Leonard Bernsteins Candide Great Performances
Kristin Chenoweth (Actor), Patti LuPone (Actor), Lonny Price (Director)
Broadway Musicals DVD
BM01 Broadway Musicals DVD - Kristin Chenoweth (Actor), Patti LuPone (Actor), Lonny Price (Director) - Leonard Bernsteins Candide Great Performances - Broadway Musicals DVD - When a show's pit band is the New York Philharmonic, you can expect something special, and that's what this all-star Candide delivers. It is a concert performance, without scenery but with costumes, makeup, a bit of dancing, and a lot of acting. Musically, it sounds like the best of all possible Candides. Besides an unusually talented cast, its strong points include the pacing and accentuation of Marin Alsop, one of the brightest individuals in the younger generation of conductors; the polished presence of Thomas Allen, who doubles as the narrator and Dr. Pangloss, and the spirited participation of the brilliant Westminster Symphonic Choir. Taught in childhood to believe they live in the best of all possible worlds, the young characters struggle to preserve their optimism through a harrowing sequence of war, famine, shipwreck, piracy, slavery, rape, and disease with a sparkle in their eyes and a tune on their lips, until, with difficulty, they finally reach a sense of reality. Candide spans the traditional division between opera and Broadway. The soloists, all headliners, are recruited from both worlds. Broadway is represented by Patti LuPone, who became a legend in Evita, and Tony award winner Kristin Chenoweth. Paul Groves and Stanford Olsen have distinguished operatic backgrounds. They all sing Leonard Bernstein's catchy tunes and the show's clever lyrics with gorgeous voices, a lot of acting skill and a witty, flippant response to Voltaire's cynical (or, rather, realistic) philosophy. Leonard Bernstein's brilliant comic operetta comes to dazzling new life under theguidance of director Lonny Price (A Class Act). Based on the classic Voltaire tale of an innocent young man's journey through a life filled with colorful characters and unexpected life lessons, this tune-filled frolic features Tony Award?-winners Patti LuPone and Kristin Chenoweth heading a dazzling cast with Paul Groves, Stanford Olsen, Sir Thomas Allen and the Westminster Symphonic Choir. The impeccable score (with lyrics by luminaries including Lillian Hellman, Dorothy Parker, Stephen Sondheim, Richard Wilbur and John La Touche) includes a host of delightful songs such as Life Is Happiness Indeed, It Must Be So, You Were Dead, You Know and Make Our Garden Grow. Now enjoy this all-new production of a musical comedy favorite with Broadway's top stars. This is a splendid performance of Candide. But before you go any further, you should realise that this is a concert performance, not a full scale operatic staging of the work. That said, the singing is glorious and the acting, despite this being a concert performance is outstanding. It is driven to milk all the comic elements out of the play. It all works delightfully. It is so brimful of joie de vivre, it leaves you smiling and humming all day. The cast is superior. Paul Groves and Kristin Chenoweth offer memorable vocals in the leading roles of Candide and his lady love Cunegonde, and while Chenoweth doesn't manage to best Barbara Cook's memorable performance she at least equals it; in her hands the famous Glitter and be Gay proves as comic as it is beautiful. Sir Thomas Allen provides tremendous stability in multiple roles, including the misguided Dr. Pangloss. If you missed this performance on PBS, be sure to snag a copy of this DVD. This is a brisk, snappy, offbeat, and joyous version of a production that is notoriously difficult to pull off. Kristen Chenoweth's performance (in the role of Cunegonde) alone makes this a must-have. Brilliant.
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The most wasted day of all is that during which we have not laughed. -Sebastian R. N. Chamfort
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