West Side Story
|West Side Story|
|Basis||Romeo and Juliet, play by William Shakespeare|
West End (1958)
West Side Story is a musical. It is based on Shakespeare's play, Romeo and Juliet. The book was written by Arthur Laurents. The music was composed by Leonard Bernstein, and the lyrics were written by Stephen Sondheim. It starred Carol Lawrence as Maria.
It opened on Broadway at the Winter Garden Theatre on 26 September 1957, and on the West End at Her Majesty's Theatre on 12 December 1958. On the West End, it had 1,039 performances. It won two Tony Awards. The musical was adapted to a movie in 1961 starring Natalie Wood. It won 10 Academy Awards. The story is set in the Upper West Side neighborhood in New York City in the mid-1950s, an ethnic, blue-collar neighborhood. (In the early 1960s much of the neighborhood would be cleared in an urban renewal project for the Lincoln Center, changing the neighborhood's character.) 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 caucasian gang. The young protagonist, Tony, a former member of the Jets and best friend of the gang leader, Riff, falls in love with Maria, the sister of Bernardo, the leader of the Sharks. The dark theme, sophisticated music, extended dance scenes, and focus on social problems marked a turning point in American musical theatre. Bernstein's score for the musical includes "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".
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