The Story Of...West Side Story

West Side Story opened on Broadway on September 26, 1957 and Walter Kerr’s famous review opened with the line: "The radioactive fallout from West Side Story must still be descending on Broadway this morning."

With music by Leonard Bernstein, a libretto by Arthur Laurents, and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim — it was Sondheim’s Broadway début (Oscar Hammerstein convinced Sondheim to give it a go), this was a radical reworking of the musical as a genre. Originally, Jerome Robbins' choreography was designed around a re-imagining of Romeo and Juliet, but it its taboo subject - an inter-racial love affair - set against the backdrop of the blossoming civil rights movement in the US, meant that it would be a much weightier piece than a simple love story retold. 

 

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