On December 31, 2017 NEW YEAR’S EVE: BERNSTEIN ON BROADWAY will take place at the New York Philharmonic, Live From Lincoln Center.
Leonard Bernstein launched his musical theatre career in counterintuitive fashion: by composing a ballet. In the early 1940s the emerging conductor and composer teamed up with Jerome Robbins, a dancer and choreographer on the rise, to create a ballet about three sailors on shore leave in New York City. Ballet Theatre, the predecessor of American Ballet Theatre, premiered Fancy Free in April 1944, and the ballet—packed with character—was musically rich and startlingly contemporary and became an instant hit. Just eight months later, On the Town, the boisterous musical based on the ballet, opened on Broadway to raves—and gave the city a brash, infectious new theme song: “New York, New York” (“It’s a helluva town”).
The show jump-started Bernstein’s career as a musical theatre composer that only grew from there even as he—the original multi-tasker—would make his mark as conductor, classical composer, and New York Philharmonic Music Director. On New Year’s Eve the Philharmonic celebrates this side of his gargantuan talents with Bernstein on Broadway.
In this one-night-only event, led by Bramwell Tovey, Bernstein’s Orchestra will perform Bernstein’s best, joined by leading lights of today’s musical theater scene: Tony Award winner Annaleigh Ashford (You Can’t Take It With You), Christopher Jackson (Hamilton), Laura Osnes (Bandstand), and Aaron Tveit (Catch Me If You Can).
Annaleigh Ashford was seen earlier this year as Dot in Stephen Sondheim’s Sunday in the Park with George opposite Jake Gyllenhaal, and as Helena in The Public Theatre’s Shakespeare in the Park production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. She won the Tony, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle awards for her portrayal of Essie in You Can’t Take It With You. Other Broadway credits include Sylvia in Sylvia, the original Lauren in Cyndi Lauper’s Kinky Boots (Clarence Derwent Award; Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle nominations), Glinda in Stephen Schwartz’s Wicked, Jeannie in Galt MacDermot’s Hair, and the original Margot in Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin’s Legally Blonde the Musical. These performances mark Annaleigh Ashford’s New York Philharmonic debut.