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West Side Story - The Official Site - Recent News

The irrepressible Rita Moreno will add another prestigious honor to her long list of prizes. The Oscar-winner for "West Side Story" is getting the 50th annual Life Achievement Award from the Screen Actors Guild.


Saturday night was "not just any night" at Tanglewood. The Boston Symphony Orchestra presented a screening of the 1961 film "West Side Story," playing Leonard Bernstein's legendary score live as the newly remastered film rolled on large screens in high-definition.


Cheyenne Jackson brings elegance to the role of Tony and Alexandra Silber is infectiously charming as Maria in the San Francisco Symphony's performance of "West Side Story" at Davies Symphony Hall.


Stephen Sondheim, the composer behind such musicals as "Sweeney Todd" and "West Side Story" will be awarded New York City's highest arts honor.


On its 50th anniversary, the Oscar-winning film gets a musical facelift for the
concert stage.

by Justin Craig




Musical Director Charles Jaffe has died

by Don Bacalzo for Theatermania.com



Broadway veteran Joey McKneely talks to the Windy City Times about recreating the iconic choreography of Jerome Robbins for the 50th anniversay revival / international tour of West Side Story which is currently playing at the Cadillac Palace Theatre in Chicago.


David Newman conducts LA Phil in exuberant performance live-to-picture

by John Burlingame for the Film Music Society


Alex Swed of the Los Angeles Times reviews the premiere of "West Side Story" (film) at the Hollywood Bowl with live orchestra.


Actors' Equity Names West Side Story Cast Members Outstanding Broadway Chorus


West Side Story film to Be Shown at NYC's Lincoln Center followed by a Q&A with original cast member Eliot Feld

For more information go to http://www.filmlinc.com/

West Side Story's John Arthur Greene Joins Broadway Classroom Workshop

Broadway.com's sister organization Broadway Classroom has scheduled a new workshop featuring West Side Story star John Arthur Greene (Riff) and taught by actor/choreographers Melissa Rae Mahon and Sean McKnight. The first session in a new series titled "Putting It All Together" will be held on September 26 at a rehearsal studio to be announced.

See more at: http://www.broadway.com/West-Side-Story-s-John-Arthur-Greene-Joins-Broadway-Classroom-Workshop/broadway_news/5031446

Chita Rivera among Medal of Freedom honorees

See more at:http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/07/30/MN64191J61.DTL

John Arthur Greene Takes Over as Riff in Broadway's West Side Story

See more at: http://www.theatermania.com/broadway/news/08-2009/john-arthur-greene-takes-over-as-riff-in-broadways_20482.html

The Broadway revival of West Side Story, currently at the Palace Theater, will hold a special benefit performance for The Actor's Fund on Sunday, July 19 at 8pm.

The show, which features music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, transports Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet to the turbulent streets of the Upper West Side in 1950's New York City as two star-crossed lovers, Tony and Maria, find themselves caught between the rival street gangs of different ethnic backgrounds, the "Jets" and the "Sharks."

The revival, directed by the musical's librettist Arthur Laurents, was nominated for four 2009 Tony Awards, including Best Revival of a Musical, and won for Featured Actress, Karen Olivo.

For benefit tickets or more information, call 212-221-7300 ext. 133 or visit www.actorsfund.org/performances/current/westsidestory.


Mary Tyler Moore and Bernadette Peters will host the eleventh annual BROADWAY BARKS!, a star-studded dog and cat adopt-a-thon benefiting New York City animal shelters and adoption agencies. The event, produced by Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and sponsored by the ASPCA and PEDIGREE® with additional sponsorship by the New York Times will take place on Saturday, July 11h in Shubert Alley (located between 44th and 45th Streets, between Broadway and Eighth Avenue). The festivities begin at 3:30 p.m.; celebrity presentations of pets from citywide animal shelters will take place between 5:30 - 6:30 p.m.
Moore and Peters will be joined by Matt Cavanaugh, Michael Mastro, Karen Olivo from the cast of the current Broadway revival of West Side Story will be presenting the animals for adoption.

BROADWAY BARKS 11 will feature a sampling of potential pets from several New York City animal shelters and adoption agencies, including A Cause for Paws, Adopt A Boxer Rescue, Animal Haven, Anjellicle Cats Rescue, ASPCA, AC&C, BARC, Bide-A-Wee, Bobbi & the Strays, City Critters, Humane Society of New York, Husky House, Kitty Kind, Long Island Greyhound Rescue, Loving Touch, Metropolitan Maltese Rescue, Mid Atlantic Great Dane Rescue, NYC Siamese Rescue, Pet-I-Care, PLUTO, Russell Refuge, Staten Island Council for Animal Welfare, Stray from the Heart, Tigger Foundation, Arf, and Save Kitty. Representatives from these organizations will be on hand to offer educational information on spaying and neutering.

BROADWAY BARKS 11 will also feature an auction of celebrity-autographed memorabilia. Proceeds from the auction and other donations received during the day will benefit the shelters and organizations attending BROADWAY BARKS 11.

For more information about BROADWAY BARKS 11, call (212) 840-0770, extension 477, or visit www.BroadwayBarks.com.


We are pleased to announce that Karen Olivo has won a Tony award for her portrayal of Anita in the new Broadway production of West Side Story! Click here to purchase tickets to this exciting new production. See and hear West Side Story in all it's glory!

Obersvations on "West Side Story" from Julie Nagel, Ph. D.

"I recently went the West Side Story revival. I feel changed by the experience. I don¹t think I can really put it in words. I felt something the minute we saw the marquee on Broadway.....excitement, yes, but more.....and when we walked into the theater I could only try to imagine what Bernstein and the other collaborators felt when they attended the premier.

The Play/Opera/Show I don¹t know what to call it, is so familiar to me that I didn¹t know what to expect...also I've been analyzing it all year and presenting it all year, so I didn¹t know if I¹d get intellectual watching. No way! I was mesmerized from opening to close, and yes, I needed more kleenex than I brought ­ The bright red curtain was breathtaking as I sat waiting for I'm not quite sure what....except I was there.....It was real, and unreal. The opening tritone blast drew me in not as a researcher or psychoanalyst. I was caught up in the Sharks and Jets, and by extension myself, the entire 2 hours 40 minutes.

WSS is timeless and timely. It is magnificent. The themes made more poignant through the genius music - so many of them speak to us today, yesterday, and tomorrow .It is breathtaking . The Spanish seemed natural to me and not just beccause I know all the words by heart - I think anyone would "get it".

The dancing was unbelievable. How can anyone do those things? I would go again.....and again."

Julie Jaffee Nagel, Ph.D. is a graduate of The Juilliard School (Piano) , The University of Michigan (MA psychology, MSW, Ph.D. psychology and social work) , and the Michigan Psychoanalytic Institute, where she is on the faculty. She is Chair of the ApsaA Discussion Group, "Psychoanalytic Perspectives on Music" and Co-Chair of the ApsaA Committee, "Psychoanalysis and the Arts". Winner of the Nathan Segel Award (2003 - paper on Mozart, 2007 paper on Lucia di Lammermoor) and Karl A. Menninger Award (2008 paper on Lucia di Lammermoor), she has published and presented to a variety of groups on her work on performance anxiety and music as a point of entry into emotion. In January 2009 Dr. Nagel presented at the American Psychoanalytic Association national meetings in New York on "West Side Story" with Jamie Bernstein as invited featured speaker. Dr. Nagel also presented her work on West Side Story at the San Francisco Psychoanalytic Center, April 2009. Julie Jaffee Nagel is in private practice in Ann Arbor, Michigan.


Behind-the-Scenes Video of the West Side Story recording session

Follow the Amazon.com link to see exclusive behind-the-scenes footage of the new West Side Story cast recording sessions!




Congratulations, West Side Story received the following Tony Award nominations:

Best Revival of a Musical

Best Leading Actress in a Musical - Josefina Scaglione

Best Featured Actress in a Musical - Karen Olivo

Best Lighting Design - Howell Binkley


West Side Story Nominated for Outer Circle and Drama League Awards


Just a few of the reviews from the new Broadway revival of West Side Story that opened on Thursday, March 19th.

The NY Times - Ben Brantley

"Karen Olivo...delivers big-time"

"Ms. Scaglione's stunningly natural Maria...has the confidence associated with young women who are beautiful, willful and unacquainted with sorrow. [T]his Maria is not exclusively sweet. You sense that she's the one who's really in charge, and for the first time I could imagine what Tony and Maria's marriage might be like."

"Ms. Olivo's worldly Anita... is a stunner, full of citrusy zest and acerbity."

Bloomberg - John Simon"Whether you've seen several mountings of it or none, you will want to catch this one."

"Best of all remain Leonard Bernstein's enthralling music and Jerome Robbins's sensational, innovative choreography. Good music doesn't age, though much Broadway choreography does; not so this by Robbins."

"As the more realistic Anita -- a role in which Chita Rivera, Rita Moreno and Debbie Allen have at various times dazzled, Karen Olivo manages to be perhaps even more impressive."

"There are remarkable performances from Cody Green as Riff, who's as sardonic as he is threatening, and Curtis Holbrook as Action, another characterful Jet."

Variety - David Rooney

"Leonard Bernstein's majestic score, in particular, is undiminished, shifting fluidly between blasts of syncopated brass fueled by testosterone and rage, and some of the most achingly beautiful expressions of love ever sung."

"The show's high points are too many to mention..."

"But the true stars of the production are Robbins' graceful, endlessly expressive choreography and Bernstein's score, which still sounds bracingly modern a half-century after it was first heard."

"Performed with a deft balance of percussive fury and caressing gentleness by a robust orchestra under the direction of Patrick Vaccariello, the music is a primal force. It reaches emotional apices more often found in opera than musical theater."

Gramophone Magazine - London

"Leonard Bernstein...birthed the brilliant score - unprecedented in Broadway history for both its eclecticism and unity (with the tritone interval, no doubt!), not to mention sheer invention and melodiousness"

USA Today - Elysa Gardner

"...the key to its visceral power has always been Leonard Bernstein's score, a spine-tingling olio of jazz, Latin and classical textures and rapturous melodies that reveal as much about Tony and Maria's feelings as the wonder-struck lyrics provided by a very young Stephen Sondheim."

The Guardian

"You would have to be made of granite not to be moved by Bernstein's score..."

Newsday - Linda Winer

"The much-anticipated rethinking of "West Side Story" is...still "West Side Story," with those jazzy, jagged, gloriously (and shamelessly) sentimental Leonard Bernstein songs and (most of) Stephen Sondheim's swaggering, dazzling lyrics."

"George Akram has a passionate dignity as Bernardo...."


"[The] 29-member orchestra (which, under Patrick Vaccariello's musical direction, sounds terrific playing the original Bernstein-Sid Ramin-Irwin Kostal orchestrations)"

"Pamela Otterson is impossibly sensual as Riff's girlfriend Graziella"


"Josefina Scaglione...has every ounce of innocence required of Maria, [her] soprano is pure and steady."

"Matt Cavenaugh...is a tough yet compassionate Tony, and his singing of "Something's Coming" and "Maria" is all a fan of the seminal tuner could ask."


"They created a show in 1957 that has stood the test of time and remains as one of the musical theatre's most emotionally embracing musicals."

The Chicago Tribune

"Fortunately for a new generation yet to see this show produced at this level, it retains the heart, soul and original moves and sounds of a theatrical masterpiece with Leonard Bernstein melodies so beautiful they reverberate deep in your chest."

WOR Radio

"...the Leonard Bernstein score will blow you away"


"Without a doubt, Josefina Scaglione is the highlight of this production of West Side Story."

"And is there anything more awesome than Leonard Bernstein's stunning score? From the sharp and angular riffs that get the Jets rumbling, to the soaring romance of "Maria" or "Tonight" to the fiery, sexy, spicy rhythms of "America"... Getting to hear the West Side Story's music executed by a Broadway orchestra is thrilling."

Fox News

"The Palace was buzzing, to say the least, like it was an old time Broadway opening night."

"West Side Story is probably the best ever all around Broadway musical."



The revival of the famed 1957 musical "West Side Story" is already a hit. Last week its box office take was so good that it finished second only to "Wicked" - even though it doesn't open officially until March 19th - grossing an astounding $1,042,713 for its first seven shows. I'm told the producers have $10 million cash in the bank, and are aiming - fingers crossed - for a three year run on Broadway.


by Joel Markowitz

Read it here: http://dctheatrescene.com/2009/01/21/karen-olivo/

by Joel Markowitz

Read it here: http://dctheatrescene.com/2009/01/28/cody-green-from-west-side-story/

The Children's Museum of Manhattan (CMOM) is hosting a fundraiser for its outreach programs by selling tickets to two performances of the highly anticipated revival of the musical West Side Story. Tickets are available for the Friday evening, March 6 and Saturday matinee, March 7, 2009 performances, with all proceeds going to support CMOM's 48 community outreach programs that take place in and around New York City.
Read more here: http://broadwayworld.com/article/COM_To_Host_WEST_SIDE_STORY_Outreach_Program_Fundraiser_37_20010101


Washington Post

"Joey McKneely's re-creation of Jerome Robbins's original choreography...is exhilarating,"

"...this "West Side" benefits from the operatic skill of Scaglione and the dreamy larynx of her Tony, Matt Cavenaugh, whose stirring collaboration on the balcony-scene number gives "Tonight" a powerhouse completeness."

[full review]


DC Examiner

"The cast of dancers and singers at the National Theatre is superb..."

"The dancing reflects the brilliant work of Joey McKneely..."

[full review]


Baltimore Sun

"West Side Story might well be Broadway's next big hit, and the mesmerizing Karen Olivo...could be its next big star."

"Josefina Scaglione...is a fresh and appealing Maria, and she has a shimmering, supple soprano."

"Matt Cavanaugh displays a tenor as tender and throbbing as Tony's heart."

"[T]his production has moments...that are nothing short of sublime."

"Robbins' choreography, recreated here by Joey McKneely, remains a masterpiece. The leaps, tumbles and spins reflect a potent mix of energy and rage that the gang members can just barely contain. These kids don't dance; they blaze."

[full review]


Learn more: http://www.broadway.com/Tickets-Now-On-Sale-for-West-Side-Story/broadway_news/5018710