What do laughter and living with a legend have in common? Together, they form an entertaining and fascinating weekend of pop culture, April 27-28, at Congregation Shir Shalom. All are welcome to attend both events.
In a talk on Sunday, April 28, at 2 p.m., Jamie Bernstein, daughter of musical icon Leonard Bernstein, will offer rare insight into living with, and being shaped by, a flamboyant genius, as related in her 2018 autobiography, “Famous Father Girl: A Memoir of Growing Up Bernstein.” (“Famous Father Girl” is a nickname she was teased with in school.) Co-sponsored by Federation of Jewish Philanthropy of Upper Fairfield County, her talk is free and open to the public.
On Saturday, April 27, at 8 p.m., New York City stand-up comics Alexandra McHale and Steven Scott will headline an evening of comedy under the banner “The Catskills Comes to Ridgefield.” Both performers have appeared on network and cable TV, such as “The Tonight Show” and Comedy Central. Wine, beer, and dessert are included in the $36 cover charge, which must be paid in advance.
Leonard Bernstein is one of the defining cultural figures of the 20th Century.
As a composer, he is best known to the public for the immortal score he composed for groundbreaking Broadway and Hollywood musical “West Side Story.” Following Ms. Bernstein’s talk, selections from that famous score will be performed by Shir Shalom Cantor Deborah Katchko-Gray, pianist Brian Besterman, and Wooster School director of music and theater Claire Simard. Refreshments “with a musical twist” will be served.
The multi-faceted Leonard Bernstein rose to fame on the strength of varied talents. He hosted a highly-rated TV series, where he explained the beauty of classical music to young people. He composed several symphonies. One of those works, titled “Kaddish,” features a narrator reciting the Hebrew prayer of the same name.
As conductor of the New York Philharmonic, Mr. Bernstein was a charismatic maestro beloved throughout the world for his passion, theatrical style, and musical genius. His magnetism was such that he had a knack for creating headlines even outside the musical world.
Jamie Bernstein’s memoir “Famous Father Girl” (HarperCollins, 2018) explores the rarefied world of a privileged upbringing immersed in music, theater, and literature. She inherited her father’s talent for teaching, making a career as a musical commentator who appears in a variety of venues to share her knowledge – from radio to concerts to films. She also publishes a newsletter pertaining to her father’s legacy.
Congregation Shir Shalom is at 46 Peaceable Street, Ridgefield, Connecticut 06877. Call 203-438-6589 or visit ourshirshalom.org for more information on both events.