The Toledo Symphony Orchestra Joins the Worldwide Celebration of Leonard Bernsteinís Centennial with West Side Story: Film with Live Orchestra

Published Thursday, August 30, 2018 12:00 pm

On Saturday, September 29, 2018 at 8 PM at the Stranahan Theater, the Toledo Symphony Orchestra (TSO) opens its 2018-2019 KeyBank Pops series with West Side Story: Film with Live Orchestra. The TSO joins the worldwide celebration of Leonard Bernstein's 100th birthday to perform his electrifying score to West Side Story while the Oscar®-winning film is shown in high definition on the big screen above the stage.

The film will be projected on a large screen above the orchestra, taking the audience through a captivating journey of musical storytelling. Music Director Alain Trudel will not only lead the orchestra, but he will follow a series of synchronized cues from a click track to stay in coordination with the film on stage. “It’s a classic movie with a fun and entertaining story,” said Alain Trudel, Music Director of the Toledo Symphony. “The score is challenging, and so is coordinating the music to the film, which only adds to the fun.”

Toledo Symphony President & CEO, Zak Vassar, is a particular admirer of West Side Story and its creator, Leonard Bernstein. “West Side Story is about as iconic as Broadway gets,” said Vassar. “With music by Leonard Bernstein, lyrics from Stephen Sondheim, and choreography by Jerome Robbins, this show was bound to succeed. Its melodies are so catchy, its words so sincere, and the dancing so vivid. Now, as the music world celebrates Bernstein’s centennial, I’m excited for the TSO to bring this great music back to life and provide us a space to reconsider this fantastic film.”

Orchestras around the world are joining together for the two year global celebration of the life and career of legendary composer and conductor, Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990). Bernstein transformed the way Americans and people everywhere hear and appreciate music. His successes as a composer ranged from the Broadway stage—West Side Story, On the Town, Wonderful Town, and Candide—to concert halls all over the world, where his orchestral and choral music continues to thrive.

Among one of his most famous works, West Side Story (1961) has won ten Academy Awards and is known as one of the greatest movie musicals of all time. This classic romantic tragedy directed by Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins features Robbins’ breathtaking choreography and a screenplay by Ernest Lehman based on the masterful book by Arthur Laurents.

West Side Story: Film with Live Orchestra will take place Saturday, September 29, 2018 at 8 PM at the Stranahan Theater. Tickets are available at or by calling the Toledo Symphony Box Office at 419.246.8000.

For more information, please contact Felecia Kanney, Director of Marketing for the Toledo Symphony at


The Toledo Symphony Orchestra is a community-supported organization of professional musicians and teachers who deliver quality performance and music education for all.

Formed in 1943 as The Friends of Music and incorporated in 1951 as the Toledo Orchestra Association, Inc., the Toledo Symphony Orchestra (TSO) has grown from a core group of twenty-two part-time musicians to a regional orchestra that employs sixty-five professional musicians who consider the Toledo Symphony their primary employer, as well as numerous extra players annually as repertoire demands. This year, the Toledo Symphony celebrates its 75th Anniversary season.

The Toledo Symphony reaches more than 260,000 individuals annually through performances and education programs. The series concerts (Masterworks, Pops, Chamber, Mozart in the Afternoon, and Family Series) are the critical underpinning of the orchestra’s artistic mission and regularly draw people from 135 postal zip codes. Additionally, Music Under the Stars, a free summer band concert series, is held annually at the Toledo Zoo. Education programs, student performances, and community concerts are held in schools, neighborhood churches, performing arts centers, and community facilities throughout the region; many are offered at no charge or provided at a reduced fee to help expand participation.

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