Extraordinary friendship between West Side Story creator
and the Dean of Chichester Cathedral is brought to life on stage
WALTER & LENNY
Devised and performed by Peter McEnery
Based on The Leonard Bernstein Letters edited by Nigel Simeone
Ustinov Studio, Saturday 25 January
Renowned film and stage actor Peter McEnery stars in this celebration of one of the most unlikely and extraordinary friendships of the twentieth century in WALTER & LENNY.
Dean Walter Hussey was Dean of Chichester Cathedral, and a prolific patron of the arts, when in 1963, he speculatively wrote to one of the twentieth century’s most influential composers and conductors, Leonard Bernstein, composer of West Side Story, Candide, On The Town and Wonderful Town, amongst many other orchestral and choral works. Hussey was requesting a composition for an upcoming choir festival. Not only was his request granted, but the ensuing correspondence sparked an extraordinary and lifelong friendship, producing the masterpiece, Chichester Psalms, one of the most performed works in the choral repertoire today.
‘For my very favourite dean, dear Walter, with fondest wishes, Lenny’
The original letters, collated in The Leonard Bernstein Letters by Nigel Simeone, have been adapted, staged and performed by renowned film and stage actor Peter McEnery who plays the roles of both men in this tour-de-force performances.
Peter McEnery’s distinguished stage career has featured many leading roles for the Royal Shakespeare Company, of which he was a founding member, including the title role in Pericles, Oberon in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and several characters in the highly acclaimed production of Nicholas Nickleby. He also played the surgeon Treves in the National Theatre’s 1980 production of The Elephant Man.
“A wonderful, touching and insightful play … Peter McEnery’s tour-de-force performance as both my father Leonard Bernstein, and Dean Walter Hussey manages to deftly capture both men’s characters without resorting to impersonation” Alexander Bernstein
WALTER & LENNY is at the Ustinov Studio on Saturday 25 January at 8pm. Tickets are on sale now from the Box Office on 01225 448844 or online at www.theatreroyal.org.uk/ustinov