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Keaton Johns

Dr. Scott Knowles

THEA 3713


Say It Loud and There’s Music Playing: A Look at the Works of Leonard Bernstein

Musical theatre has become one of the biggest juggernaut genres of theatre in the history

of the world, and it is due in large part to the magnificent scores that have been composed for the

stage. Composers like Richard Rodgers, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Stephen Sondheim, George

Gershwin, and Lin-Manuel Miranda have created some incredible pieces filled with complex

rhythms, gorgeous melodies, and an emotional tone that supports the tone of the story. However,

I feel that one composer always seems to left out of the celebrated group: Leonard Bernstein. In

this paper, I will look at the music of Bernstein’s most prevalent works (specifically West Side

Story, Candide, and On the Town), I will research the opinions of the people at the height of his

work, and I will investigate his impact on music and theatre today.

To determine the uniqueness of his work, I will find copies of the three scores I have

mentioned along with audio recordings of the scores, and I will look for things in his music such

as complexity in the melody and rhythm, variety in the score throughout, prevalent themes, and

any interesting things I’ve never heard from any other composer. To see how he was perceived

in his day, I will find reviews of the first productions of his shows and interviews of people

talking about his work. To see his impact today, I will look through any textbooks or history

books that talk about his work, and possibly conduct interviews with accredited musicians to see

their take on his work.

I believe that Bernstein has had a much greater impact on the musical theatre world than people even realize. 2014.W. Jenna L. 87–100. . 3. 19.” Norton Anthology of Western Music. and Claude V. 130-132. vol. Review of “There’s a Place for Us: The Musical Theatre Works of Leonard Bernstein”. 7th ed. Paul. No. “'The most beautiful sound I ever heard': Liturgy. NY. 2009. New York. Bernstein is a genius. "Cool". musical: Act I. “Leonard Bernstein: West Side Story. Theatre History Studies. p. pp.. 8. 561–591. vol. Kubly. W. by Helen Smith. Peter. and I would like to make it known. Norton & Company. 1. no.” Contemporary Theatre Review. Palisca. J. pp. 2015. Works Cited Burkholder. and I would like to justify this thought with facts & various opinions according to people’s tastes. Religious Imagery and Symbolism in West Side Story. Nash.