952-53 season: Best Musical, Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical (Rosalind Russell), Best Choreography (Donald Saddler), Best Conductor and Musical Director (Lehman Engel), and Best Scenic Design (Raoul Pène Du Bois).
Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker - Suite, Op. 71a
During his second season as Music Director of the New York Philharmonic, Leonard Bernstein conducted a "Spring Festival of Theatre Music," which began on April 28, 1960. The first program in the festival was "Music for the Ballet," during which Bernstein conducted the New York Philharmonic in "The Nutcracker Suite."
Thus Spake Leonard Bernstein:
“I can recall being a small boy in Boston, perched atop the second balcony in the Boston Opera House, seeing my first ballet (The Seventh Symphony) and hearing the great music of Beethoven for the first time. Since then I have never heard or conducted this work without some deeply stirring memory of that visual event. I can’t actually recall a single step or choreographic formation; but the general impression remains for me forever attached to the music, so that when I perform the work, something inside me is always dancing.”
-Leonard Bernstein, writing in 1960 about the first time he saw ballet for a book that was never published
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