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Guide and Commentary by Jack Gottlieb

  • DID YOU KNOW THAT … Irving Shulman wrote the novelization of Arthur Laurents’ "book" in which he provided family names for the characters: Tony (Anton) Wyzek, Maria (and Bernardo) Nunez, Riff Lorton, Chino Martin, Anita Palacio, and (now it can be told) Glad Hand was "christened" Murray Benowitz!
  • DID YOU KNOW THAT . . . West Side Story has been translated into Japanese, Serbo-Croatian, Hungarian (in two versions), Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, German, French, Russian, and not so surprisingly, into Spanish, twice?
  • DID YOU KNOW THAT . . . Marilyn Horne was the voice of Dorothy Dandridge on the film soundtrack of the Bizet-Oscar Hammerstein Carmen Jones, and also on the soundtrack for the movie of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The Flower Drum Song ? And also on the 1985 West Side Story recording!
  • DID YOU KNOW THAT . . .The music for One Hand, One Heart was originally earmarked for Bernstein’s Candide, with a whole other set of lyrics? And that it has become almost as popular as Oh, Promise Me in wedding ceremonies? Or that the music in the second movement of Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms, set to war-like words form Psalm 2, was a rejected Jets’ war-song called Mix?
  • DID YOU KNOW THAT . . .West Side Story was not the only musical based on Romeo and Juliet?
  • DID YOU KNOW THAT . . .Not one of the Oscars won by West Side Story included the composer, who was deemed "ineligible" since his music was not written for the film? He did, however, expand the Prologue.
  • DID YOU KNOW THAT . . . Although in the stage version of Cool is sung by Riff, on the screen it was delivered by a newly invented character named Ice - - get it?
  • DID YOU KNOW THAT . . . Both the movie and original Broadway cast albums of West Side Story earned Gold Record status, sales of over one million??
  • DID YOU KNOW THAT . . . Ramin and Kostal also helped Bernstein prepare the Symphonic Dances From West Side Story, and that they performed the same valued function for the composer's opera, A Quiet Place ?
  • DID YOU KNOW THAT . . Although Bernstein’s music has sometimes been criticized as sounding Aaron Copland-ish, the opening of Copland’s Music for a Great City (which was written later, 1964) resembles the Prologue of West Side Story?
© Copyright 2001 by Jack Gottlieb
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