'Leonard Bernstein's New York'
(Mandy Patinkin, Dawn Upshaw, et al / DVD / NR / 2006 / Kultur Video)
Overview: A new generation of American musical theater artists come together in a "glorious mosaic of Leonard Bernstein’s show tunes" (New York Times). Brilliantly filmed in the very New York locations celebrated by the songs - Coney Island, Central Park, Times Square - this DVD joins today’s performers with the ageless music of perhaps New York’s greatest musical personality. On the Town, Wonderful Town and West Side Story chronicle the city in all its variety and excitement, and these performances bring a heightened measure of entertainment to Bernstein’s singular achievement.
DVD Verdict: Bernstein at his best! This is one terrific compilation. I started out with the CD, then the VHS, and then was handed this new DVD to review! Paul Theroux wrote in one of his books, that what he loved most about New York, (if you're from 'out of town'), was the feeling that you had as much right to be there as the person walking past you. I'm British - living here in MI - but have also been lucky enough to live in NY for a good few months in the past, and as a Lenny-admirer to boot, this is simply great. I have a huge distrust of the word 'genius' and it gets thrown around willy-nilly these days, but if Bernstein possessed it in however small measure, it's evidenced particularly in this side of his achievement. It's an idea that could have proved an embarrassment, the soloists trotting off on location round NY and singing their numbers in the streets, (to playback, presumably), often surrounded by bemused gawpers, but it works, brilliantly. Dawn Upshaw singing 'Lonely Town' is worth the price of the disc on its own, Mandy Patinkin may be an acquired taste for some, but is totally at home in his numbers, and Audra McDonald is gorgeous in every sense. (To mention but three of what really feels like a 'team') Get it!! This is a Full Screen presentation (1.78:1) and comes with the Special Features of Subtitles in: English, Spanish, German, French, Italian, and Portuguese.