West Side Story
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AFP/Getty 511971057
AFP/Getty 511971057
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46418_fea_westside_110711o
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West Side Story is an American 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 play spawned an innovative 1961 musical film of the same name, directed by Robert wise and Robbins, the film won ten Academy Awards out of eleven nominations, including Best Picture.

The story is set in the East 40s and West 50s of the Upper West Side neighborhood in New York City in the mid-1950s, an ethnic, Blue-collar neighborhood. 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 Polish-American working-class group. The young protagonist, Tony, one of the Jets, 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.West Side Story returns to Sadler’s Wells this summer, 7 Aug 2013  22 Sep 2013, after a sell-out season in 2008 during its 50th anniversary year.