A service of Cincinnati Public Radio  

Leonard Bernstein:
Bernstein and Musical Theater

When he was growing up, Leonard Bernstein loved to put on operas and other musical shows with his friends. That interest in musical theater continued all through his life, and produced such great Broadway musicals as "On The Town," "Wonderful Town," and "West Side Story."

Music heard in this episode:
Bernstein: On the Town : Overture
Bernstein: On the Town: Carried Away
Bernstein: Wonderful Town: Ohio
Bernstein: West Side Story: Dance at the Gym
Bernstein: West Side Story: Maria
Bernstein: West Side Story: America
Bernstein: Mass
Bernstein: Candide: Overture
Bernstein: Candide: Glitter and Be Gay

Other shows about Leonard Bernstein:
About Leonard Bernstein
Operettas in English
American Composers with a Boston Connection

Download this month's activity sheet

About Leonard Bernstein
8/25/1918 - 10/14/1990
Born in America

Leonard Bernstein was born in Lawrence, Massachusetts, and grew up in the Boston area. His father sold wigs and beauty supplies, and wanted his oldest son to take over the business. But after Leonard -- or Lenny, as all his friends called him -- composed the class song for his high school graduation, he went on to Harvard and majored in music.

Leonard Bernstein got his big break when he was the 25-year-old assistant conductor of the New York Philharmonic. At the last minute, he stepped in to conduct a concert in Carnegie Hall that was broadcast live over the radio all across America. The audience loved him, and the event made front page headlines in the newspaper.

When Bernstein was eventually named music director of the New York Philharmonic, he was the first American to become permanent conductor of a major American orchestra. Leonard Bernstein used television, which was brand new at the time, to bring classical music to a very wide audience through his "Young People's Concerts."

Bernstein also loved to compose musical theater. His musicals include "On The Town," "Wonderful Town," and "West Side Story."

See other composers born in America


This Week's Quiz:

1. What do you call the person who creates the steps for a dance?






2.In On the Town, where do three sailors spend the day?

Washington DC

New York, New York

Miami, Florida

Los Angeles, California

London, England

3. Which of Bernsteinís musicals is based on the story of Romeo and Juliet?

On the Town

Fancy Free

West Side Story


Wonderful Town


Talk to us
We love to hear your comments on Classics for Kids.

Get the Classics for Kids Volume 1 & 2 CD set for your family

Home | This Week's Show | Past Shows | Composers | Games | Music | More | For Grownups
On the Radio | Events | Links | Contact Us
Teachers | Parents | About Classics for Kids | Privacy Policy
©2017, Cincinnati Public Radio, Inc.