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KCO Salutes Leonard Bernstein with Florida Premiere of ‘On the Town’ during Inaugural Spirit of America Festival at FAU

Maestro Aaron Kula’s 50-member Klezmer Company Orchestra will be joined by six guest opera singers and guest of honor Jamie Bernstein for the Florida premiere of the concert version of composer Leonard Bernstein’s 1944 Broadway musical “On the Town,” on Sunday, June 22 at 3 p.m. at Florida Atlantic University’s Carole and Barry Kaye Performing Arts Auditorium, 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton campus.

The concert is the main event for a three-day inaugural “Spirit of America Festival: A celebration of Music and Arts” that salutes the iconic Bernstein and showcases FAU Libraries’ Print Music Collection, the Marvin and Sybil Weiner Spirit of America Collection, the Harold L. Glasser Collection and other special collections.

Kula, director of KCO, which is the professional ensemble-in-residence at FAU Libraries, and writer and broadcaster Jamie Bernstein, the daughter of the legendary composer, will open the festival with “An Intimate Conversation with Jamie Bernstein,” a program that includes a meet-and-greet reception, on Saturday, June 21 at 7:30 p.m. at the Wimberly Library.  The festival will conclude with “Bernstein on Broadway,” a piano-vocal recital with commentary by south Florida theater critic Bill Hirschman, on Monday, June 23 at 7 p.m. at the Wimberly Library. During the recital, two distinguished vocalists will perform selections from “West Side Story,” “Wonderful Town,” “Candide,” “Peter Pan” and other songs composed by Bernstein, who often used New York City and Broadway as inspiration for his musicals.

“We continue to be inspired by Bernstein’s creative genius,” said Kula. “I am especially honored to be part of the Bernstein legacy and to conduct ‘On the Town’ as we celebrate the 70th anniversary since its Broadway debut.”

The musical-comedy“On the Town” is about three sailors who are eager to find romance and explore New York City in 1944 during a 24-hour shore leave. The concert has two acts and a cast of six singers who perform “New York, New York,” “Come Up to My Place,”  “Ya Got Me,” “Carried Away,” “Some Other Time” and 19 other classics from Bernstein’s first Broadway show. “On the Town” is rarely presented as a full-length concert and was last performed by the London Symphony Orchestra in 1992 under Michael Tilson Thomas. 

In addition to the concert and the two programs, FAU Libraries will host the “Spirit of America Exhibition,” a display of rare materials from the Marvin and Sybil Weiner Spirit of America Collection and the Harold L. Glasser Collection, from Monday, June 16 through Friday, July 11, on the fifth floor of the Wimberly Library. The exhibition will feature influential texts that have contributed to Western Civilization since the invention of the printing press 500 years ago and materials from the Glasser collection, which honors the World War II bombardier and former president of Miss Universe, Inc.

The exhibition’s hours are Mondays and Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Viewing by appointment is available by calling 561-297-3787 or 561-297-2693 or by emailing

The festival is hosted by FAU Libraries and made possible by inaugural sponsors; the Weiner Family, Marny Glasser, First Southern Bank and The University Club at FAU.

Concert tickets are $20 - $42. Tickets for “An Intimate Conversation with Jamie Bernstein” are $25 and tickets for “Bernstein on Broadway” are $15. To purchase tickets, call 800-564-9539 or visit

 Last Modified 6/11/14