West Side Story, popularly referred to as the modern-day Romeo and Juliet, is a musical that garnered so much attention from the beginning of its existence. This classic musical was conceived by Jerome Robbins with music by Leonard Bernstein, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, and a book by Arthur Laurents.
The storyline is about a young lady and a young man from different backgrounds who fell head over heels in love. Unfortunately, Tony and Maria were connected to two different rivalry gangs. He is a former member of the Jets, a white gang, and best friend to the gang leader. On the other hand, Maria is the sister of the Shark’s leader Bernardo, the Puerto Rican gang. Tony and Maria refused to give up on love, so they fought to keep their love and stop the fighting between the two gangs.
The Westside Story will entertain its audience and teach them some important life lessons. It is indeed more than a musical. If you watched or read about Romeo and Juliet and enjoyed it, you are about to be swept off your feet with this exciting musical.
The original 1957 Broadway production was directed and choreographed and has won many awards. The production was nominated for six Tony Awards, including Best Musical, in 1958, winning two and some other awards.
It is almost impossible to watch this musical, especially the live performance, and not fall in love with it. Everything about the musical is just so exquisite, from its songs to the performance. Despite its age, the musical’s impact is mind-blowing, especially the unforgettable and popular songs like; ‘Tonight,’ ‘Somewhere,’ ‘America’ and ‘I Feel Pretty. These songs are well-known songs, even for those who haven’t even heard about the musical.
In 1961 a musical film adaptation of West Side Story was created. It was co-directed by Robert Wise and Robbins and won up to ten awards. A film adaptation was created in 2021, and it was directed by Steven Spielberg.
West Side Story’s Cast
After its original Broadway production, West Side Story has had five different Broadway revivals. The first revival was in 1960, the second in 1964, the third 1989, the fourth in 2009, and the fifth in 2020, and each of the cast from the different revivals performed really well.
The below-listed cast members are from the most recent Broadway revival:
- Isaac Cole Powell as Tony
- Shereen Pimentel as Maria
- Yesenia Ayala as Anita
- Dharon E. Jones as the Riff
- Amar Ramasar as Bernardo
- Thomas Jay Ryan as Lt. Schrank
- Daniel Oreskes as Doc
- Danny Wolohan as Krupke
Q. How does West Side Story compare to Romeo & Juliet?
A. West Side Story and Romeo and Juliet have similar features. They both involve two young people that fall in love but are kept apart by their friends/families. This leads to unfortunate circumstances.
Q. Where does it take place?
A. West Side Story takes place on the west side of Manhattan, New York City.
Q. When does it take place?
A. West Side Story is set in the mid-1950’s, when many Puerto Ricans moved to NYC.
Q. How long is the viewing time?
A. It lasts two and half hours.