There's A Place For Us...
With a silver screen remake helmed by Steven Spielberg rumoured to be on the horizon in the coming years, it's safe to say that West Side Story has secured an enduring place in the hearts of many. Composed by classical icon Leonard Bernstein with lyrics by musical theater legend Stephen Sondheim, the musical first debuted on Broadway in 1957 to rave reviews, a critical success that only grew over the decades with each revival, tour and adaptation.
Bernstein's memorable score is an eclectic fusion of nimble, jazzy riffs, romantic lyricism, bold humour and operatic tragedy, tied up in the lyricism and rhythm of the language of the streets. Added to the winning formula of Sondheim and Bernstein's genius is the kinetic mastery of Jerome Robbins, whose glorious choreography employs balletic explosions and snapping fingers to create tension between the rival gangs. A coproduction between Lyric Opera Of Chicago, Houston Grand Opera and Glimmerglass Festival, the modern masterpiece enjoys a brand new premiere as part of the Lyric's 2018/19 season.
What is West Side Story About?
Based on classic romantic tragedy Romeo and Juliet, West Side Story transports the action to New York's Upper West Side neighbourhood in the 1950s, before urban renewal made it what it is today. The blue-collar neighbourhood is home to two warring teenage gangs, namely the Puerto Rican Sharks and the caucasian Jets. Caught up in the midst of their rivalry, former Jets member and best friend of the gang's boss Tony falls hard for Maria, the sister of Bernardo, leader of the Sharks. Star-crossed and fated for tragedy, their breathtaking story intertwines with the American dream of old for a musical theatre experience like no other.