Artist in an anxious age
A monthlong festival at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center honors composer-conductor Leonard Bernstein and his spectrum of creativity.
By JOHN FLEMING, Times Performing Arts Critic
© St. Petersburg Times
published February 7, 2002
Bernstein, Broadway, the Bomb -- The Age of Anxiety, a monthlong festival at Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, opens one of its major productions tonight with . . . The Crucible?
The edgy times and wide-ranging talents of Leonard Bernstein are remembered in a monthlong festival of the performing arts.
What, you ask, does the Arthur Miller play about witchcraft in old Salem have to do with Bernstein? Well, Miller did come to the theatrical fore in the 1940s and '50s, the same time the charismatic conductor-composer first made his mark.
And The Crucible was on Broadway in 1953. You could even argue that Miller's parable of McCarthyism speaks to the Age of Anxiety (also the title Bernstein gave to his Symphony No. 2, which is not being played).
Or maybe the festival just wanted to stage the Miller play and figured it more or less tied in with the theme. Directed by Peter Flynn, starring Katrina Stevenson, Jeff Norton and Colleen McDonnell, it plays at 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday and at 4 p.m. Sunday through Feb. 24 in Shimberg Playhouse. Tickets: $15.50 and $21.50.
Though there are several other non-Bernstein events -- an abstract expressionism exhibit, which has an opening reception at 7 p.m. Friday at Tampa Museum of Art, a reading by James Tokley and other poets at 8:30 p.m. Feb. 19 in Shimberg Playhouse -- the bulk of the festival programming is of his music.
Pianists Dick Hyman, left, and Derek Smith will perform Bernstein pieces Feb. 24.
This weekend, Opera Tampa presents Bernstein's one-act opera about a suburban marriage on the rocks, Trouble in Tahiti, starring Linda Thompson Williams and Nat Chandler. In the second half of the program, Anton Coppola will conduct selections from two of Bernstein's Broadway musicals, Candide and West Side Story. Performances are at 8 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday in Morsani Hall. Tickets: $9.50-$46.50.
One of Bernstein's finest achievements was the score he wrote for On the Waterfront. The 1954 classic with Rod Steiger and Marlon Brando is being screened at 3 p.m. Sunday at Tampa Theatre. Tickets: $5.
Liz Lerman Dance Exchange premieres a work on Bernstein as part of its performance Feb. 16 at 8 p.m. in Shimberg Playhouse. Tickets: $24.50-$34.50.
At 4 p.m. Feb. 23, Alexander Bernstein and Jamie Bernstein Thomas, son and daughter of Leonard Bernstein, will attend the Tampa Bay Youth Orchestra concert, which will follow the format of the conductor's famous Young People's Concerts. Tickets: $7.
Dick Hyman, responsible for many a Woody Allen film score, joins with fellow pianist Derek Smith in jazz improvisations of music from Bernstein's Wonderful Town, On the Town, Candide and West Side Story at 4 p.m. Feb. 24 in Ferguson Hall. Tickets: $14.50-$24.50.
At a glance
Bernstein, Broadway, the Bomb -- The Age of Anxiety runs through Feb. 24 at Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center. For tickets, call (813) 229-7827 or toll-free 1-800-955-1045. Web site: www.tbpac.org.
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