For two words to describe Leonard Bernstein’s “Mass” as a work of musical theater, try “ambitious” and “sprawling.”
Composed in 1971, shortly after Bernstein left an 11-year stint as music director for the New York Philharmonic, his “piece for singers, players and dancers” is about a priest officiating a religious service, surrounded by choir singers and a “street chorus” of hippies as they all struggle with faith in the tumultuous era of the Vietnam War.
Bernstein, a strong proponent of eclecticism, mingled avant-garde classical, rock, blues and, of course, his own Broadway-friendly style within the score. He also wrote most of the lyrics. To tackle this musical sprawl, “Mass” features an orchestra, multiple choirs and a marching band — and an excuse for us to look at the production, by the numbers:
Minutes of music: 100
Set pieces: 6
UCLA Wind Ensemble players: 29
L.A. Children’s Chorus performers: 36
Other human voices: 22
Total number of instruments: 100-plus
Total number of people on stage: 242
♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
Where: Walt Disney Concert Hall, 111 S. Grand Ave., L.A.
When: 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday
Information: (323) 850-2000, www.laphil.com
See all of our latest arts news and reviews at latimes.com/arts.