Written for the dedication of The John F. Kennedy Center For The Performing Arts in 1971, Leonard Bernstein created MASS: A Theatre Piece for Singers, Players, and Dancers as a memoriam for John F Kennedy and as a thoroughly modern theater musical piece to reflect both its current times and universal questions of faith and existence. A recasting of the Tridentine Mass (in Latin), featuring additional lyrics by Stephen Schwartz and a brilliant lyric quatrain from Paul Simon, the full staging requires multiple choruses, a full stage performance company (including ballet cast), a marching band, a rock band, and many others. The 2012 BBC Proms featured a concert performance [1h56m, including introduction sequences]. MASS has had very few full theatrical stagings since its premiere, although now, over 50 years after its creation, it is beginning to find new acclaim and appreciation. [more inside]
At the 35th Annual Kennedy Center Honors on December 2nd, the Kennedy Center honored Led Zeppelin, with an introduction by Jack Black, a nod from President Obama, and a tribute from the Foo Fighters. But the highlight of the evening was undoubtedly Heart, a choir and a small orchestra covering Stairway to Heaven while Led Zeppelin watched from the front row.