GLEN ELLYN, Ill. New Philharmonic, conducted by Maestro Kirk Muspratt, concludes its 2021-2022 season with "West Side Story in Concert," 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 9 and 3 p.m. Sunday, April 10.
Four guest artistsBrooklyn Snow (soprano), Matthew Greenblatt (tenor), Kate Tombaugh (mezzo-soprano) and Evan Bravos (baritone)and a chorus of eight singers join the musicians of New Philharmonic for this unforgettable program featuring the best loved songs and music from Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim's Tony and Academy Award-winning musical. Michael Weber, Artistic Director of Porchlight Music Theatre, will lead a free post-performance discussion following each performance. Bjarne R. Ullsvik is lead sponsor for these performances of "West Side Story in Concert."
The musical West Side Story was conceived by Jerome Robbins and features music by Leonard Bernstein, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and a book by Arthur Laurents. Inspired by Shakespeare's play "Romeo and Juliet," the musical is set in the mid-1950s in a multiracial, blue-collar neighborhood in New York City. At its heart is the rivalry between the Jets and the Sharks, street gangs of different ethnic backgrounds. Tony, a former member of the Jets and best friend of the gang's leader, Riff, falls in love with Maria, the sister of the leader of the Sharks. Unfortunately, they cannot avoid the forces that surround them and their love is doomed to a tragic end.
"There's nothing that can lift our spirits more than experiencing our favorite songs from one of our favorite romantic musicals performed by extraordinary artists," says Maestro Muspratt. "Our performance of 'West Side Story in Concert' has all of that, and whether you are a fan of the musical or one of the films, I know you'll find this concert to be something you'll talk about long after the last note has wafted to the heavens."
The original 1957 Broadway production, directed and choreographed by Robbins, was also Sondheim's Broadway debut. The production was nominated for six Tony Awards, including Best Musical, and won two. To date, more than 45,000 stage productions have been presented all over the world. A 1961 musical film adaptation, co-directed by Robert Wise and Robbins, was nominated for 11 Academy Awards, winning 10. More recently, the 2021 film adaptation, directed by Steven Spielberg, was nominated for seven Academy Awards.
American conductor, composer, pianist, music educator, author, and humanitarian Leonard Bernstein (1919-1990) wrote in many genres, including symphonic and orchestral music, ballet, film and theater music, choral works, opera, chamber music and works for the piano. Throughout his life he was an advocate of American composers and "West Side Story" is perhaps his best-known composition work. World peace was a particular concern of Bernstein. His "Journey for Peace" tour to Athens and Hiroshima with the European Community Orchestra in 1985 commemorated the 40th anniversary of the atom bomb. Bernstein supported Amnesty International from its inception.
U.S. composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim (1930-2021) is recognized as one of the most important figures in 20th Century musical theater. At the age of 26 he wrote the lyrics for "West Side Story", his first major success. For the film adaptation he created new and powerful lyrics for the "America" sequence, which is the only major alteration from the Broadway production. His multiple honors and awards include an Academy Award, eight Tony Awards (more than any other composer) including the Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre. In February 2007, he received the 49th Grammy Awards' Trustees Award, recognizing his outstanding contributions to the industry in a non-performing category.
New Philharmonic, the only professional orchestra based in DuPage County, has played to classical music enthusiasts in Chicago and the suburbs for more than four decades. The orchestra consists of more than 60 professional musicians and typically performs more than a dozen concerts a year. Maestro Muspratt was named 2018 Conductor of the Year (Professional Orchestra) by Illinois Council of Orchestras. He gives innovative treatment to both classical compositions and modern works in efforts to make music accessible to audiences of all ages. New Philharmonic was recently honored with the Illinois Council of Orchestras' 2020 Award in the category Programming of the Year.
New Philharmonic: "West Side Story in Concert" comes to the McAninch Arts Center located at 425 Fawell Blvd. on the campus of College of DuPage 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 9 and 3 p.m. Sunday, April 10. Tickets are ticket prices are $59 (Adult) and $57 (Senior). A limited number of $10 tickets are available for students with valid ID. Bjarne R. Ullsvik is lead sponsor for these performances of "West Side Story in Concert."
Michael Weber, Artistic Director of Porchlight Music Theatre, will lead a post-performance discussion following each performance.
Brookdale Glen Ellyn is the sponsor of the post-performance "Cookies with Kirk" reception with the artists in the lobby.
For tickets or more information, visit AtTheMAC.org or call 630.942.4000. The Box Office is open Tuesday through Sunday, 12 noon to 6 p.m. and one hour prior to performance.
About the MAC
The McAninch Arts Center (MAC) at College of DuPage is located 25 miles west of Chicago near I-88 and I-355. It houses three indoor performance spaces (the 780-seat proscenium Belushi Performance Hall; the 186-seat soft-thrust Playhouse Theatre; and the versatile black box Studio Theatre), the outdoor Lakeside Pavilion, the Cleve Carney Museum of Art and classrooms for the college's academic programming. The MAC has presented theater, music, dance and visual art to more than 1.5 million people since its opening in 1986 and typically welcomes more than 100,000 patrons from the greater Chicago area to more than 230 performances each season.
The mission of the MAC is to foster enlightened educational and performance opportunities, which encourage artistic expression, establish a lasting relationship between people and art, and enrich the cultural vitality of the community. Visit AtTheMAC.org or facebook.com/AtTheMAC for more information.