chapter  1
9 Pages

Bernstein on Broadway before West Side Story

At the end of January 1945, a feature in the New York Times declared that: Probably the biggest stir in the musical world during the past year has been caused by the emergence from relative obscurity of a 26-year-old Boston boy named Leonard Bernstein. The task of turning it into a Broadway book and libretto was taken on – at Bernstein's suggestion – by his friends Betty Comden and Adolph Green. Bernstein's next Broadway assignment was to provide the incidental music for a 1950 revival of J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan, starring Jean Arthur as Peter, Marcia Henderson as Wendy and Boris Karloff as Captain Hook. Bernstein's contribution was a score that included not only some charming songs but also instrumental numbers. Bernstein was in Italy during the spring of 1955, conducting Bellini's La Sonnambula at La Scala, and he also tried to recruit Lucchino Visconti as a possible director for Candide.