West Side Story review

West Side Story Review - Broadway musical

The musical is an adaptation of the famous work of W. Shakespeare ‘Romeo and Juliet’. The first steps in the creation of production were taken in the late 1940's, when J. Robbins went to L. Bernstein and A. Laurents with the proposal on cooperation. It was assumed that in the modern adaptation of Shakespeare's play would be discussed the confrontation between the Catholic Irish people and the Jews. After creating the script, work on the musical was completely stopped. Several years later, the authors returned to their brainchild. At the same time, Stephen Sondheim joined the creative union. After appearance of messages of clashes between teenage gangs in the press, the founders decided to change the script, turned their attention from religious subjects to social events. Since A. Laurents was very well familiar with Puerto Rican immigrants living in the New York area, he suggested the use of their representatives instead of Mexicans. Jerome Robbins was delighted with the Latin rhythms of the future musical.

In the production of the show, there were many difficulties. They hardly found the money and the producer – almost no one wanted to deal with such a dramatic story. Two months before the start of rehearsals, they were required to find another organizer. New producer was Hal Prince. He familiarized himself with the script and auditioned musical numbers. Cutting the budget off, producer, however, has allocated funds to hire a second choreographer. As planned by the Prince, in the show had to be far more dance numbers than the usual spectaculars of that time had. Immediately the question arose about the actors. It was necessary to find young actors who could not only sing, but also to do all the choreography. Realizing the importance of the future show, Prince gave to dance rehearsals twice more time than planned. Broadway premiere caused a huge furor. The audience immediately assessed the relevance of non-standard show. Critics have even recognized that the musical has become a new landmark in the history of theater. Appreciating the drama and tension of the play, the reviewers were of the opinion that the musical would become a model for the creation of the next shows.

In 1961, after Broadway’s production was filmed eponymous film starring Natalie Wood and Richard Beymer. For a long time, based on the original show new versions of the play were created. It was exhibited in many countries around the world. Broadway productions of different years were awarded with Tony, Theatre World, Grammy and Drama Desk awards. West End version of 2008 was twice nominated for Laurence Olivier. The musical has become a classic of its genre. Thanks to the energetic melodies and expressive dances, the performance was very popular with the audience.
Last Update:July, 21st 2016

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