West Side Story
West Side Story is a 1957 American Broadway musical based on Romeo and Juliet, which takes place in New York City's West Side. The music was composed by Leonard Bernstein, and the lyrics were by Stephen Sondheim.
Set in New York City in the mid-1950s, the musical explores the rivalry between the Jets and the Sharks, two teenage street gangs of different ethnic backgrounds. The members of the Sharks from Puerto Rico are taunted by the Jets, a white anglo working-class group. The young Tony, one of the Jets, falls in love with Maria, the sister of Bernardo, the leader of the Sharks. The dark theme, sophisticated music, long dance scenes, and focus on social problems marked a turning point in American musical theatre. Bernstein's score for the musical has become extremely popular. It includes the songs "Something's Coming", "Maria", "America", "Somewhere", "Tonight", "Jet Song", "I Feel Pretty", "A Boy Like That", "One Hand, One Heart", "Gee, Officer Krupke" and "Cool".
The original 1957 Broadway production, directed and choreographed by Jerome Robbins and produced by Robert E. Griffith and Harold Prince, marked Stephen Sondheim's Broadway debut. It ran for 732 performances (a successful run for the time), before going on tour. The production received a Tony Award nomination for Best Musical in 1957, but the award went to Meredith Willson's The Music Man. It won a Tony Award in 1957 for Robbins' choreography. The show had an even longer-running London production, a number of revivals and international productions. The production spawned an innovative, award-winning 1961 musical movie of the same name, directed by Robert Wise and Robbins, starring Natalie Wood, Richard Beymer, Rita Moreno, George Chakiris, Russ Tamblyn and David Winters. It won ten Academy Awards out of eleven nominations.
The stage musical is produced frequently by schools, regional theatres, and occasionally by opera companies.