We all love these 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.”
Here’s your chance to enjoy this music and the original Broadway script which predated the film by five years.
West Side Story is a musical with a book by Arthur Laurents, music by Leonard Bernstein, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and conception and choreography by Jerome Robbins. It was inspired by William Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet.
The songs and score of West Side Story have achieved legendary status in American Theatre. Nearly every song is recognized as a classic, beginning with the finger-snaps of the overture.
Symphonic composer Leonard Bernstein, a skilled pianist, was an unlikely partner for choreographer Jerome Robbins, who specialized in ballet and classical dance. A third creative partner was added in lyricist Stephen Sondheim, making his Broadway debut.
These classical elements combine with the grit of the story, set in the Upper West Side of New York City in the mid 1950s, an ethnic, blue-collar neighborhood (in the early 1960s, much of the area was cleared in an urban renewal project for the Lincoln Center, which changed 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 white gang. The young protagonist, Tony, a former member of the Jets and best friend of the gang’s 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.
Robbins won the Tony Award for his choreography and Oliver Smith won for his scenic designs. The show had an even longer-running London production, a number of revivals and international productions. A 1961 musical film of the same name, directed by Robert Wise and Robbins, was nominated for 11 Academy Awards and won 10, including George Chakiris for Supporting Actor, Rita Moreno for Supporting Actress and Best Picture.
3,000 Miles Off Broadway Productions in association with The Actors’ Repertory Theatre of Simi proudly present:
‘West Side Story’
- Book by Arthur Laurents
- Music by Leonard Bernstein
- Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
- Originally directed and choreographed by Jerome Robbins
- Directed by Jan Glasband and Caroline Esposito
- Choreographed by Becky Castells
- Musical Coordinator Gary Poirot
- Set Design by Will Shupe
- Sound Design by Kevin Kahm
Only five chances to see this iconic piece — live! May 11-13, Friday and Saturday at 8pm, Saturday at 3pm, Sunday (Mother’s Day) at 1pm and 5pm. Tickets are $25-$60. The historic El Portal Theatre is located at 5269 Lankershim Blvd. in North Hollywood. For tickets and information call (818) 508-4200 or online at ElPortalTheatre.com.