News and Reviews

MST’s ‘Bernstein on Broadway’ opens Friday

From The Novato Advance
Published: Tuesday, July 14, 2009 10:00 PM PDT
Marin Summer Theater (MST) opens its second production with “Bernstein on Broadway” at the Emily Gates Student Center at San Marin High School in Novato on July 17, 18 and 19. All shows are staged at the Emily Gates Student Center, San Marin High School. Details and tickets are available on the MST web site at www.marin

“Bernstein on Broadway” is a review of songs and dances written by Leonard Bernstein, the composer of such Broadway gems as “West Side Story,” “Candide” and “On the Town.”

For director Kayla Gold, who has been offering vocal training and theater improvisation to teens in Marin since 1994, “Bernstein on Broadway” explores Bernstein’s ability to create simple but deeply emotional solos and explosive, passionate group numbers.

“He was a composer first, and his Broadway music was much more complicated than that of his contemporaries,” said Gold. “He wrote what he felt, and he was not driven to create hits. Bernstein believed that music is universal and touches very deep emotions, some of which cannot be put into words. He was a deep thinking, passionate and quirky individualist, in addition to being a brilliant musician.”
In 1944 Bernstein, who was already a respected composer, became a sensation on Broadway with the production of “On the Town,” and throughout the 1950s, his fame only grew. Showcasing songs from “On The Town,” “Wonderful Town,” “Candide,” “West Side Story” and others, this review is a tribute to the brilliant and emotional life and art of Bernstein, whose contributions to Broadway musical theater elevated productions to a new level.

The performance includes video clips of Bernstein from his “Young People’s Concerts” series from the 1960s. “It is incredible to be able to include Bernstein describing in his own words what music meant to him,” said Gold.

The songs in “Bernstein on Broadway” are performed by an ensemble of two dozen MST members accompanied by a live combo. Among the performers are several who attended Redwood High School in Larkspur: College of Marin student Alex Greene, University of Arizona student David Paulson, Emily Friedricks and Gigi Greene; Austin Harrington of UC San Diego; former San Rafael High School students Lily Francis and Mary Bronson; Drake High School student John Watson, now a student at COM; Paige Brinksele of Vanguard University and Rob Mackenson of Santa Rosa Junior College. Novato students include Russell Barry, Leslie Apperson, Jessica Apperson and Sarah Stahl.

Introducing Bernstein to the MST ensemble was an education in itself, said Gold, because “The music is very difficult.” Gold gives special credit to MST company member Christopher Zander, a San Marin student who will play piano for every piece that he does not appear in.

Next up for MST is “Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” which will be presented July 31, August 1 and 2. Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler’s chilling, suspenseful musical masterpiece of murderous barber-ism and culinary crime tells the infamous tale of the unjustly exiled 19th Century barber who returns to London seeking revenge against the lecherous judge who framed him.

For more details about Marin Summer Theater, call Patrick Nims at (707) 781-6302 or e-mail pnims@ marin

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About Marin Summer Theater

Marin Summer Theater (MST) is an award winning non-profit theater company for students of performing arts between the ages of 13 and 23. The MST company prepares and presents three fully-staged productions in a six-week summer season. MST's mission is threefold: To present exciting, professional quality drama, musical theater and musical revue productions; to keep tuition as low as possible so that cost is not a barrier to participation; to create a diverse company of college and high school students.

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