Dear Lenny: Bernstein's Life in Songs and Letters

Dear Lenny: Bernstein's Life in Songs and Letters

Sun · June 24, 2018

7:30 pm

$20.00

An intimate preview performance of a new show marking 100 years since the birth of Leonard Bernstein. Gather around the piano with Dan Chouinard, Diana Grasselli, Bradley Greenwald and Prudence Johnson for a sampling of Bernstein’s timeless tunes and crackling correspondence.

This show will run for two weekends at Open Eye Theater in Minneapolis, August 16 through 26.

Prudence Johnson
Prudence Johnson
Prudence Johnson’s long and happy career as a singer, writer, and teacher has landed her on the musical theatre stage, in two feature films, (A River Runs Through It, A Prairie Home Companion) on national radio, (several long stints on A Prairie Home Companion) and on concert stages across North America and occasionally Europe (Carnegie Hall, the Hollywood Bowl, Gorky Park and an old mosque in Israel being the most memorable.) She has released more than a dozen recordings, including albums dedicated to the music of the Gershwins, Hoagy Carmichael, Greg Brown, and a collection of international lullabies. Prudence finds pleasure in working with young people, serving as a music director at SteppingStone Theatre for Youth Development since ’96 and teaching private lessons. Since taking up the tenor ukulele, she has found great riches in the folk music of her roots, and in the work of some of the more profound songwriters of her generation. One such project, in collaboration with the New Standards, is devoted to the music of Joni Mitchell, Tom Waits & Leonard Cohen.
In recent years, her greatest focus has been on creating multi-media works for concert and theater stages that blend performance with her interests in history and literature. A play about a little-known collaborator of Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht in Berlin between the wars, first produced in 2003, is being rewritten under a new title, and she and pianist Dan Chouinard have just completed a state-wide tour of their new music/history show Millers, Miners & Moonshiners: Minnesota in the 1920s. Their previous collaborations include The Golden Age of Radio, Tiptoe Through the 60s: Songs and Stories from a Revolutionary Decade, and Another Song About Paris. In 2011, she created and produced the touring show and CD A Girl Named Vincent, featuring the poetry of Edna St Vincent Millay set to music by four MN composers.
Bradley Greenwald
Bradley Greenwald
Bradley has performed opera, theater, music-theater, cabaret, concert and recital repertoire with several Twin Cities’ arts organizations, including Theatre de la Jeune Lune, Jungle Theater, Children's Theatre Company, Theater Latté Da, Frank Theatre, Open Eye Theatre, Guthrie Theater, Nautilus Music-Theater, Minnesota Dance Theatre, James Sewell Ballet, VocalEssence, Minnesota Orchestra, Lyra Baroque Orchestra, A Prairie Home Companion, 10,000 Things, Skylark Opera and Ballet of the Dolls. He adapted the novel A Wrinkle in Time into a libretto for Libby Larsen's opera; and wrote the book and lyrics for C., an adaptation of Cyrano de Bergerac, Robert Elhai, music. Bradley is the recipient of a Minnesota State Arts Board Fellowship in music, the McKnight Fellowship for Theater Artists, and a 2006 Ivey Award.
Diana Graselli
Diana Graselli
Dan Chouinard
Dan Chouinard
For three decades Dan Chouinard has been pianist and accordionist of choice for a who’s who of Twin Cities performers, an enabler of community singalongs and a writer of hit shows for public radio, concert hall and theatrical stage.

The list of regular Twin Cities colleagues includes Maria Jette, Prudence Johnson, Peter Ostroushko, Kevin Kling, Ann Reed, the Rose Ensemble and Philip Brunelle and Vocalessence. He’s appeared all across the upper Midwest and turned up often on Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion.

As a writer and host he’s often asked to create special live programs for Minnesota Public Radio, the MN Historical Society, the Rose Ensemble and others. His show Civil War Homecoming played at the Fitzgerald Theater in April 2015, was broadcast statewide on MPR and continues to be shown on Twin Cities Public Television. His stage musical Steerage Song toured throughout Minnesota in 2013, a show co-authored with Peter Rothstein about the Ellis Island era of immigration to the US, as portrayed in folk songs, newspaper clippings and Tin Pan Alley tunes. In 2014 his show Cafe Europa, about bicycling with an accordion from Naples to Normandy in search of Minnesota WWII stories, was broadcast and televised statewide.

In 1994 he created an acclaimed radio series The Singer’s Voice, broadcast live Sunday nights from the Dakota Jazz Club, then in St. Paul, hosting song-spiked conversation from the piano with a different singer each week, over 200 in the six years of the show’s tenure.

His essays have been published in Minnesota Monthly, Saint John’s Magazine, the Minnesota Orchestra’s Showcase magazine and in the Minneapolis StarTribune.

He’s traveled extensively in France and Italy, with bicycle and without, and has presented French and Italian sing-alongs at the Alliance Française in Minneapolis. He spent the last months of summer 2015 working in Italy on an independent Hollywood film, Smitten!, to be released early next year.

He’s a musical consultant and concert organizer at the progressive St. Joan of Arc Catholic Community in South Minneapolis, and leads monthly community sing-alongs in downtown Minneapolis and St. Anthony Park.

He grew up in a big musical family near Lindstrom MN, attended St. John’s University in Collegeville MN and spent four years as a teacher of French and Italian as a graduate student at the University of Minnesota.
Venue Information:
The Dunsmore Room at Crooners
6161 Hwy 65 NE
Minneapolis, MN, 55432