Leonard Bernstein: New York Musicals(February 1998)
Bernstein’s 1944 musical On the Town, with its hit songs including New York, New York, has returned to Manhattan in an exhilarating new production by George C Wolfe which is set to tour internationally. Originally elaborated from the Jerome Robbins ballet Fancy Free, with lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, the show introduced Bernstein to Broadway, and its blend of great tunes, jazzy scoring and theatrical panache continues to attract new audiences. As the New York Times reviewer put it: "If you don’t leave this show with an enhanced awareness of the meaning of joy, take out your cell phone immediately: beep your therapist."
"On the Town is a mysteriously bewitching show, originally conceived and staged in its own time and place, about three wildly energized sailors unleashed in wartime New York on a 24-hour pass… Manhattan is an uproarious, singing, dancing time-out city, where nothing is impossible and the future is without limits, at least for a single day… Not in a very long time have you heard a score as richly complex and romantic, combined with a book and lyrics that are so gloriously bright, witty and off-the-wall… On the Town has become a classic, but it clearly hasn’t grown old." New York Times
This year brings two new recordings of Bernstein’s follow-up musical Wonderful Town, which was created in 1953 with lyrics by Comden and Green and Rosalind Russell in the central role. Recently released is a That’s Entertainment set (CD TER2 1223), and this is to be followed in the summer by a new EMI recording by Simon Rattle, who is also to conduct music from the score at the 1999 BBC Proms in London.
"…a helluva recording that reminds us what we have been missing in the tale of two out-of-town sisters searching for nirvana in New York. The satirical claws are sharper than ever… Bernstein’s score overflows with finger-snapping jazz inflections." Sunday Times on the TER recording
> Further information on Work: On the Town
> News Search
Sign up for news updates and offers via emailSIGN UP
Audio Visual Gallery
Explore our new library of over 800 online scoresVIEW SCORES